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Mountain News:

Ordinary faces featured in photo exhibit



JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Photographers have always flocked to Jackson Hole. And why not? The Teton Range is to landscape photography what Paris Hilton is to prurient, lascivious oogling.

But a new photo exhibit now making the rounds in Jackson Hole strays far from the usual meanders of the Snake River. Documentary-style black-and-white portraits of employees who own "affordable housing" were made. The point, explained Ed Riddel, who is on the marketing committee for the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust, is to "communicate the really diverse cross-section of professions represented by the Housing Trust. You see teachers, physical therapists, flyfishing guides."

The photos will be exhibited at a gallery, library, and brewery as the year progresses, notes the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Front Range season pass sales up

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Sales of season passes for next winter at Colorado’s Front Range resorts are reportedly brisk.

Vail Resorts, which has four ski resorts within easy driving distance of Denver, reports sales have increased 35 per cent as compared to last winter. Intrawest did not divulge numbers, but reported increased sales of season passes for its two resorts, says the Summit Daily News. Passes for next year are running $309 to $349, although passes offering more than 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek are markedly higher.

Second homes studied

DURANGO, Colo. — The council of government in the Durango-Pagosa Springs-Cortez area is launching a study of the economic impact of second homes, similar to what was done in the ski counties along the I-70 corridor.

Planners first want to determine how many properties fall into this category. Anecdotally, the answer is many – and growing rapidly. For example, the energy boom in Texas and Oklahoma is producing more money for vacation homes. As is the area around Pagosa Springs, called Archuleta County. It has been one of the faster growing places in the nation during recent years, precisely because of this boom in vacation and retirement homes.

Sources tell The Durango Telegraph that vacation homes, while they seem to be driving up real estate prices in the Durango area, are not the same tsunami as is found in Telluride. Telluride housing costs range from $600 to $1,200 per square foot; in Durango the high end amounts to $300 to $400 per square foot.

But aren’t all second homes massive mansions? Not necessarily, says Bobby Leib, director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. "People see larger, single-family houses and assume they’re second homes. But it’s not always the case."

Meanwhile, the profusion of retirement, second homes, and lifestyle-driven relocations is remaking Main Street in Durango. There are probably fewer T-shirt shops, but definitely more art galleries, notes the Telegraph. "Tourism still creates the vast majority of jobs in our community. But second-home owners really have a much bigger impact on our local economy than people think," said Leib.