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Mountain News

Christmas week busy and lucrative for ski resorts



FRISCO, Colo. - The chatter out of ski towns over Christmas week sounded familiar. They were busy, and people were spending money.


"I've doubled my best (sales) in all of the years we've been in business," shop owner Heather Ireland told the Summit Daily News , who has been in Frisco since 1986.


In Vail, with several billions in hotel and condominium construction finally completed, the town fairly sparkled with the new hum of prosperity. Meanwhile, the real estate market has been picking up. Local agents report that six properties priced at more than $4 million each sold in Eagle County during November. In one of Vail's new condominium projects, there have been 16 sales averaging $7.4 million each, the Vail Daily reported.


And in Utah, The Park Record reports a resurgence of eateries. "Eating out was considered discretionary spending the last two winters, but affordable restaurant meals are all the rage this season," the newspaper noted. "Several new restaurants already opened in time for ski season, and several more are planning to open during the first months of 2011," stated the paper.


Shrinking carbon waistline is tough

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. - Like so many towns and cities, Crested Butte and adjoining towns in 2006 set out to shrink the carbon intensity of their lifestyles and economy. The goals were lofty; the successes, so far, slim.


The goal of the plan - which includes the municipalities of Crested Butte, Gunnison, and Mt. Crested Butte, plus broader Gunnison County - is to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020, as compared to the 2005 baseline.


Western State College business professor Roger Hudson analyzed the work and concluded that it was highly unlikely the goal can be met locally - or anywhere, for that matter, without accounting gimmickry.


The Crested Butte News reported some thin hope. One idea examined for several years would involve installation of a hydroelectric generating plant at an existing reservoir on the flanks of the Sawatch Ridge. There is talk of solar farming, as well.


But individuals from local governments and non-profit agencies consulted by the newspaper seemed to agree that decarbonizing the economy quickly would take lots of front-end money plus clear federal legislation. And neither seems to be on the horizon.


Ski patrollers outfitted with avalanche devices

JACKSON, Wyo. - After a ski patroller was killed and others trapped inside a lodge last winter, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort began giving patrollers a device called an ABS air bag.

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