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Buy my house, I’ll buy yours, says developer

Compiled by Allen Best

CARBONDALE, Colo. — Wintergreen Homes has a different sort of marketing approach. Buy one of our houses, says the developer, and we’ll buy yours.

Art Kleinstein, the Avon-based firm’s managing partner, says he has used that marketing pitch successfully both at Steamboat Springs and Avon. Now, he’s using it again at Cerise Ranch, a 68-lot subdivision down-stream from Aspen.

It’s designed to appeal to somebody wanting a newer house and a larger lot, but who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of selling an existing house. Kleinstein told The Aspen Times he’d rather discount the price of a $400,000 house that he acquires than a $600,000 home he’s now trying to sell. Just the same, he doesn’t want his offer to be too successful. "I don’t need 50 of them. I just need a few of them," he said.

Film chronicles small ski area from 1930s

BUTTE, Mont. — In the 1930s, about the time Sun Valley was getting underway as the first destination ski resort in the West, the land was populated by dozens of small ski areas, among them a place at Butte called the Beef Trail.

Although the miners and other residents there had little money, they built ski runs, jumps and rope tows, even erecting lights for night skiing. That ski area, now long gone, is the topic of a documentary film recently broadcast in Montana. "The Beef Trail was a physical place all right, but it was really a spiritual place for people to get together," filmmaker Terry Lonner told the Bozeman Chronicle. "They built quite a little hill. And it was a little hill, but it had a big heart."

Forum suggests a freeze on up-zonings

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — In the Vail area, as elsewhere, there has been talk for seemingly decades about "carrying capacity" and "sustainability," more commonly lumped in that 1970s phrase "limits to growth." Latest fountain for this talk has been a 10-week forum called "Shaping the Future."

The forum, which was organized by an activist county commissioner, Arn Menconi, issued a 13-page report that strives to recognize the links between the environment, community, and economy. The plan, reports the Vail Daily, envisions a more active hand of government in managing growth, a foreign notion to most governments in Eagle County. Among the radical notions is a proposal to consider a freeze on up-zoning. Under current zoning, the county’s population, now at 46,000, is projected to reach 90,000.

Hospital helps prime the pump of business

JACKSON, Wyo. — In Jackson Hole, even the hospital considers itself a tourist business. The more tourists, the more hospital patients, reasons chief executive Ron Ommen of St. John’s Medical Center.

The reasoning came to light after the Jackson Hole News & Guide began questioning why the hospital was spending $30,000 to help subsidize airline seats into Jackson Hole. At first, it was justified as an employee benefit, one needed to recruit and retain hospital staff members, local doctors, and others of the medical profession. For the donation, they also get a 30 per cent discount on ski lift tickets at one of the local ski areas, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Sexism overcome on way to ski hall of fame

SQUAW VALEY, Calif. — Jerry Nunn had to surmount sexism in both the ski industry and the U.S. Forest Service to get where she is today, a recent inductee into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame.

Born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., she began skiing in the Sierra Nevada at age 14, and by age 18 she was assisting an emergency physician in the ski patrol room. It made sense that she would join the ski patrol, but she ran into problems in 1954 upon applying in Squaw Valley.

"It was very difficult for me to get on the ski patrol because the man who was in charge of the patrol at Squaw Valley felt that a woman should be barefoot, pregnant, and locked in the kitchen," Nunn told the Sierra Sun.

Nunn got her job after demonstrating that she could control a toboggan solo. Soon after, she breached another threshold when, using her name "Jerry," she applied to become a snow ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.

An official in Utah, however, was going to have nothing of it when he encountered a woman behind the name. "Never, ever in the history of the Forest Service have we accepted a woman, and we won’t now." She said she’d get an attorney, and did – and got into the course, becoming the first woman Forest Service snow ranger. In that capacity she helped develop the first Avalauncher. After several design problems were ironed out, the gas powered gun successfully launches canisters of explosives to set off avalanches in hard-to-reach terrain.

Asked about her induction into the Hall of Fame, Nunn said it was "very exciting. I never thought it would happen to me. I’m a girl, and boys don’t like girls who step on what they think of as their rights."

Ski company countersues director of housekeeping

PARK CITY, Utah — Somebody’s lying here. Shortly after he was fired from his $60,000-a-year job as director of housekeeping at Park City Mountain Resort, Mario Escobar filed a lawsuit against the resort, alleging things that were illegal, unethical, or both.

