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Telluride hopes to get more of LA on slopes

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Compiled by Allen Best

TELLURIDE, Colo. — The avowed goal in the offices at Telluride Ski & Golf this winter is to hit 400,000 skier days, or 20,000 more than the resort’s previous high. And the company’s chief executive offer, Ray Jacobi, is guaranteeing snow by Thanksgiving.

Whether Jacobi can order snow like you would a meal from room service remains to be determined. What is clear is that the ski company, under new ownership of the California-based Horning family, is tracking a somewhat different course than was the case previously. Among the new initiatives is a binge of magazine advertising that promotes Telluride as "Fantasy Mountain," or about as perfect a ski town and mountain as can exist.

Telluride is also hoping that it can better exploit the Los Angeles market. In the past, Southern California has accounted for 5.6 per cent of Telluride’s skier days. But new direct flights from LAX may push that percentage higher.

Early season indicators look good, reports The Telluride Watch. Season pass sales are up 5 per cent, and group sales are also strong.

Glaciers becoming battle ground

TYROL, Austria — Climate change is pushing ski areas into hitherto pristine glaciers in the Alps, provoking protests from environmental advocates. The disagreement, reports Nature magazine, has been sparked by a proposal to open the second largest glacier in the eastern Alps – the Gepatsch glacier in Tyrol, Austria – to skiers.

Snow lines are rising in the Alps, with some small ski resorts having snow for very short times during winter. In response, many ski resorts hope to expand onto glaciers at higher elevations. Environmentalists respond that ski areas produce harmful waste, grease, lubricant oils and salts. If the proposal for Gepatsch goes through, they say, the door will open for similar projects in other parts of the Alps. They want the resort companies to restrict their activities to lower-elevation areas, thereby producing less effect on high-elevation wilderness areas.

A study released by the United Nations last winter projected that within a few decades, the warming climate that is causing snow lines to rise will cost the Swiss tourism industry $1.6 billion US per year. Leisure companies such as Compagnie des Alpes, the French market leader that Intrawest has an interest in, are now focusing investments on high Alpine areas.

Columnist decries ‘creeping elitism’

ASPEN, Colo. — A columnist in The Aspen Times, Michael Cleverly, who seems to have several decades of residency in the town, has some prickly things to say about what he charges is "creeping elitism in a Dorian Gray town."

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