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Vail Resorts grooms Michigan customers

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vail Resorts has announced it intends to invest $10 million in capital improvements at its newest ski resort, Michigan's Mt. Brighton. And it's also providing inducements for Mt. Brighton skiers to visit the eight ski areas that Vail owns in California and Colorado.

Mt. Brighton is located in the triangle of three of Michigan's largest cities: Detroit, Lansing, and Ann Arbor.

Upgrades include significant improvements to snowmaking, a new quad chairlift and terrain parks.

Clearly, Vail is priming Michigan skiers with the idea of tacking on a ski vacation to one of its eight resorts in Colorado and California. A normal season ski pass goes for $299. For $130 more, they can buy an Epic Pass. Kids can get the package for $269.

Deer Valley thinking more about gondola

PARK CITY, Utah — While the argument continues about the proposal to link ski areas near Park City with those on the western side of the Wasatch Range with a gondola, Deer Valley continues to toy with the idea of a gondola to Park City's Main Street, reports The Park Record. It's not clear what crucial decisions remain to be made.

Water managers plan for summer rationing

RED CLIFF, Colo. — The late Buster Beck, a one-time logger and miner in Red Cliff, a town a few miles from Vail, used to say that St. Patrick's Day was the tipping point for snow. Any snow that arrived after mid-March in the town, located at 2,667 metres (8,750 feet) in elevation, might build the snowpack temporarily, but within a day or two the snowpack would start slinking back on its way toward summer.

Above 2,750 metres, where more than 50 per cent of the snowpack in Colorado's mountains normally accumulates, the tipping point for the snowpack may come a bit later. But if limits are to be avoided this summer, it will need to start snowing hard in Colorado very soon.

Water managers aren't banking on it. They're planning on a dry summer.

In Vail, Diane Johnson of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District calls it an "extreme drought." The local snowpack in early March stood at 70 per cent of the 30-year average.

In the Gunnison Basin, water managers tell the Crested Butte News that the snowpack this past week was still a whisker below two-thirds of the 30-year average.

Frank Kugel, general manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, says it's likely that newer, or more junior water-rights holders in the basin may have to curtail their use of water to accommodate those with older, or more senior, rights in the corn and orchard country downstream on the Gunnison River.

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