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Chilling episode in one Tough Mudder

AVON, Colo. — It was sweaty, gritty weekend in the Vail Valley. Several athletic competitions were scheduled, including the Tough Mudder, a literally chilling competition.

The Vail Daily says that the event drew 10,000 competitors to run or, in some cases, walk through a course filled with reality TV-type of obstacles. One, the Arctic Enema, requires Tough Mudders to jump into a giant ice bath and then swim through the ice and under a wooden plank. The object, said the Daily, was to neither get hypothermic nor drown.

This is the third year for the event at Beaver Creek.

Bookings, room rates up for summer

TELLURIDE, Colo. — Business is on the rise in Telluride. The Daily Planet reports bookings this spring have been up and local tourism officials see rising bookings through July and August and also higher room rates. The predicted average daily rate for June was $215, according to Michael Martelon, president of the Telluride Tourism Board. That's up about $16 from last year, while the room rates for July and August are expected to be up $8 and $20 respectively over last year.

Vail gingerly talking about limits on bags

VAIL, Colo. — Cautiously, Vail's elected leaders are exploring the idea of crimping the distribution of plastic shopping bags. Telluride, Aspen and other mountain towns have done so in the last two years.

In Aspen's case, the city bans plastic bags altogether but allows paper bags to be sold at a cost of 20 cents.

Ashley Perl, Aspen's environmental health specialist, told Vail officials recently that the ban has worked well in Aspen, but not without bumps. Paper bag companies and plastic-bag lobbyists opposed it. So did local residents who felt they were already being good stewards by reusing those bags for things like cleaning up after dogs.

The Vail Daily reports that the town council there has asked its staff to put together a plan for a similar effort in Vail, but with outreach as a significant component. Kristen Bertuglia, the town's sustainability director, says she will be conducting surveys of town residents, to better gauge their sensitivities.

Meanwhile, in Durango, the city council is contemplating a 10-cent fee on disposable bags. The Telegraph reports that many people appeared before the council recently to add their two cents to the discussion. The council has taken no action.

Breckenridge is planning to start imposing a 10-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags beginning in October. That fee is intended to encourage people to use reusable bags, and to help that decision the town has ordered 50,000 reusable bags. The Summit Daily News says the bags are made of 80 per cent recycled materials and are machine washable.

The bags cost the town $1 each. They are partly marketing vehicles for the town, with art on their sides intended to remind visitors of the charms of Breckenridge.

The Daily News notes that communities that have imposed fees have seen up to 80 per cent reduction in the use of disposable bags. More than three million plastic bags are used in Breckenridge each year.

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