Crested Butte and Durango offer tag-team ski passes |

Crested Butte and Durango offer tag-team ski passes

CRESTED BUTTE – The concept of tag-team ski resorts continues to evolve. The latest is an add-on to ski passes for Crested Butte and Durango, which are about 150 miles apart in southwest Colorado. Pass-holders at Crested Butte, for example, can ski for three days at Durango Mountain Resort, and vice versa.

Durango has been at this game for awhile. It has similar partnership agreements with Taos in New Mexico. It also has a similar deal with California’s Kirkwood, which makes sense, since they are owned by the same company.

Motorcycles tearing up forests in the mountains

CRESTED BUTTE – Everywhere, it seems, there are complaints about the invasion of dirt motorcycles onto the public lands of the West.

“The damage that dirt bikes are doing to our trails – and off the trails, on new routes that motorcyclists are wantonly making across the forest floor – is horrendous,” writes letter-writer Peter Bridges in the Crested Butte News (Aug. 29). “One two-track trail has, in only two years, become a three-tracked trail that in places is a four-tracked trail.”

While some dirt bikers are volunteering to repair damage, he notes, those efforts cannot begin to keep up with the steadily increasing damage. Dirt motorcycle riders argue their contribution to the local economy, but this letter-writer isn’t buying that excuse.

Gas-electric hybrids to park for free in Aspen

ASPEN – The Aspen City Council is blessing hybrid gas-electric vehicles with twin incentives: free parking and a $100 rebate per registration fee. When electrically powered, the vehicles contribute less pollution locally.

Because Aspen has so few hybrid vehicles, notes The Aspen Times (Aug. 26), town officials aren’t worried about loss of revenue. If hybrids become more popular, however, the parking revenues that help fund the city’s bus system could be reduced.

Record for running Colorado Trail set

DURANGO – A new record for the 468-mile Colorado Trail has been set. Hal Korner, who lives in metropolitan Denver, trotted into Durango after 9 days, 10 hours, and 19 minutes. He started out with a companion, Ian Torrence, of Moab, Utah, but Torrence developed knee problems that set the pair back about a day, until Korner finally set out on his own, reports the Durango Telegraph (Sept. 12).

Snowmass latest to hear call for dark sky

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Add Snowmass Village to the list of mountain towns where residents are demanding an end to light pollution of the night sky.

A group called the Dark Sky Committee is calling for new legislation that would ensure dark nighttime skies. Among its members is resident Tom Yocum, who complains that he can read a newspaper in his home from the 250-watt fixtures on houses 200 yards away. The Aspen Times suggests that the discussion may boil down most importantly to whether existing light-polluting fixtures are grandfathered in.

Many towns have light ordinances, although few counties do. Pitkin County is the exception. The law, which went into effect in late 1999, gave residents three years to correct their lights.

Meanwhile, the Idaho town of Hailey has a new light ordinance, and the Mountain Express reports planners there are fielding calls from as far away as Los Angeles. Some say it’s the best such law in the nation. The law governing Eagle, downstream from Vail, meanwhile was called the best in Colorado. However, the best question in all these places may be how they’re enforced.

Revelstoke hoping to ride Olympics coattails

REVELSTOKE, B.C. – A committee is researching ways for Revelstoke to financially ride the coattails of the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Winter Olympics.

“Potentially, we’ve got ourselves a gold mine,” Elmer Rorstad told his fellow committee members.

Revelstoke enjoys relative proximity to Whistler and similar snow conditions. There is talk about engineering rail tours from Whistler to Revelstoke, or promoting Revelstoke as the home of Canada’s first ski jump, reports the Revelstoke Times Review (Sept. 10).

Drug-stop ruse legal, but sheriff has no use for war

TELLURIDE – During the Telluride Bluegrass Festival three years ago, a drug task force for several adjoining counties set up signs that read “Narcotics Checkpoint One Mile Ahead.” The signs were a ruse. In fact, drug taskforce agents were hiding in the bushes, and if people threw things out of their cars after seeing the signs or turned their vehicles around, the lawmen radioed other cops in vehicles, who stopped the littering cars and searched for drugs and paraphernalia. Littering is against the law in Colorado, as are improper U-turns, and hence triggered probable cause searches of those cars once they had been stopped.

Unfair? Not so, rules the Colorado Court of Appeals. But while attorneys and lawmen continue to disagree over constitutional rights, San Miguel Sheriff Bill Masters defines a bigger picture. A Libertarian, Masters strongly disagrees with the War on Drugs.

“When you look at the overall impact on stopping the use of drugs in our country, I don’t think it’s had any impact,” he told The Telluride Watch (Sept. 5). “Personally, I’m not going to authorize the use of (fictitious drug checkpoints) in my department,” he said. “Even though it’s maybe legal methods, I don’t particularly care for them.”

“Seabiscuit’ model turns to forest trails near Telluride

TELLURIDE – The primary horse used in the filming of “Seabiscuit” is now semi-retired to a dude ranch near Telluride.

The family that owns the Skyline Guest Ranch is friends with the movie’s producers. Ranch patriarch Dave Farny, a former ski area developer from Aspen, says the horse, Ferrari, is well trained. But as a track horse, he’s never been on a trail and remains afraid of streams.

Altogether 10 horses were used in the movie, but Ferrari was the primary one, and the one that Toby Maguire rides.

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