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Developers propose fly-in, fly-out homes

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Forget about ski-in, ski-out access. For some people, what matters is fly-in, fly-out access.

That’s the premise of two developers, Randall Reed and Richard Friedman, who are proposing to buy the airport at Steamboat Springs. This airport, located on a mesa near the town, was once used heavily by planes for shuttles to and from Denver. Now, however, most airline passengers arrive at the Yampa Valley Airport, located 25 miles to the west. City officials have been questioning what to do with the airport, as the expense of maintenance is considerable.

These developers, The Steamboat Pilot reports, envision a 10-storey condominium complex and also 80 new homes. Homeowners would have plane hangars in their backyards, similar to the car garages of old. "You drive up to your house, and you wouldn’t even know there is a hangar in the backyard," said Friedman. He estimates the total cost of the project at $200 million.

The Pilot reports that Friedman spent four years developing a similar fly-in community in Daytona Beach, Fla. With 550 taxiway accessible homes, it is the largest such fly-in community in the United States.

The developers are proposing to buy the property for $3.5 million, retrofit the terminal, and absorb the city’s loans to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Rope tows available for installation in backyards

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Last year Ken Wittels, a ski instructor at Squaw Valley, purchased a $950 rope tow and installed it on the 300-foot slope behind his house in Tahoe City.

"It’s not for the mainstream public, but I’d recommend it if you have mechanical background and don’t mind tinkering with it," Wittels tells the Vail Daily. "It’s more of a novelty, but it’s always been my dream to have my own ski slope."

The Vail Daily says the ski tow is manufactured by Motorsport Engineering, a firm based in Toronto, Ontario. A five-horsepower gas engine, which is a little bigger than the engine used by a lawn mower, powers the tow. The engine is screwed into frozen ground at the top of the slope. At the bottom of the slope, another brace is anchored into the ground. The tow can be assembled within 15 minutes. Skiers or snowboarders can be towed uphill at a speed of 11 to 18 mph.

Mag chloride used, but options would be nice

OURAY, Colo. — Magnesium chloride, in addition to being spread to melt snow, is also used to suppress dust on unpaved roads and streets. Ouray, on the edge of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, remains the rare mountain town without curb-to-curb pavement and hence a dust problem.

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