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News in Brief

Mixed bag for lodging occupancyASPEN The latest occupancy report for the Aspen/Snowmass lodging industry shows a mixed bag for the remainder of the ski season.In Aspen, advance reservations were up this week and next week over the same weeks last season. However, the bookings as of Jan. 31 were down sharply for the week of Feb. 17-23, according to a report released Thursday by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.For February overall, business in Aspen was projected to be about even with February 2007, the report showed. Advance bookings for March as of Jan. 31 were down about 4 percent compared to advance bookings at the same time last year.Advance reservations look stronger in Snowmass Village. Business was up significantly this week and next week. For February as a whole, advance reservations as of Jan. 31 showed the occupancy rate would be 74 percent compared to 56 percent at the same time last year.Advance reservations are also significantly stronger in March at Snowmass. Current bookings would produce an occupancy rate of 61 percent compared to 47 percent last season.Actual occupancy is always higher as later reservations are made.The Aspen Skiing Co., and its marketing partners at the town of Snowmass and within the lodging industry, have been hammering home excellent snow conditions in recent promotional efforts, aiming to boost occupancies in late February and early March.

Living with chronic conditionsASPEN Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions is the topic of a six-week course offered by the Pitkin County Senior Center and Community Health Services.The class will meet from 1-3:30 p.m. every Monday, beginning on Feb. 25 and continuing through March 3.Classes will be held at the Health and Human Services building next to Aspen Valley Hospital on Castle Creek Road. The cost of the class is $10, and includes the course fee and the course materials.To sign up or for more information, call Ruth at 920-5432. Vail needs thousands of homes now VAIL Its official. Eagle County is in a housing crisis and can expect to feel the economic impacts in the next few years, experts say. The county needs 3,400 homes now, both affordable and market-priced, to address the current housing shortage, and more than 8,000 homes in the next decade to keep up with future growth, according to a recent study by RRC Associates and Rees Consulting, firms that specialize in housing analysis in resort communities. Also, local residents own about 51 percent of the homes in Eagle County, a drop from the 69 percent of locally owned homes in 2000, the study said. Youre losing ground as far as the relationship between the local population and second-home owners, Melanie Rees, of Rees Consulting, said. (Vail Daily)


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