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Mountain News: Brittle and artificial, like Whistler?



REVELSTOKE, B.C. – Mountain towns are deathly afraid of growing up to become like… well, in Colorado, the usual citations are Aspen and Vail, although Steamboat, Summit County, and even Crested Butte crop up. Smaller don’t want to become bigger.

In British Columbia, between Banff and Whistler, Revelstoke is shaking the dust off its blue-collar boots as it primps itself for the big league of mountain resorts. In an editorial, the Times Review insists that the future can be guided. But in his ruminations about burying a 100-year time capsule, editor David Rooney sounds less sanguine.

“Will it still be friendly, rural community of people who work hard and who love their mountains and forests intensely? Or will it have evolved into something like Banff or Whistler — brittle and largely artificial communities that focus on parting tourists from their dollars.”

In Jackson Hole, Paul Cook sees little to like in the changes of the last 30 years. A neo-environmentalism prevails, he says, that is mostly intent on elevating property values. The result is a more stratified community, with various groups having little interaction. “So now we have created a “critical rich people habitat” where rich people are a dime a dozen,” he writes in the Jackson Hole News & Guide. It’s good hired hands, he adds, are hard to find.

And from the Eagle Valley comes this note: “Vail looks like Dubai with all the cranes. What happened to the little mountain town I moved to on Nov. 13, 1970?”


Just right

JASPER, Alberta – Size does matter, and for some people in Jasper, 4,700 people is just right.

“It’s a perfect size — not so small you know every single one of your neighbours, but small enough to offer support systems,” says Bob Covey, editor of a newspaper there. Others similarly agree that the smallness produces a stronger sense of community, especially because of the town’s isolation.

It’s located in Jasper National Park, north of Banff. The park is Canada’s largest, wildest and most remote, notes the Rocky Mountain Outlook. The park is 100 years old this summer. A celebration is planned Sept. 14.


Aspen says no to bottled water

ASPEN, Colo. – Aspen is acutely aware of its fish-bowl status, especially now that it has suggested, through its Canary Initiative, how the rest of the world should live.

The Canary Initiative is Aspen’s global-warming plan that seeks to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.