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Mountain News: Ikon Pass good for only limited days at Deer Valley



PARK CITY, Utah—Nowhere are Vail Resorts and the new Alterra Mountain Co. competing more head to head than at Park City. There, Vail Resorts owns Park City Mountain Resort, while Alterra owns the adjacent Deer Valley Resort.

The Ikon Pass will get you into Deer Valley, the Epic Pass into Park City.

But unlike the Epic Pass, which offers unlimited access to Park City, the turf at Deer Valley is limited to seven days a season. The pass will also be limited to seven days combined at Alta and Snowbird.

The Park Record noted that Park City has seen a strong increase in visitors since the local slopes became eligible to Epic Pass purchasers four years ago. But the same surge may not result from the Ikon Pass, because of the limits.

Erik Forsell, chief marketing officer for Alterra, said Alterra made the decision to limit access to Deer Valley because the company wanted to respect the resort's history of capping the number of skiers each day.

"Our goal was to accentuate what made the resorts what they are today, and part of the Deer Valley experience is their attention to customer service and how many people are on the hill each day," he said. "We are very conscious about keeping what makes Deer Valley, Deer Valley."

In addition to the three Utah resorts, 10 other resorts accessible to purchasers of the Ikon Pass will also have limited days.

Nick Sargent, president of Snowsports Industries America, said the discount ski pass "takes a very premium and luxury sport, and it brings it down to a true middle-class space."

Vail skier, 91, goes heli-skiing and may get Guinness record

VAIL, Colo.—This winter Stan Friedberg, who is 91, went on a heli-skiing trip in Canada with his son and three granddaughters. For this holiday he may be bestowed with the distinction of being the oldest heli-skier ever. The Vail Daily said that the record certified by Guinness Book of World Records currently is 88 years old.

The son, Steve Friedberg, told the Daily that his father works out every day and, when in the Pittsburgh area, where the family business is located, he can often be found running the stairs at a high school football stadium.

Surviving an avalanche

LAKE LOUISE, Alta.—A woman narrowly escaped dying in an avalanche at Sentinel Pass, near Lake Louise. She had been dragged 200 metres down the face of the mountain and buried under four metres of snow.

Tim Banfield, the lead skier who had triggered the avalanche, also was the lead rescuer. The victim was buried so deep that probe poles couldn't reach her body. They were guessing where to dig. They got lucky, and so did she. She had been buried for 15 minutes but survived.

"The survival rate at two metres is four per cent, and we were looking at four metres," Banfield told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

In rescuing her, he was basically inverted in the shoulder-wide hole, as he was digging and then trying to get her out of her skis, working in a handstand-like position while achieving this. The avalanche victim did not want to be identified.

In Colorado, two people died in avalanches in the last big storm sequence, the first a skier in a backcountry area adjacent to Aspen Highlands called Maroon Bowl. He and a companion had detected a weak layer underneath as they traversed a slope toward a stand of trees, then they felt something shift, according to a report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

"We're going for a ride," the second skier said, before the avalanche on the 38 degree slope let loose. He was swept into a tree and killed.

In the second case, a backcountry snowmobiler near Breckenridge was killed by an avalanche on a slope of 38 to 42 degrees.

Conservation easement put on ranch

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.—A conservation easement has been placed on another parcel of ranch land between Crested Butte and Gunnison, bringing the total protected to 4,377 acres. The conservation easement by The Nature Conservancy precludes development on the Trampe family ranch.

"The easements prevent subdivision and development of scenic ranchlands stretching for 48 kilometres in one of Colorado's most iconic landscapes," according to a release from The Nature Conservancy.

The Crested Butte News described the easement as being a multi-million-dollar deal. The town of Crested Butte contributed $1 million.