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Mountain News: Oh, the delights of getting over 60

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ASPEN, Colo. — At least 23 per cent of permanent residents of Aspen and Pitkin County are 60 and older, which makes it distinctly gray — and an obvious place to study geriatric medicine.

The Aspen Times reports that a $1.5 million endowment has been given to help launch programs aimed at serving senior citizens in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.

A symposium was held with talks labelled "Cognitive Impairment: Facts and Fiction," and "Depression: What to Look For."

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? But sponsors promised more entertaining talks than the labels suggested.

Staying the X course despite an X Games death

ASPEN, Colo. — With the death of snowmobile stunt competitor Caleb Moore, the focus has intensified on the X Games. This is the first fatality in the 18 years of the event, the last 12 of them in Aspen, but the obvious question is whether there is too much X in the X Games.

The Aspen Daily News polled public officials and sponsors, including the Aspen Skiing Co., but found little overt support for taming the competition.

"When the world's best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain," said Katie Moses-Swope, a spokeswoman for ESPN, which produces the annual event.

Michael Kaplan, chief executive of Aspen Skiing Co., also noted inherent risks. "The X Games participants are elite athletes who are aware of the risks and undergo rigorous training and preparation to mitigate those risks, but they cannot be totally eliminated," he said in a prepared statement.

And Adam Frisch, a city councilman in Aspen, which also provided funding for the X Games, says he has seen no evidence of incompetence. "It seems what they do is crazy, but I'm unsure, statistically, if it's worse than anything else that goes on in other sports," he said. "This is just a sad day for the sport of snowmobiling, the community and the X Games."

But Michael Owsley, a commissioner in Pitkin County, which helps put on the event through sponsorship of transportation, said X Games and the ESPN officials should "seriously examine whether or not they can have an X Games without putting people at risk."

Park City yanks bid as X Games venue

PARK CITY, Utah — ESPN has one fewer dance partner for its Winter X Games. Park City has withdrawn its bid, citing timing and financial requirements.

A representative of the local chamber estimated the cost of hosting the event at five to 10 million dollars, if split among the three local ski mountains, plus thousands of free hotel rooms for athletes, staffers and sponsors during the event and the preparations.

The event is currently held in Aspen in late January, but that date is off-limits to Park City because the resort already has its busiest event of the year then: the Sundance Film Festival. "April was identified as the alternative, but that would have required preparations be diverted during March, also an extremely busy time. And what benefits would accrue during April, a time when many people have shifted their interests away from snow and to other sports."

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