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Battle in the High Sierras

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Vail also had a record in July, nearly $1.5 million. It also set a record in December, $3 million.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Mt. Crested Butte's town manager, attributed the strong uptick to a new zip line on the lower slopes of the ski area, more weddings and increased mountain biking opportunity. Plus, he said, people in Colorado travelled in Colorado.

In Vail, there were specific reasons, too. But Ralf Garrison, a long-standing expert in tourism economics, cautioned against crediting any one thing. "Some are flying above the economic storm and are not impacted, and others, who are tangled up in a depressed market, are feeling sorry for themselves, and they want to go to their happy places," he told the Vail Daily.

However, Garrison warned against too-lofty expectations. Winter reservations look good, but "it really is an uncertain economic time," he told the Vail Daily .

That cautious view seems to be shared in Steamboat Springs. Deb Hinsvark, the finance director, told the Steamboat Pilot that the city assumes no economic progress during the next five years, and maybe deterioration.

 

Real estate market slows

VAIL, Colo. - The real estate market has slowed from last year in Vail and the Eagle Valley, according to new sales figures through August.

A report from Land Title shows sales, as measured by total dollar volume, at 80 per cent of last year. The firm's Trevor Theelke says total sales for the year should still top $1 billion. But this compares with nearly $1.5 billion for Eagle County last year and $2.2 billion in 2008. But there is still some loose change at the very high end, as the $7.1 million sale of a unit in a condominium project in Vail demonstrated.

 

Uranium mill blocked

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Elected officials in Telluride are trying to block licensing of a uranium-processing mill about 80 kilometres west, in the sandstone country near the Utah border. The town council has retained the legal services of a national public interest law firm, Public Justice.

Through the firm, reports The Telluride Watch , the local government will argue that the proposed Pinion Ridge Uranium Mill poses a threat of significant environmental and socioeconomic damage to Telluride and the surrounding region, including the toxic and radioactive contamination of the region's air and water.

 

Can ski areas survive sans commercial jets?