Friday, April 22, 2011

Mountain Town News


Jacksonites can swill with the best of them

JACKSON, Wyo.—Few people in Jackson and Teton County smoke. Most get their exercise. But when it comes to drinking—well, there's plenty of tipping.

According to a study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, roughly 23 percent of Teton County residents reported drinking excessively within a month of being surveyed.

Those statistics land Teton County in the bottom tier of the counties across the country for excessive drinking, notes the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

"It's part of the culture here," said Terri Gregory, public health manager in Teton County, "It's a party town."

She said that trying to curb binge drinking and its associated risks is a goal that for years has eluded public health officials.

Crested Butte soap enters a new season

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.—A proposed expansion of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, called Snodgrass Mountain, has been talked about since the early 1980s, but the Forest Service has refused to accept the latest version.

But "no," it turns out, doesn't mean "absolutely no." It just means no to that particular configuration of three lifts. The Crested Butte News reports that resort and government officials are now talking about what might be acceptable.

The most likely acceptable proposal would involve a snowcat skiing operation on the slope of mostly moderate terrain. But other ideas include a backcountry-type of expansion, or even a configuration of two lifts.

Crested Butte is the smallest destination ski resort in Colorado, with just 1,100 acres --about half the size of Telluride, the next smallest destination resort.

Ski area officials have long said that Crested Butte needs to get a little bigger, to offer more terrain for intermediate-level skiers similar to Vail, Snowmass and Park City.

Vail delivers 124-bed employee complex

VAIL, Colo. -- A major employee housing project has been completed in Vail. Called First Chair, the 124-bed development is located in Lionshead, between Interstate 70 and the ski lifts. That makes it unique, as all other employee housing units are across the highway.

The employee housing was required by town officials as mitigation for Arrabelle, a major high-end, slope-side complex built by Vail Resorts, the ski area operator and developer.

Company representative Kristen Kenney Williams tells the Vail Daily that with completion of the employee housing project, Vail Resorts has no outstanding obligations to the town.

That will change. The company now has a $1 billion project before town authorities called Ever Vail, which proposes a new gondola link to the ski slopes plus all manner of housing and shopping.

If only the Supreme Court understood law

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif.—For years, Mammoth Lakes has tried to improve its air service to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Along the way, the town stumbled in its dealings with a private business at the airport—and has now lost court cases through the California Supreme Court. The court in March affirmed that the municipality must pay $30 million in damages.

Make no mistake how The Sheet, one of Mammoth's newspapers, sees the story.

"This marks the culmination of three years of self-delusion on the part of Town officials, who, even in this week's press release announcing the Supreme Court's decisions, expressed disappointment that the Court "did not fully understand the Town's position and interpretation of the underlying legal principles."

The Sheet says the Supreme Court did understand well enough that the town had attempted to "screw over a private business entity."

Great snow, cheaper passes equal records

JACKSON, Wyo. -- When Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closed several weeks ago, four customers had managed to ski on the mountain each of the 128 operating days of the season, and another 118 had surpassed the century mark. The latter is a record.

Resort officials tell the Jackson Hole News&Guide that superior snow quality this year combined with lower-cost season passes explain the record. Jackson Hole got 558 inches of snow and chalked up 478,900 skier visits.

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