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Mountain News: What’s the solution for ski industry?



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Ski areas officials tell the newspaper that in crafting this policy, they are seeking to strike a balance in reducing the risk to skiers while still providing mountain access to the uphillers.

The policy mirrors that of one recently adopted at Oregon's Mt. Bachelor, where a designated summit route was established. Use can be restricted because of grooming, avalanche control and other reasons.

"The amount of uphill traffic has grown rapidly in the last few years," said Alex Kaufman, a spokesman for Mt. Bachelor. "More uphillers equal more conflicts with downhill traffic that may not see or anticipate them. Also, there were conflicts and safety concerns with winch-cat grooming and avalanche-control operations."

The newspaper interviewed Tim Thomas, from a shop in Whitefish that sells free-heeled ski gear. Sales, he said, have spiked in recent years.

"I think there is a large demographic that doesn't want to invest in a ski pass and who spends most of their time in the backcountry," he said. "But when they are short on time, skinning up Big Mountain is a very convenient thing to do. They have 2,500 vertical feet of skiing at their fingertips."

Uphillers interviewed by the newspaper were of mixed thoughts. "It would stink," said one skier. But another, Alyssa Jumars, saw the reason for restrictions. "On a day like Presidents' Day, when it was busy and foggy, skiing up maybe isn't the smartest thing to do," she said.


New strategy for branding

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - Police in Breckenridge have decided that no crime was committed when a college student from Texas Christian University submitted his bare butt to an impromptu branding iron during a trip of fraternity members.

The branding iron - really, just a hot clothes hangar - was used to create the Greek letters of the man's fraternity as well as a sorority. "All the evidence suggests that Amon Carter III was a willing participant and the branding was not part of any fraternity initiation, as he is already a full member," a press release stated.

The Summit Daily says that the man received second- and third-degree burns, and plastic surgery will be necessary to repair the damage.


FRISCO, Colo. - As real estate prices have dropped, the one-time frantic demand for affordable housing has receded but not entirely disappeared.

"It's not the frantic demand it was for anything within the attainable price range," said Jennifer Kermode, using the term that in Summit County is favored over "affordable." She directs the Summit Combined Housing Authority. Kermode said demand remains high for people who have incomes at 100 per cent of the area median income. In Summit County, that's $85,100 for a family of four.