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"The merchandise business has not been extraordinarily brisk," he told the Idaho Mountain Express. "I cant speak for boutiques or the construction business, but some suppliers appear to be doing well. Basically, every new project has been related to residential development."
In Ketchum and Sun Valley, skier visits have remained flat for several decades at about 400,000. More of the skiers are locals, a trend observed at Aspen, Steamboat, and many other ski resorts of the West. And, beginning clearly since tax reform during the Reagan administration, fewer condos are put into rental pools as wealthy purchasers find that rental income is of no major importance. In Ketchum, the number of hotel rooms has actually declined by 40 per cent.
The city government in Ketchum, which sits at the base area of the Sun Valley ski area, has imposed a "de facto ban on new hotels, refused to build affordable housing, and fought practically every new idea thats come down the pike," laments the Idaho Mountain Express.
"New commercial spaces are not being filled by new tourist-related businesses, but by offices finance, real estate and such," continues the newspaper. "Compared to just a decade ago, downtown is empty and far too quiet after 4 p.m. Some areas are largely deserted except during July and August."
Yellowstone Club creator has plans
BOISE, Idaho Montanas Yellowstone Club was billed as the worlds first private ski and golf resort. To join the club, located near the Big Sky Resort, located between Bozeman and West Yellowstone in the scenic Gallatin River Valley, members must first prove a net worth of $3 million or more. The initiation fee is $250,000, and $16,000 in annual dues are assessed.
The man who created that club, Tim Blixseth, is now in the news in Idaho. He has purchased 180,000 acres of timberland from Boise Cascade. He intends to trade large chunks of that land to the Forest Service, giving the federal agency control over the wonderfully scenic Payette River Canyon between Boise and McCall. But he intends to continue logging other chunks of the property, which is located in the broad region around the Brundage and Tamarack ski areas.
The Idaho Statesman reports that some neighbours worry that Blixeth will log off the woods and develop the land into subdivisions. Land values in the region have doubled and even tripled in the last year. Furthermore, government review in unincorporated areas is negligible. Blixseth says he has no interest in selling the property, and probably will buy even more. "Development is a long way away," he told the Statesman.