Chinese interest in skiing explodes in last six years |

Chinese interest in skiing explodes in last six years

ALLEN BESTspecial to the daily

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Intrawest is looking to add up to five ski resorts in China to its portfolio by autumn in anticipation of the Chinese boom in skiing. China recorded only 200,000 skier days at the century’s turn, but last year that number had grown to nearly four million, 20-fold increase. The country’s’ first gold medal win in the Olympics, in men’s aerials, is also expected to boost interest in the resort.The Vancouver Sun reports that Intrawest has studied 35 ski resorts in China and concluded that the market in China is ripe for expansion. Graham Kwan, vice president of Intrawest China, told the newspaper that Intrawest has developed “extremely good” relations with local governments and businesses in the Chinese provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang. Altogether, China has 200 ski areas, although some are merely single lifts located on the side of a road, Kwan said. Because Chinese skiers are mostly beginners and intermediates, the ski areas lack difficult terrain. He said Intrawest hopes to manage day ski areas in China that are smaller than the ski areas it operates in North America.Composting neighbors tired of holding nosesSQUAMISH, B.C. – Whistler has a stated goal of achieving zero waste, meaning that everything is to be recycled in some way. To achieve that goal the town diverts much of its food waste to a composting facility located down-valley in the town of squeamish.But neighbors, although patient souls, are pinching their noses. Squamish is telling the operator, Owen Carney, to get it fixed or move along. He spent $7.5 million in the operation, then another $1 million in trying to contain the odors, but would have to spend $3.5 million to move the operation.Mayor Ian Sutherland tells Pique that townspeople support composing, but the problem must be solved or the facility moved. It takes food, biosolids, and wood waste, turning it into compost that can then be used on lawns and gardens.Whistler cracks down on over-stuffed housesWHISTLER, B.C. – As Whistler moves toward hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, fire officials will take an increasingly dim view of houses filled with more people than what the municipal code allows.The problem came to light in 2002, when a home was found to contain 80 bed spaces, including 24 in the attic. The code in Whistler allows a maximum of five bedrooms per house, and two beds per room. That’s 10 people max per house. Yet a simple Internet search reveals homes advertised as accommodating 12, 14, and 15 people. Pique newsmagazine said such abuses are pervasive in Whistler in both short-term and longer-term rental accommodations. “We’re on the world stage,” said Rob Whitton, assistant fire chief. “We can’t tolerate this stuff. If something happens in this town it will be worldwide news, and the municipality will not take responsibility for that.”Molybdenum mining plans heat up againCRESTED BUTTE – Decades-old plans for mining molybdenum near Crested Butte are heating up once again. Prodding the renewed interest is the increased price for molybdenum, the mineral used as an alloy in steel and other industrial purposes. Prices sank for much of the 1980s and 1990s, hitting $2 a pound in 2000. But last year prices soared to $40, although they have since settled to $25 a pound.Phelps-Dodge, the giant mining company, let its ownership of the property on Mt. Emmons lapse in 2001, allowing acquisition by U.S. Energy. U.S. Energy officials met with representatives from Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte in late February to announce their plans to proceed with mining operations.The extent of operations can only be guessed. The Crested Butte News reports that a former spokesperson for U.S. Energy had predicted a smaller mining operation than had been proposed in the 1970s. However, the Mt. Emmons ore deposit is believed to be one of the largest in the world.Mayors of both Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte told U.S. Energy that a mine would be unacceptable.Aspen now linked to Salt Lake City by airASPEN – The smaller, regional jets had been predicted to begin making their way into the resort markets of the West. It’s now happening. Delta is adding a daily non-stop flight between Telluride and Salt Lake City on a 70-seat twin-engine jet. The trip takes about an hour.Bill Tomcich, Aspen’s leading expert on airline issues, said the key benefit to local air travelers will be that it will add competition to a market long dominated by United Express. However, for travelers from the West, it will also cut about an hour of travel time by avoiding going through Denver. Altogether, four airlines will be flying into Aspen this summer.

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