Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mountain Town News

Express Staff Writer

Denver quietly tooling bid for 2022 Olympics

DENVER, Colo.—With little more than speculation, and a sparse amount of that, The Denver Post on Sunday front-paged a story about Denver's play for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

But if the newspaper seemed to have little to report, it did suggest that plenty of people in Colorado are thinking hard about what it will take to put together a strong bid. Competition from Lake Tahoe and possibly Salt Lake City is likely, the newspaper said.

However, the paper made one keen observation: If Denver is to go for the games, it will have to figure out everything from the figure skating venue to media headquarters by next year.

The paper reported it was unable to interview most people associated with the effort, but did get an impressive vote of confidence from former Gov. Dick Lamm. As a young legislator in 1972, Lamm had led a successful effort to ban state funding of the games. The backlash was partly a response to ineptitude on the part of Denver's Olympic Organizing Committee.

But since 1984, Olympic hosts no longer end up getting stuck with huge costs—and the situation in Denver has changed, too.

"The circumstances have changed," Lamm told the newspaper. "I have confidence in these organizers."

Aspen Skiing requires employees to wear helmets

ASPEN, Colo.—The Aspen Skiing Co. has announced that all its employees must wear a helmet while on duty and clicked into skis or snowboards. Last year, the company began requiring helmets of employees seen as "influencers." Helmet use by guests and employees at the company's marquee ski areas, Aspen and Snowmass, is currently more than 80 percent.

Companies tag-team to compete with Vail

DENVER, Colo.—Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co. have teamed up to offer a new pass targeting Front Range skiers and riders. The two companies, which operate six ski areas in Colorado, are offering a $299 pass for adults called the Colorado Trip Play Pass. For children, it's $249. The pass has a blackout of five days during Christmas week.


Aspen operates Aspen, Snowmass and two other ski areas. Intrawest operates Winter Park and owns Steamboat.

This is the latest major pricing salvo since Winter Park fired the first shot in 1999. Emulating Bogus Basin in Idaho, it began discounting its season ski pass. Vail Resorts soon responded, creating various packages good at its four ski areas along Interstate 70 and a fifth, Arapahoe Basin. Vail's most extensive offering, the Epic Local Pass, costs $519 and provides unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, along with 10 restricted days at Vail or Beaver Creek.

Olympic expansion challenged in Whistler

WHISTLER, B.C.—Did Whistler overbuild for the Olympics? That's at least one of the charges in the wake of a report that the municipality is coming up short on money for transportation. Pique Newsmagazine says one councilor, Eckhard Zeidler, points out that the bus garage can hold 50 buses, about twice what is now necessary. But others on the council respond that while Whistler has a limit on residential growth, it hopes to expand use of its lodging infrastructure, requiring expansion of its bus fleet.

Lindsey Vonn says yes to homecoming

VAIL, Colo.—She's married, sure, but when a 16-year-old student at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy asked Lindsey Vonn whether she would be his date to the school's homecoming, she said yes.

"I asked her because she's awesome!" Parker McDonald told the Vail Daily.

The newspaper, which describes Vonn as "your all-time Homecoming Queen," says that Vonn was visiting the academy when Parker bucked up his courage and dangled the proposition.

On her Facebook page, Vonn described her date as "cute, nervous and very polite."

She added, "All through school, growing up I never got the chance to go to a school dance, so I'm excited for tonight!"

Vonn, who trained in Vail while in high school, had returned to her roots for a training session.

Snow lingers through summer in high places

GRANBY, Colo.—It was a huge snow year at the headwaters of the Colorado River and a good many other places of the West. Has the snow lingered through summer?

The Associated Press reports that here and there the snow remains through what was an uncommonly dry and warm September. In one case in Colorado, at Arikaree Glacier, located on the Continental Divide between Granby and Boulder, a scientist found 2 to 3 feet of snow from last winter remaining as of late September. But against that gain must be counted the shrinkage during the hot, dry summer of 2002, when the glacier lost 9 feet.

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