VAIL - The passing of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 opened the door for Vail Resorts to apply for expanded summer activities at Vail Mountain this spring. If the proposal is approved, work could begin on additions as early as July.
The application, submitted to the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District of the White River National Forest April 3, proposes to add summer tubing, "aerial challenge courses," zip lines and adventure courses, small climbing boulders, an upgraded climbing wall and other work on trails, buildings and roads in and around Adventure Ridge.
"This is the first of what we are sure will be many of these types of proposals," said Don Dressler, winter sports administrator for the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District. "Vail Resorts, as a company, has worked closely with (Forest Supervisor) Scott Fitzwilliams to make sure we're coming up with a comprehensive approach for the forest."
Vail Mountain's 2007 Master Development Plan anticipated future summer expansion, but it was last year's amendment to the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 that made that expansion possible.
The 1986 Act only mentions Nordic and alpine skiing - snowboarding and mountain biking, for example, weren't included, among other sports and activities.
"It had some generic language that has been interpreted in many different ways all over the country," Dressler said. "Having an updated Act allows us to focus on four-season use."
President Obama signed the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 on Nov. 7, permitting year-round recreation opportunities at ski areas on U.S. Forest Service lands, including everything from zip lines to mountain bike terrain parks and trails to ropes courses.
Vail Mountain spokeswoman Liz Biebl said the current proposal is meant to enhance the offerings specifically at Adventure Ridge.
"None of the proposed activities or enhancements at Adventure Ridge are anticipated to impact winter operations on Vail Mountain," Biebl said. "The enhancements will significantly improve the guest experience in the summertime, provide more jobs and strengthen summer business in Vail."
- Lauren Glendenning/Vail Daily
EAGLE - A former Basalt teacher turned herself in to the Eagle County Sheriff's Office on Friday morning and was arrested for suspicion of violation of bond conditions, authorities said.
Lauren K. Redfern, 26, of El Jebel, posted $10,000 bond and was released about noon Friday from Eagle County Jail. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office sought the arrest warrant Wednesday after Redfern received a ticket earlier in the week from the National Park Service at Lake Powell, according to court documents.
An affidavit by Eagle County Detective Brian Hollenbaugh in support of the arrest warrant said he was contacted by park service officer Kelly Brownson, of Bullfrog, Utah, on Tuesday regarding an incident involving Redfern.
Brownson said he and other officers were called to the Knowles Canyon area of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area at 10:40 a.m. June 10 on a report of people in a group "shooting guns, playing loud music, consuming alcohol and harassing neighboring campers," the affidavit said.
Brownson made contact with the suspected group and identified one member of the party as Redfern, according to the affidavit.
"Brownson stated that Redfern admitted to handling and shooting a shotgun, ingesting illegal mushrooms and consuming alcohol while at Lake Powell during (June 10)," Hollenbaugh wrote. "He said that Redfern admitted that during the course of his contact with her, she was under the influence of alcohol."
The park service officers said they received consent to search the campsite where Redfern and her group were allegedly staying and found 28 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms, a 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition "and numerous cans of beer and alcoholic beverage bottles."
Brownson told the Eagle County detective that he cited Redfern with the federal charge of prohibited use of a weapon and released her. It wasn't immediately clear Friday whether other members of Redfern's party were cited.
- Scott Condon/The Aspen Times
ASPEN - Pitkin County is the healthiest county in Colorado, according to research compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Every year more than 3,000 counties across the country are studied to determine the healthiest ones. The rankings take into account such factors as healthy births, premature death (before reaching age 75) and quality of life, including overall physical and mental health.
Rankings show that the healthiest counties are also the ones that have fewer teen births, smokers and kids living in poverty. Other factors include less unemployment and violent crime, coupled with a highly educated populace that has better access to primary health-care services.
In Colorado, Pitkin County ranked as healthiest, followed by Douglas County, located between Colorado Springs and Denver. Eagle County ranked third, with Boulder and Summit counties rounding out the top five.
Dunlop, who served as county director of environmental health for 25 years before his retirement in 2001, credits business and political leaders in the county, as well as its residents, for being forward-thinking when it comes to overall health. Programs such as annual health fairs, local physical and mental health services for the indigent, and other health and human services also contribute to the county's high ranking, he said.
Go to www.countyhealthrankings.org to view the rankings.
SNOWMASS VILLAGE - The maker of Fat Tire beer is gearing up to launch a restaurant and bar in Snowmass Village.
Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing plans to open its Ranger Station as a slopeside bar and eatery at the Wildwood Snowmass hotel for the upcoming ski season.
"This project is a great opportunity to bring something new to an already vibrant Snowmass scene," said New Belgium branding director Josh Holmstrom in a prepared statement. "As a Colorado brewer with deep Colorado roots, you want to contribute to the lifestyle and cultural experiences that make our state a world-class destination. Snowmass epitomizes that in the very best of ways."
"The New Belgium Ranger Station will offer Colorado craft beers and seasonal varietals in a casual, apres-ski environment," the news release says. Additionally, 10 New Belgium beers will be available on tap.
The New Belgium Ranger Station will be operated by Patches O'Houllihan Inc. The bar and restaurant will serve a lunch and dinner menu developed by the Westin Snowmass Resort and new Snowmass Kitchen chef de cuisine Jami Flatt.
"We expect beer patrons to travel far and wide for the Ranger Station and Wildwood bar experience," said John Curnow, general manager of the Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass.
Starwood Resorts will operate the renovated Wildwood Snowmass hotel bar, which will cater to hotel guests and locals, according to the news release.
- The Aspen Times staff report