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Wind power purchase lifts price of Vail stock



DENVER, Colo. — Vail Resorts’ announcement last week that it is following in the footsteps of Aspen Skiing and going 100 per cent wind for its electrical energy needs at its five ski areas, 10 hotels, and 125 retail stores attracted broad attention.

The story ran on the front page in Denver’s two biggest newspapers, but even got prominent play in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The company’s chief executive officer, Rob Katz, said the wind power purchase was motivated fundamentally by the desire for the company to get closer to its customers. What does that mean? It included, he said, broad concerns about the potential impacts of global warming.

While Vail Resorts representatives said they would be paying an undisclosed additional cost in making the commitment to wind, they also told Mountain Town News they believed it would be good for the bottom line. Stockholders seem to agree. The Rocky Mountain News notes that the stock price for the company went up $1.

The Summit Daily News interpreted Vail’s announcement as a challenge – and a welcome one. The newspaper said the wind-power decision means "good environmental stewardship will become an expectation for all high country businesses, if it’s not already. Simply put, if Vail can do it, so can we."

The newspaper suggested that Intrawest – another major ski company and real estate developer – will surely follow the example set by Aspen and Vail.

Denver eyes 2018 Olympic bid

DENVER, Colo. — Denver has taken the first step toward becoming a candidate to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Rocky Mountain News reports that Reno/Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake City, and Lake Placid have also expressed interest in the 2018 event.

Denver has been named a "community partner city," which the newspaper says is a critical step in the city becoming an Olympic candidate. Denver must explain how it has changed since the city in 1972 withdrew its sponsorship of the 1976 Olympics. Colorado voters had chosen to withdraw taxpayer funding because of concerns about poor administration and lack of accountability in that effort, plus more over-arching concerns about runaway development.

It’s not clear which resort or resorts might be included in Denver’s bid.

The pain of flying commercial

ASPEN, Colo. — Earlier this year, Aspen released its study that attempts to document the greenhouse gas emissions caused by residents of the town and its visitors. Those impacts are huge, about double those per capita of U.S. residents. And a good part of the story – although certainly not all – is the jet travel that requires enormous amounts of fossil fuels.