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Mountain News: Utah bid for (Whistler’s) Japanese skiers dashed



PARK CITY, Utah - A non-stop Delta Airlines flight between Tokyo and Salt Lake City has been cancelled for next winter, dashing hopes in Park City of increased numbers of Japanese visitors.

Park City had hoped to attract Japanese skiers who normally ski at Whistler but who might be worried about crowds there this winter.

A Delta spokesman told the Park Record that the recession, fewer passengers than expected, and predictions of another outbreak of swine flu this coming winter all played into the decision. The airline lost $300 million during what had been its most profitable quarter.

Water savings reflected in pricing

HAILEY, Idaho - Since water meters were installed in Hailey, located about 20 miles down-valley from Sun Valley and Ketchum, water consumption has dropped 23 per cent. Now, utility officials are instituting incremental costs that will reward those who use less. Those using less than 30,000 gallons will see their costs reduced by nearly 50 per cent on a per-gallon basis. Per-gallon rates for those using greater quantities than 65,000 gallons per month will be stepped up 12 per cent, relates the Idaho Mountain Express .

Bottled water sells well

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - Bottled water continues to sell well in the Lake Tahoe area, despite the easy availability from taps of some of the best water found anywhere.

The Sierra Sun talked to grocers who say that the bottled water section has steadily expanded during the last decades.

But, if anything, tap water may be more heavily regulated than bottled water to ensure cleanliness. In California, officials tell the newspaper, state regulations come on top of federal regulations. "In California, we meet stricter drinking water standards than anywhere in the world, California prides itself on that," said Dennis Cocking, spokesman for South Tahoe Public Utilities District.

Bruce Olszewski, an environmental studies professor at San Jose State University, tells the newspaper that tap water is by far environmentally superior. "It doesn't have to be trucked, bottled; it is not in contact with contaminants like plasticizers. It does not have nearly the carbon footprint, and you don't have to worry about hauling away plastic bottles."

Tom Lauria, vice president of communications for the International Bottled Water Association, disputed the superiority of tap water. He also pointed out that bottled water doesn't necessarily compete with tap. "It competes with other packaged products, like coffee and soda."

Utility officials point out that tap water comes at much less expense: less than a cent per gallon compared to 89 cents a gallon of bottled water.