Friday, July 29, 2011

Mountain Town News


By ALLEN BEST - MTN TOWN NEWS SERVICE

Pigs OK, but not goats in Crested Butte

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.—Pigs, chicken and rabbits? Yes, they will be permissible in Crested Butte going forward.

Goats? No, not yet.

"We wanted to start out from the narrowest point," explained Mayor Leah Williams, who said that the town feared that goats would get loose.

Whether all that many people will take advantage of the liberalized restrictions is not clear. The Crested Butte News notes that the town already has a community garden and there is at least some sentiment for a communal livestock pen.

Breckenridge talking with hotel developers

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo.—Breckenridge, the municipality, has a prime piece of property in the middle of town and last winter got a proposal from a Maryland developer called Trinity to build a major hotel with the intent of attracting a brand-name manager, like Marriott.

Town officials didn't say yes—but they didn't say no. Instead, they put out a request for ideas from other developers. They now have two more proposals, and in both cases for even larger hotels.

One proposal, reports the Summit Daily News, comes from a consortium of Ascent Resort Partners, Hunn Consulting Group and O'Bryan Partnership for a 253-room hotel plus 328 public parking spaces. Jackson Wolfe & Co. calls for a five-story, 150-room luxury hotel.

Representatives of the three development companies will have an opportunity on Aug. 9 to detail their ideas in presentations before the Town Council.

Squaw outlines plans for skiing upgrades

TRUCKEE, Calif. -- When buying Squaw Valley last year, Denver-based KSL Capital pledged $50 million in upgrades. The Sierra Sun reports some of the specifics, including a new high-speed quad by 2012 plus increased grooming, thanks to $2.5 million for two new groomers plus a winch cat.

Food and beverage operations will be improved. The ski area has contracted with a Chicago-based firm, Levy Restaurants, to upgrade all the eateries and bars. And the existing ticket portals, described by Squaw Valley Chief Executive Andy Wirth as "an eyesore," will be scrapped.

And finally, Squaw has contracted with Lumiplan, a company that specializes in developing information systems for public transportation networks in Western Europe. Using LED screens, the company will be in charge of figuring out how to better inform Squaw's customers when terrain will be open.

"I've worked with a lot of airlines, and if Delta can tell its customers that a flight scheduled to take off at 9 a.m. is now leaving at 9:28, why can't we do the same thing for our customers?" Wirth asked.

All this said, it looks like Squaw still hasn't played all its cards on the $50 million in upgrades.

Building at a trickle in Vail, Aspen areas

VAIL, Colo.—Even after the Great Recession descended on the United States like a dark theater curtain, multiple cranes continued to dominate the skyline over Vail, with carpenters, electricians and all the rest of the fully employed.

But those big hotels are now finished, and there's not much going on in Vail or more broadly in the Eagle Valley. The Vail Daily reports about 1,400 building inspections for the first half of the year, compared to nearly 5,700 in 2008.

Still, there is some activity. George Ruther, community development director in Vail, reports a handful of speculative homes being built in Vail's highest-end neighborhood adjacent to the ski slopes, and also some scrape-and-replace activity along the golf course.

Limited activity is also reported down-valley at Avon, and even some new homes at Gypsum, traditionally more of a blue-collar community.

In Aspen, the story is the same: some work, but a pale shadow of what it was a few years ago. The Aspen Times reports that Pitkin County has trimmed the equivalent of nine full-time positions from its staff in the last two years.

First lady passes hat in Park City and Aspen

PARK CITY, Utah -- For whatever reason, the motorcade of first lady Michelle Obama was expected to cause little traffic congestion as she slipped into Park City for a 9 a.m. event on Tuesday,

That's in stark contrast to the scene in 2008 when President George W. Bush showed up for a fundraiser at Deer Valley accompanied by a fleet of emergency vehicles.

Obama was in Park City for a fundraiser on behalf of her husband's re-election bid. Later in the day, she stopped in Aspen to encourage the opening of wallets there.

In Aspen she had a capable assistant in Jim Crown, the managing partner for the Crown family, owners of the Aspen Skiing Co. The Obama campaign named him as one of the 87 "bundlers" who have raised between $50,000 and $100,000 this year for Obama's re-election effort, reports The Aspen Times.




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