DENVER, Colo. As they always have, Baby Boomers continue to guide the ski industry. Now that their knees are getting more creaky, ski areas are spending steadily more time grooming slopes.
The Associated Press finds that every destination ski resort from Vail to Whistler to Mammoth is spending more money to make skiing less daunting to older skiers. "Every destination resort that attracts Baby Boomers is either expanding grooming or contemplating doing it," said Bill Jensen, chief operating officer at Vail.
Vail, which years ago began investing more money in snow groomers, is beveling 1,600 acres of its 4,000 acres of terrain this season. Almost a third of its 29 snow groomers have been replaced at Vail, at a cost of up to $235,000 each. Sun Valley also has 10 new machines to create what is sometimes called "ego snow."
Numbers explain the shift. The percentage of skiers aged 45 or older was 31 per cent last year, up from 21 per cent only seven years before.
While the evolution of shaped skis has made turning easier than ever before, any ski turns more readily on groomed surfaces, Jensen explains.
Big boxes mean big revenue
FRISCO, Colo. Two years ago, former Summit County commissioner Gary Lindstrom suggested that the individual towns of Summit County be disincorporated and folded into a city and county of Summit.
Summit County has six towns, and Lindstrom saw overlap among them. But he, and many others, have also observed a disquieting competition for sales tax dollars, with towns working against one another to land the big-box retailers that by the square foot are the largest generator of taxes.
Provisions of the Colorado Constitution make sales tax, not property taxes, the primary way that city governments get funded.
Lindstroms idea was discussed, but didnt go very far. But the issue is still at hand. Frisco has a 9.4-acre parcel, and it wants to let The Home Depot build a store there. Frisco isnt hurting for revenue at the moment, but still would like the tax money to help build a campus for a community college.
One idea discussed at a recent forum, reports the Summit Daily News, is regional tax sharing. A similar idea is being talked about west along the I-70 corridor in the towns of Eagle and Gypsum.
Frisco voters are scheduled to decide the fate of The Home Depot project in December. Unlike Wal-Mart, which insisted upon peddling groceries, town officials say The Home Depot has been willing to develop in conformance with town guidelines.
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