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Mountain News: ESPN and Aspen to huddle over X Games



ASPEN, Colo. — It's time to get creative about the X Games. With upwards of $600,000 this year plus whatever money the Aspen Skiing Co. throws into the kitty, Aspen has a contract to continue hosting the X Games for another five years.

The Aspen Daily News explains that Aspen grew the kitty even as seven other communities bid to host the event. The ski company absorbed the "lion's share" of costs associated with hosting the event, although the broader community benefits. Lodges were 94 per cent full or even higher. Last year, the event drew an all-time record of 114,500 spectators.

ESPN and Aspen Skiing representatives said the extended commitment will allow them to experiment with new ways to grow the X Games. Already, the Games have launched the big air, halfpipe and slopestyle disciplines of skiing and snowboarding to new heights since the inaugural event in 1997 in Big Bear Lake, California.

After being staged at Big Bear for two years, it enjoyed two years in Crested Butte before finding a home in Aspen in 2002.

"There are a bunch of things we're considering that we've been looking at for a while now," said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN's senior vice president.

One option: extending the three-day event to four.

John Rigney, vice president of sales and events for the Aspen Skiing Co., said that "spectator experience and lifestyle elements" of the X Games are likely to get more attention.

Young entrepreneurs sought

KETCHUM, Idaho — With a $28,000 grant from the city government, a "business incubator" building is being leased in Ketchum for budding entrepreneurs.

"Really, it's a mindset to get companies that are looking for much more than just cheap office space," explained Jon Duval, executive director of the Ketchum Community Development Corp.

"They don't want to just work at home or in an office. They want to work around like-minded people to foster creativity and energy," he told the Idaho Mountain Express.

He further explained that tenants of the incubator space are expected to have "a flexible business plan and a scalable business model. Also, we have a real desire to collaborate and help other entrepreneurs along with venture capital funding."

Rich LeFaivre, former vice president of advanced technologies at Apple, also voiced support for the incubator. "Over the last 15 years as a venture incubator, I've seen the power of what happens if this is done right," he said.

LeFaivre said he sees the incubator as an opportunity to attract more aspiring young business professionals to the area.

Another group, Sustain Blaine, has also worked on putting together a local investment strategy and mentor list.

Big plans for cannabis

EAGLE, Colo. — Something of a cannabis mall is being proposed in Eagle, the town 48 kilometres west of Vail.

There, Rocky Mountain Pure proposes to build a retail store along with an indoor cultivation facility and a 4,180-square-metre greenhouse, which would be for cannabis that would be exported to other buyers.

Also among the plans is a 341-square-metre "prohibition museum," designed to extol the wonders of cannabis and also to air out aspects of the last 90 years when it has been essentially prohibited in the United States.

The Eagle Valley Enterprise explains that the local planning commission approved the uses, but left the hard question of size to the town board.