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Vail hoping to steal market share

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VAIL, Colo. - Vail Resorts Inc. continues to calculate how it can steal market share from other resorts while building real estate at the base of Vail Mountain.

Ever Vail, this gleam in the company's eye, has already been in the planning for a decade. It would cover 12 acres, connect to the ski mountain via a new gondola, and has a price tag of $1 billion.

There would be 428 housing units, and in announcing revised plans, company officials emphasized that 60 per cent of buyers would likely be new to Vail. The company identifies the price range as $350,000 to $450,000, at the low end for slope-side housing units of 1,500 square feet in Vail.

"We're opening up the capacity for new people to come here," said Tom Miller, project manager for Ever Vail.

From the outset, Vail Resorts had described the project as one designed for new generations of buyers, Gen X and Gen Y.

"We believe we'll be one of, if not the only, resort community that's going to be able to market new product - that's going to pull people away from these other resort communities," said Kristin Kenney Williams, speaking at a recent meeting covered by the Vail Daily .

Plans also call for a 102-room hotel plus 15,564 square feet of retail, which is 30 per cent less than what was previously announced. Now, the company says it doesn't want to compete with existing business. It does, however, plan a 13,000 square-foot specialty grocery store plus 1,400 parking spaces.

Also in the works: an 80-foot indoor climbing wall.

 

Naturalists scoff at via ferrata

BANFF, Alberta - Earlier this year officials from Parks Canada announced they'd review a proposal to install a thrill ride called a via ferrata. The via ferrata would not be directly related to the natural landscape of Banff, but would draw additional visitors, supporters say.

A group called the Bow Valley Naturalists disagrees, insisting that Canadians want national parks as places "where the natural world may be experienced on its own terms: no gimmicks, no bells and whistles," in the words of Mike McIvor, in a letter excerpted in the Rocky Mountain Outlook .

Writing in the same publication, Jeff Gailus insists that "this push for more, more, more is being driven largely by the apparently shameless business lobby in Banff National Park, especially ski hills looking to enhance the summer use of facilities that Parks Canada policy already recognizes as less than appropriate ..."

"Reading between the lines, we can all see that the real impetus for via ferrata and other titillations is to make commercial operators in our national parks 'competitive' (and more profitable) with their counterparts outside the parks," he continues.

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