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Mountain News: Vail Resorts pleases investors, angers others

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More remarkable yet was 1995, when spring came on forever, wet in the valleys and snowy on the peaks, and sunshine mostly absent until nearly July. That year Aspen was open June 21, and in Summit County it still looked like February at the top of Arapahoe Basin. One astonished visitor from New England, skiing off the A-Basin summit-ridge cornice on a morning in mid-June that year, was heard saying: “These are mid-winter conditions!”

 

Communities not place-based?

BANFF, Alberta – Well-worn topics about what is sometimes called amenity migration in mountain resorts were revisited at a recent conference held in Banff.

Among those speaking, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook, was Linda Kruger, a research social scientist from the U.S. Forest Service who is based in Juneau, Alaska. Among the problems, she said, is that long-term residents of an established community often find themselves forced to adjust to what many of them perceive as an invasion of newcomers whose vision of mountain living differs greatly from their own.

Another speaker, Lawrence Moss, of the International Amenity Migration Center, said the “living realm is expanding. People don’t think of themselves as living in just one place. Increasingly, people are living in communities that are not place-based.”

Even so-called permanent amenity migrants are often less than permanent, as many spend their winter months in warmer places.

 

CB hears arguments for expansion

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – The conversation continues in Crested Butte about ski terrain expansion. The ski area operator wants to expand onto an adjoining mountain called Snodgrass, arguing that it needs more intermediate-level terrain to sustain the interests of destination skiers.

The ski area recently made its case before 250 people, reports the Crested Butte News. Most of the information was recycled from the past six years, illustrating just how long some of these dialogues can last. The expansion has been proposed off-and-on since the early 1980s.

Ken Stone, formerly of Telluride and now the vice president and chief marketing officer for Crested Butte Mountain Resort, said visitors to Crested Butte stay more briefly, spend less money, and return less often.

“We’ve been the discount leaders in the destination resort service,” he said. “We’re not getting the visitors we as a community need to survive.”

While about 80 per cent of visitors to Vail- and Aspen-area resorts return, at Crested Butte it’s 54 per cent, resort officials said. That makes marketing more expensive and the profit margin thinner.