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Mountain News: Canary chirps but none too loudly

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For Mahoney, the ski area was what he had always wanted. "I've had a dream of having a ski resort here since school, and thank God we got one," he said.

Coors ads set in San Juan ski town

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Film crews were in Telluride late this fall to shoot videos for three commercials for Coors beer that will be broadcast beginning in spring. Tim Territo, of Telluride On Site Productions, which helped bring the shoot to the San Juan Mountains town, said the project yielded about a half million dollars of spending in the town.

The narrative of one commercial, he said, involves the purchase and renovation of a bar, while another centres around a group of friends building a cabin. Sites used included the New Sheridan Bar, the Floradora Saloon and the Last Dollar Saloon.

high-speed rail dreams in the I-70

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. — Visions of a high-speed rail for Colorado's Interstate 70 corridor were on display last week as eight of 10 companies laid out their specifications.

About half propose to use magnetic levitation, an old technology that is now in use in a high-speed train in Shanghai, China. One company proposes to use electric power to push rubber tires on a guideway, while another company envisions a suspended monorail.

In inviting applications, the Colorado Department of Transportation said that the proposals had to be fast — or at least faster than cars. That's 65 mph when the highway is unencumbered by snow or heavy traffic. On Saturdays and Sundays in particular, but increasingly on other days of summer and winter, a 60-minute drive from Summit County to Denver can drag to two, three or even four hours.

The minimum speed purported by any of these technologies is 80 miles per hour, but many say their vehicles would be able to achieve speeds of 150 miles per hour, and even faster, according to a document released by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

When will any of this happen? Who knows. In June 2011, C-DOT issued a document that calls for continued investment in the existing highway system, to increase the number of vehicles it can carry, by reducing bottlenecks.

But the document also articulated a plan to begin evaluating some kind of rail-based mass transit to be implemented sometime during the next 50 years. State officials tell the Summit Daily News that study of financing arrangements could begin next year.

Even the cheapest of the proposals calls for a staggering capital investment of at least $15 million per mile. Others range up to $458 million a mile. That's $1 billion and up for the segment between Denver and Vail. However, a previous study estimated $15 billion for the corridor. By comparison, the C-DOT's annual capital construction for all of Colorado is $1 billion.