Ski town roundup: Vail fireworks, Truckee bears, the road to Sochi & Lindsey Vonn
November 13, 2013
Vail Resorts CEO: lawsuit fireworks might not be done
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, during an overview of the Colorado firm in Park City last week, said Vail Resorts coveted the Park City market for years.
He also indicated that more dramatic moments are on the horizon in reference to a lawsuit involving the Colorado firm, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC and Park City Mountain Resort.
Katz spoke about the case in broad terms during his remarks to an invitation-only crowd. The event was both a meet-and-greet with a roster of Vail Resorts executives and a celebration marking the first local distribution of grant monies through the firm's Echo program.
Katz acknowledged that the publicity the case has received could be unsettling. He said, though, Vail Resorts is not attempting to disrupt business or the upcoming ski season. PCMR has been worried about that possibility. The comment appeared to stem from a recent move by the Vail Resorts side to evict PCMR.
"In any dispute, there's going to be some, some fireworks, potentially, and I would say I'm not sure that they're done. You know I'd love to say . . . they're done, but the way, you know, litigation works these days it's hard to, hard to kind of commit to that," Katz said.
He did not provide details about what sorts of moves might be upcoming in the case. The PCMR side recently expanded the lawsuit to include more points and additional defendants, including one under the Vail Resorts umbrella.
The case centers on PCMR's lease of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC acreage that encompasses much of the resort's terrain. The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side claims PCMR did not renew the lease, prompting the resort to file the lawsuit in 3rd District Court. Vail Resorts is overseeing the case as a part of its long-term deal with Talisker Land Holdings, LLC to operate Canyons Resort. The deal could be expanded to include the PCMR terrain depending on the results of the lawsuit.
Katz spoke about the possibilities on the PCMR terrain as the firm reached the agreement to operate Canyons Resort and assume responsibility for the lawsuit earlier in 2013. Katz said the case is unfolding as Vail Resorts anticipated.
Katz spoke about the idea of someday linking PCMR and Canyons Resort, something that has been broached before with little apparent progress. He said there is a "one-of-a-kind special situation" that could offer the opportunity for a link.
For more on this story, visit parkrecord.com
Grants could expand Gunnison air, bus service
Two significant grants that were awarded recently to the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority could result in expanded bus and air service in the county next summer. A new bus route that includes stops in Crested Butte South is likely, as is a direct summer flight from Houston to the Gunnison airport, RTA Executive Director Scott Truex told the RTA board a week ago that the money expanding new air service was granted from the federal Department of Transportation but because of the government shutdown, a contract had not yet been received. He said he and RTA air consultant Kent Myers were beginning to "work on a program we hope will be successful next summer."
"United has been alerted that we want to begin discussions about this new summer flight out of Houston," added Myers. "There are a lot of moving parts with this right now."
Under the grant, the feds have awarded $350,000 over two years. The RTA is obligated to match that $175,000 per-year cost. Truex and Myers are working to set up a plan with United Airlines that provides the lowest possible risk scenario.
The RTA board is continuing to discuss the idea of "buying down" some air tickets that originate from the Gunnison-Crested Butte airport. One suggestion is to allocate $50,000 toward $100 discounts that would reduce the price of a ticket out of GUC.
CBMR general manager Ethan Mueller said his company was looking at trying to shore up the Gunnison air service. "The Denver numbers are lagging for the upcoming winter compared to the Houston and Dallas flights," he said. "It's only October but you are only as good as your weakest link. We are looking at supporting Denver with a 'buy-down' and think the RTA should consider it as well."
For more on this story, visit http://www.crestedbuttenews.com
Bears still lurk around Truckee
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Police officers were forced to break a car window to free a black bear that had trapped itself inside it Sunday night.
According to a statement from the Truckee Police Department, the male bear locked itself inside an SUV in a residential neighborhood and caused significant damage to the interior. The car's owner could not be located, so officers broke a window to release the bruin.
It was the third similar incident in the last two weeks in Truckee, officers said. A bear got stuck in a car in Prosser Lakeview the night of Oct. 8, and was let out by the car's owner.
Also, in the early morning hours of Sept. 30, a bear got stuck in a car on Alder Drive near Alder Creek Middle School, and the animal broke a window to escape.
"There was major damage to all three of these vehicles," officers said. "Imagine what a stressed, angry bear could do stuck in your car."
Residents are encouraged to roll up car windows and lock doors as bears are smart enough to open unlocked car doors.
For more, visit http://www.tahoedailytribune.com
Road to Sochi to head to Utah for holiday season
The U.S. Olympic Committee will spend almost a week in Utah as part of a 13-city national tour to build interest in American athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be part of a USOC entourage that will come to Park City on Dec. 28-29 for team trials for two U.S. teams — Nordic combined and ski jumping.
"These events are true celebrations of Olympic and Paralympic sport, of Team USA's inspiring athletes and of the spirit of the Winter Games," said USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird, adding Olympians and Paralympians will sign autographs.
Interactive displays will let visitors get a hands-on feel for the various sports of the Winter Games, from biathlon to bobsled, freestyle aerials to figure skating.
The "Road to Sochi" tour begins Oct. 29, 100 days before the Olympics begin, with a celebration in Times Square in New York City. From there, it goes to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., Fargo, N.D., and Dallas before spending the holidays in Utah.
Other stops will be in Boston, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Vail, Colo., and Chicago before the tour ends Feb. 23 at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, in conjunction with the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics.
For more on this story, visit http://www.sltrib.com
Vonn arrives in Austria with eyes on World Cup return
Lindsey Vonn is training in Europe as she prepares for a possible return from right knee surgery by competing at next week's World Cup opener.
U.S. Ski Team women's head coach Alex Hoedlmoser tells The Associated Press that Vonn was set to arrive in Austria on Monday and planned to train on snow beginning Tuesday.
The opening race of the season is the giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26.
Hoedlmoser says: "If she feels like she can podium then she's probably going to (race)."
However, the coach adds that it's "totally a day-by-day decision."
Vonn shredded her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in a crash at the world championships in Schladming, Austria, last February. She started snow training again in Chile at the start of September.
— The Associated Press
New standards set for measuring ski run lengths in Europe
The FIANET (International Federation of Lift Operators) have called for a new standard for measuring the length of ski runs following a report from a German cartographer who claimed a number of ski resorts have exaggerated their total cumulated length.
Ski resorts have been asked to measure the length of pistes again to qualify for a FIANET-certified stamp of approval.
This time ski resorts can use readily available GPS trackers to measure the direct route on the middle of the piste, just like the International Ski Federation does with competition runs.
Expect to see some revised and certified figures soon for the length of pistes across ski resorts in the Alps.
Elk reduction program begins in Jackson
A scaled-back elk hunt with a number of new regulations began this weekend in Grand Teton National Park.
Hunters who drew a tag for elk hunt areas 75 and 79, both located east of the Snake River in Teton park, will no longer be allowed to used lead ammunition. Hunters can carry no more than seven bullets, and they will no longer be allowed to hunt the Snake River bottoms south of Deadman's Bar.
And when a group of elk starts running, hunters are prohibited from firing more than once.
The changes were made following an incident last Thanksgiving that left a male grizzly bear shot dead.
Grand Teton's hunt, called an elk reduction program, has also been cut back to no more than 650 hunters.
Last year, 725 permits were authorized, which was a step down from the 750 issued the year before. With those tags, about 200 elk were killed last fall. Around 275 were killed in 2011.
The figures are low compared to the 1990s, when an average of 1,000 elk were taken each year.
— For more on this story, visit http://www.jhnewsandguide.com
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