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Winter Park businesses still want gondola link

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Compiled by Allen Best

WINTER PARK, Colo. – At Winter Park there has been talk of a gondola for at least 20 years. The base of the ski area is about two miles away from the core of the town, and the town merchants believe – with a great deal of proof – that they’re missing out. They want a connecting gondola to, in effect, put them at the base of the slopes.

With deep-pockets Intrawest now running the ski area, there was some hope that the $20 million gondola would finally be built. But Intrawest remains non-committal, and in fact there is evidence to suggest that Intrawest has no plans to build a gondola, at least not in the next few years. And that, reports the Winter Park Manifest, has a large number of business owners and the town council concerned if not annoyed. Some are even willing to talk about helping build a gondola.

Does Intrawest have any motivation to do so? On the face of things, it would seem not. The company is readying plans to begin a major real estate project at the base. Why share with the down-valley businesses?

The Manifest pointed to a recent article in Ski Area Management, on that very subject of linking ski areas and ski towns. That article posed the question of whether the "villages" that Intrawest has been cranking out like cookies need connect to local populations if they are to work.

Bear-bells on front-doors?

ASPEN, Colo. — How bad is the bear situation in Aspen and surrounding Pitkin County? Bad enough, says state wildlife officer Kevin Wright, that "if you leave your windows or doors open, the chances of a bear entering are high."

The bruins are a savvy lot, he told The Aspen Times. One bear known as Fat Albert poked his head into a house recently while a family was eating lunch. That scared him away, but only to an adjacent house that was vacant.

Even leaving candy wrappers inside vehicles is discouraged. As well, the various governments in the area all have bear-friendly regulations that require homeowners to use bear-proof garbage containers and prohibit them from providing access to food sources, like dog food and grills.

Wright, who killed four bears last year, has two ideas, says The Times. First, people could attach bells to their screens, so they won’t be surprised when a bear ambles into the house. The Times didn’t say whether he was smiling when he said that.

Another trick is to partially fill a balloon with ammonia, blow into it and tie it. Hang the balloon in an area where the bear enters and place a yummy scent on the outside of the balloon. The curious bruin will bite or claw it and the nasty ammonia will scare it away. That trick doesn’t work every time, but the success rate has been high, Wright said.

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