Mountain Town News | AspenTimes.com

Mountain Town News

Aspen, CO Colorado

The idea of connecting ski areas of Utahs Wasatch Range is being talked about once again. The concept has been around for a while, because of the proximity of the ski hills. Park City has three ski areas, and relatively close, but on the other side of the range, are Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude. The Park Record says that Gov. John Huntsman supports the interconnections, saying it will make Utah a more attractive skiing destination while also possibly reducing car traffic. However, he does not support spending government funds to achieve this.

Ouray County commissioners are considering adoption of restrictions on the size of homes and other structures built on former mining properties. With mining from the 1870s continuing for a century, the county now has 1,200 such properties located in the San Juan Mountains, explains The Ouray Watch. County Commissioner Keith Meinert said the purpose of the proposed regulations is to preserve the historic character of the mining districts.

After the 2002 drought, Gunnison County found religion. The next winter, and every winter thereafter, it has donated to a cloud-seeding effort. But this year, with revenues likely to be flat or decline, local officials are more hesitant. With cloud-seeding season drawing near, reports the Crested Butte News, the best they could offer Utah-based cloud-seeder Don Griffith is a maybe. The cost to the county and other Crested Butte-area organizations would be $100,000.

The worlds roiling economy has resulted in falling prices for metals, but mine operator Freeport-McMoRan says that it still plans to reopen its molybdenum mine between Leadville and Copper Mountain in 2010. The work is continuing on schedule, company official Eric Kinneberg told The Leadville Chronicle.After taking a hard and extended look at the world molybdenum market, the company in 2007 announced plans to reopen the Climax Mine, located at Fremont Pass. The company is spending $500 million in renovations, which will make mining operations more efficient.The reopened mine is to employ 350 people. More than 3,000 worked there at peak production in about 1980 shortly before plummeting molybdenum prices resulted in the mine being closed.

When Interstate 70 across Vail Pass closes because of stormy weather, as occurred 43 times last year, it can be hard to find a place to park a truck in Vail. There just isnt much room, plus that means a lot of idling diesel engines in one place not much fun for neighbors out for a stroll.To reduce the congestion, Colorado transportation officials have come up with a strategy. First, truckers driving from the west will be alerted to conditions more frequently. Some $3 million has been spent to install 14 variable-message signs.Those signs will tell truckers of what lies ahead and what does not. In other words, they will be advised to snag parking spaces well away from the foot of the pass, even as far away as Dotsero and Gypsum, about 50 miles away. There will be 410 parking spaces for trucks along highways and frontage roads in this more distant location.

Heat from a sewage treatment plant in Avon is going to be diverted to melt snow on future streets and sidewalks in the emerging downtown area. The heat might also be used to heat the swimming pool at the Avon Recreation Center. Key to making the project work is a $1.5 million grant from the Governors Energy Office in Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook accuses the Canmore council of getting their knickers a bit knotted. One council member had wanted to allow an outdoor clothesline in a new condo project. Other council members disagreed, arguing that it is an aesthetic issue as if somehow property values would plunge should the neighbors unmentionables get a proper airing, said the newspaper in an editorial.Rather than discouraging the use of outdoor drying, Canmore should be encouraging such energy saving measures infinitely cheaper than and just as effective as such things as solar panels and hybrid cars, opined the newspaper.One U.S. organization calculates that clothes dryers account for 6 percent of all electricity consumed by U.S. households, behind only refrigerators and lighting. Cumulatively, there would be a heck of a lot less coal burned and rivers dammed to produce power if we all just stopped tumbling our clothes, said the Outlook.As well, it added parenthetically, imports from China could be significantly reduced, as the cheaply made clothing gets rapidly chewed to bits in clothes dryers.

Only two bars still allow smoking in Jackson Hole, but efforts continue to preclude smoking as a part of regulations governing food workers.Activists insist they are not out to ban smoking only to allow the right of individuals to breathe safe, clean air. Breathing is a right, not a privilege, writes Frieda Edgette, of the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights.She had written to the Jackson Hole News&Guide to object to a headline that described a smoking ban. Her group, she said, is not out to ban smoking only to prevent others from having to breathe the tainted air.

Financial troubles are slowing the work at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the major new ski area that was opened last year. While the details are still being sorted out, marketing director Ashley Tait told the Revelstoke Times Review that the Nelson Lodge is still to be completed, but the timing has shifted. Some staff members have been shed. Control of the project has been assumed by the Northland Properties Group, a Vancouver, B.C.-based company that invested a reported $10 million into the project a year ago. Control of the project previously had been held by Don Simpson, a Denver-based developer of housing.What you need to know is that we were overspent and in a very tough position, Rod Kesleer, chief operating officer, told the Revelstoke City Council at an Oct. 27 meeting. Meanwhile at Canmore, the $135 million Solar Resort & Spa has gone into receivership. Construction stopped in September after K2 Developments was unable to secure the final $3 million in financing. Of the 214 units, 50 remained for sale, sources told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

The ribbon has been cut on an airport at a bigger and better airport at Cranbrook, which beginning in December will have flights connecting to Salt Lake City, the hub for Delta Airlines.Tourism officials hope that Cranbrook becomes a major portal for the emerging resorts of interior British Columbia. Resorts that may benefit include Revelstoke and Panorama, plus summer resorts in the lake-laden Kootenay region.The Kootenay region is only half a day away for more than 65 million travelers from the U.S. alone, and now, opportunities for overseas flights are increased as well, said Bill Bennet, the minister for tourism, culture and the arts in British Columbia.The runway was extended by 2,000 feet, to 8,000 feet, explains the Revelstoke Times Review. Terminal buildings are now able to handle international flights. The cost was $12.5 million, financed by local, provincial and federal governments.

Allen Best compiles Mountain Town News, a feature of the Aspen Times Weekly. He can be reached at allen.best@comcast.net.


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