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Mountain News: Vail Resorts pleases investors, angers others

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The key to getting better-heeled visitors who return, they said, is more intermediate terrain.

Mountain planner Roark Kiklevich challenged audience members to spend four days skiing next winter — but within the bookends experienced by destination intermediate skiers. “You can’t ski in the extremes, and you can’t ski the trees,” he said.

He also urged his listeners to unbuckle their ski boots while on one expert run “so you can feel the true terror an intermediate skier feels going down.”

How about if Crested Butte positioned itself as a resort for extreme skiers, or perhaps boosts the skiing ability of intermediates? Stone said unless people are able to ski a difficult mountain consistently, it is very hard to progress past the intermediate level.

Opponents question whether the geology of the mountain will accommodate ski lifts. John Norton, who is a special consultant for Crested Butte, said a highly credentialed geologist had been hired to independently evaluate the risk. “If he had serious heartburn about this project as a scientist, we wouldn’t be here today,” Norton said.

The goal of the expansion, and an associated real estate project, is to get Crested Butte’s skiers days to 550,000 to 600,000 per season. It was hitting that stride a decade ago, but the numbers were padded by weeks of free skiing, a promotion now mostly ended. Now, it’s at 300,000 to 400,000.

Chuck Cligget, a resident of Crested Butte since 1968, said the community needs a viable economy. “I’m not telling anybody anything new when I say wages are low, cost of living is high,” he said. “I am absolutely totally against the (proposed molybdenum) mine, and I am absolutely, totally for the ski area expansion.”

 

City girl vows to return

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Melanie White, a reporter at the Jackson Hole News & Guide, is taking a leave of absence from the paper, and from Jackson Hole. But she will, she promises, be returning.

“Despite common whines about the cost of living, it’s an easy lifestyle, one full of cozy routines removed from city pressures,” she writes.