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Mountain News

Ice skaters denied access into the U.S.


Compiled by Allen Best

KETCHUM, Idaho — Enough is enough, says the Idaho Mountain Express, after Olympic gold-medal ice skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were denied admission into the United States. The pair were travelling from British Columbia to perform at the Sun Valley Resort.

The U.S. immigration official at the border said the pair lacked proper work papers and hence could not continue travelling to perform at Sun Valley. The INS "surely knew the celebrated skaters were regulars on the U.S. ice show circuit and could have used discretion in allowing them to continue to Sun Valley to perform while paper shufflers figured out the error," said the paper.

Banff, Canmore up the ante

CANMORE, Alberta — Hotels and other service-oriented businesses in the Banff-Canmore area are upping the ante in an effort to retain employees.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook points to Canmore’s Drake Inn, which this year purchased a house to accommodate employees. As well, employees are regularly given tickets to see the Calgary Flames. Another upscale hotel, the Rimrock, also offers reduced-rate ski packages as well as day-long hikes and tours as a way of drawing workers into the valley’s lifestyle. This is in contrast with the former policy, which was to require employees to relinquish half of their tips until the end of their six-month term. But that strategy failed to hold employees.

Meanwhile, Caribou Properties, which owns a number of hotels, restaurants, and commercial buildings in Banff, believes that making new employees feel like they are part of something bigger is the real secret to retaining employees. "As a company we try to explain to our employees that they can build a career here and do quite well," said Justin Burwach, director of finance for Caribou. "We focus on things that make Banff a community."

Caribou renovated a 20-unit condo complex, offering to sell the condos to employees, matching whatever down-payment the buyer could make. Three employees took advantage of the offer.

"If they put down $20,000 we would match that, and they wouldn't have to repay anything for 10 years," says Burwash. "The idea was that after 10 years there would be enough equity built up that they could just go back to the bank and pay it back."

Bush attittudes

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Like most ski towns, Crested Butte is decidedly liberal in its politics. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are names all heavy with pejorative connotations. Just the same, a local resident says the towns people, with displays of "prejudice, intolerance, superiority and hypocrisy," aren’t doing much better.

"I was reminded of hypocrisy the other night at a gathering of friends," wrote Caith Norton in a letter published in the Crested Butte News. "At one point a person explicated on how anorexic looking an acquaintance was, while not 5 minutes later another person exclaimed how horrified they were by a friend’s weight gain, commenting that ‘her arms flap while she points at something.’"