For example, Escobar accused the company of knowingly recruiting undocumented immigrants so that it could pay lower wages. Also, he said the resort’s Hispanic employees were asked to clean the homes of senior managers, and that they were required to eat in a separate basement lunchroom, and that they did not receive the same privileges afforded non-Hispanic employees.

Wrong! says the resort in a countersuit. The legal counsel for the American Skiing Co., which owns the resort, told The Park Record that "for the most part the facts are different than he alleged, and in some cases they are the exact opposite." For example, Escobar had the employees cleaning his home, says the company. As for the separate lunchroom, there is a lunchroom that serves discounted meals, and it’s close to the headquarters of housekeepers, but it’s not a segregated lunchroom.

Thinned trees help heat & power community center

NEDERLAND, Colo. — At Nederland, located west of Boulder and a few miles from the Eldora Ski Resort, an attempt is being made to nail two birds with one stone. The forest there is ripe for fire, and so the U.S. Forest Service let a contract to have the forest thinned.

But what to do with all the wood?

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News reports that a small portion of the thinned forest is fed into a chip-fired steam-powered microturbine. When fully operational, the burner is expected to daily consume a ton of wood chips and generate 30 kilowatts of electricity. Meanwhile, steam from the boiler heats the 30,000-square-foot community center. Electricity and gas bills for the community center and adjacent buildings have been running around $50,000 annually.

Still, it’s just an experiment. The EPA wants to assess the emissions produced by the burner to see if air quality is substantially impaired by carbon monoxide, particulates, and nitrogen oxides, among other pollutants. "It looks to be burning clean, but we won’t know how clean until we run all the tests," said a project manager for the testing company.

Where can Muslims pray in resort town 7-Elevens?

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — A new religious tradition is entering Summit County, where about 120 natives of Mauritania, a county in West Africa, are now living. All are Muslim.

This influx is making for new understandings, explains the Summit Daily News. For example, during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Muslims are to fast during daylight hours. So, when a manager at a 7-Eleven in Silverthorne told Outmar Niang to take a 15-minute break and get something to eat, they didn’t quite understand when he desisted. Another problem for the mostly Muslim Africans in Summit County is finding places to pray six times a day, as their religion requires.

This year, a post-Ramadan potluck dinner was held in mid-November. A speaker from Denver, Mohamada A. Jodeh, spoke about the common nature of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The event was sponsored by an outreach program from a Lutheran church. The team has also sponsored picnics, furniture distribution, and English classes.

What real estate ads really are telling you

WINTER PARK, Colo. — Ever confused by what is meant by certain words in real estate advertisements? Penny Hamilton, a real estate agent in Colorado’s Grand County, came up with a tongue-in-cheek lexicon. Here are a few samples as printed in the Winter Park Manifest:

Amazingly convenient: The ski bus passengers probably look into your bathroom and bedroom windows every 10 minutes as the shuttle roars past your property.

Close to Night Life: The neighbors play loud music.

Completely Remodeled: If you think this is funky, you should have seen the orange shag carpet and macramé wall hangings before the remodel to rattan chairs and fluffy throw rugs.

Covered Parking: After each snowfall, your car is covered.

Gently Sloping Lot: Mountain goats call it home.

Incredible View: If you cock your head at just the right angle, you can almost make out the tip of a peak.

Mountain Chic: The same mountain cabin, but costs more, just as chocolate mousse costs more than chocolate pudding.

Quiet Location: At the end of the telephone and electric lines and snowplow route.

Realtor: A person who speaks only in adjectives.

Murie was crusader, but not rabble-rouser

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. —After the death of Mardy Murie at age 101 in her log cabin in Moose, inside Grand Teton National Park, the accolades tumbled in from across the West.

"She was a crusader, but not a rabble-rouser," columnist Bert Raynes of the Jackson Hole News & Guide recalled. "She appealed to the intellect instead of the emotion."

The Wilderness Society’s Bob Ekey told the same newspaper, "One thing that Mardy has taught the entire conservation community, or at least the wilderness community, is how to balance passion and grace."

She was best known for helping to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Drought revealed by level of Lake Tahoe

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe fell below its natural rim in the days before Thanksgiving, the most extended period for such a low level since 1995. This reflects a drought that continues, despite a wet summer and early snowstorms, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune. However, the lake is still more than two feet above its lowest recorded level, which occurred in November 1992.

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