In Brief: Fundraiser targets fentanyl/opioid crisis; 50 years of EJMT; Indy Pass to limit pass sales

Staff Report

Fundraiser for foundation targeting drug policy

The Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions has a fundraiser on Thursday at the Baldwin Gallery in Aspen, followed by an intimate dinner with the founder, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, at the Caribou Club.

No RSVP necessary, and donations of any amount will be accepted at the Baldwin Gallery gathering at 6 p.m. Suggested dinner contributions at the 7 p.m. dinner range from $2,500 to $25,000. To RSVP for the dinner, email brendan@gooddrugpol or visit fds_aspen.eventbr

The foundation co-founded by Kennedy was launched in Colorado last fall. He and co-founder Kevin Sabet, a member of the Obama administration with more than 20 years in national drug policy, will be discussing policy solutions to the fentanyl/opioid crisis.  

Fentanyl is responsible for half of the 250 fatal overdoses that happen daily in America.

Epic Pass price rises for next season

Vail Resorts began selling its 2023-24 season passes on Tuesday, with the top-tier Epic Pass offering unlimited access to Vail and Beaver Creek for $909.

The $909 price point is a $68 jump from last season and a $126 increase from the 2021-22 season, when Vail Resorts announced what it called a price “reset,” returning to 2015-16 prices.

Prior to the reset, the Epic Pass had reached $979 during the 2020-21 season following more than a decade of a steady increase in price and offerings since first being launched during the 2008-09 season at $579. That initial Epic Pass worked at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Heavenly. Today’s Epic Pass offers access to more than 80 resorts across the globe.

At the other end of the Vail Resorts’ product package, a single-day “Epic Day Pass” to the company’s premium resorts is currently being offered for $101. Following the company’s 2021-22 price reset, an Epic Day Pass was $87 or $172 for a two-day pass.

50 years and 434 million vehicles since Eisenhower Tunnel opened

Fifty years ago today, the 1.7-mile long I-70 Eisenhower Tunnel opened to traffic. Located about 60 miles west of Denver and under the Continental Divide, the tunnel has served as a vital transportation connector for the state and the interstate system.

The Colorado Department of Transportation marked the historic milestone by pausing westbound traffic for 50 seconds, so the Colorado State Patrol’s vintage 1970 Fury was the first vehicle to usher in the tunnel’s next half-century. It was a CSP vehicle that first entered the tunnel when it opened to traffic 50 years ago. As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, 434 million vehicles had traveled through both the Eisenhower and Johnson Memorial Tunnels since March 8, 1973.

Indy Pass limits sales for next season

The Indy Pass, independent ski areas’ answer to the Epic and Ikon mega passes, is undergoing some major changes, but current pass holders are unlikely to notice much of the shakeup.

On Monday, those current pass holders were offered first crack at renewing their Indy Passes for next season, and a mad rush ensued as Indy Pass announced that it will limit the total amount of passes sold for next season.

The Indy Pass was released in 2019 and has proven to be a success in the years that followed. It started by offering pass holders a few days of access to a few dozen ski hills across the United States, and by 2022-23, it had grown to offer access to more than 139 ski areas worldwide, including several in Colorado.

The Indy Pass works like a co-op, with the small businesses sharing the profits.

“We take 85% of all the pass revenue, and we pay it out based on redemptions,” says founder Doug Fish. “It’s really a marketing program; it’s designed to introduce people to new resorts that they probably haven’t been to, and it’s designed to give a collective voice of the oft-forgotten and overlooked little guys.”

Palisades gondola cabin gets stuck

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — A cabin on Palisades Tahoe’s Base to Base Gondola became lodged in the terminal at KT mid-station Saturday morning, forcing the lift to stop for roughly 90 minutes.

The cabin, which originated from the Palisades side of the mountain, became stuck due to a gust of wind as it entered the terminal, according to resort officials.

The incident occurred at approximately 9:34 a.m., and all guests were offloaded at the KT mid-station by 11:13 a.m. There were no injuries, and the resort was able to use its gondola intercom system to communicate with guests inside the cabins.

The Alpine side of the Base to Base Gondola was not operating at this time, and the lift was closed for the remainder of the day due to wind.

Tahoe having one of biggest winters ever

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe is in the midst of one of its snowiest seasons ever.

We dug out from the multi-day blizzard from earlier this week that dropped more than 10 feet of snow, and, after a two-day sunny break, another storm has entered the region that is again expected to blanket Tahoe in more feet of snow.

Bryan Allegretto has been forecasting Tahoe weather for the past 14 seasons and said it has been far more active than he’s ever seen it.

“We just got incredible amounts of snow in February,” said Allegretto, co-owner of Open Snow. He added that out of the Tahoe ski resorts, Palisades Tahoe, and Boreal reported the most snow this week — just over 12 feet of snow in eight days.

On average, Allegretto said Tahoe receives an average between 420 and 466 inches of snow each year. So far this year, Palisades has blown past that mark with more than 500 inches (501). Kirkwood Mountain Resort has recorded 526 inches. Heavenly Mountain Resort has recorded 454 inches.

Park City Mountain extends ski season

Park City Mountain on Monday said it has extended the ski season by two weeks, indicating the plentiful snow made it possible to keep the slopes open beyond its planned closing date.

The ski season at Park City Mountain was scheduled to end April 9, which is Easter. The updated closing date is April 23, weather and conditions permitting. The resort said an April 23 closing date would make the 2022-2023 ski season the longest since the season of 1992-1993.

According to Park City Mountain, the resort plans to keep most of the lifts and runs open on both the Mountain Village and Canyons Village sides through April 16, a Sunday. Access to the slopes during the final week of the ski season will be from the Mountain Village side.

The resort said there will not be a charge for parking in the Main, First Time, and Silver King lots on the Mountain Village side after April 2. The resort will not require parking reservations after this date on the Mountain Village side.

Park City Mountain said it had received, through Monday morning, 455 inches of snow during the ski season. The total is the most through the same period of a ski season in the 49 years for which the resort has records. It is also 130% of the average snowfall for an entire season, the resort said.

Rifle reaps city bounty from inflation

Rising revenues derived from city taxes in Rifle are sort of like a double-edged sword. 

On the one hand, jumbo white eggs are nearly $6 a carton, and locals continue to watch their paychecks drain into their gas tanks at the pump.

On the other hand, inflation rates are actually pumping more money into city coffers. And with this unexpected bump comes more money to support some pretty gigantic capital projects for Rifle. 

They include creating a traffic-light intersection at the corner of Whiteriver Avenue and U.S. Highway 6, as well as building an entirely new park-n-ride area in town.

Rifle Finance Director Scott Rust reported to City Council on March 1 that sales-tax collections increased by 9.07% between 2021-2022. The city only estimated a 4% increase in collections over this timeframe — which means the actual collections increase shot over that estimation by 5.07%. Now, the city has about an additional $3.08 million to work with in its budget and about $46.2 million for overall operations.