Houston-to-Vail flights in the works for summer | SummitDaily.com

Houston-to-Vail flights in the works for summer

EAGLE ” Last year promoters from Vail and the Eagle Valley initiated daily direct flights to Dallas.

The flights were a $475,000 risk, with a third of the money put up by the county government. In the end, the hotels, developers and government paid a collective $20,000. About half the people flying were second homeowners.

This year, those fights will continue, reports the Vail Daily, but various businesses and governments are pulling together $250,000 to guarantee flights from Houston, another primary source for tourist and second homeowners in the Eagle Valley.

TAHOE, Calif. ” Skiing remains a male-dominated sport, 62 percent compared to 39 percent for women. But there’s a lot less chauvinism than there was 35 years ago, says Dinah Witchel, who wrote a book called “Ski Woman’s Way”.

Remember that rather quaint expression, snow bunny? That seems to reflect the attitude of the 1960s, which held that if a woman could ski, that was great, but more important was how she looked in stretch pants.

Whether that has changed probably depends upon the guy. But a clear change began in 1975, with the first clinic devoted specifically to women. There are now 200 such clinics in the U.S. Just how the clinics differ from those offered to both sexes, however, wasn’t clear from a story in the Tahoe World.

WINTER PARK ” The ski jumps at Winter Park that turned out at least a few Olympic jumpers are being scrapped to make way for beginning skiers.

Intrawest, now in its second year of management, has set out to boost the numbers at Winter Park by making it more appealing to intermediate, destination skiers.

At least one major run, Outhouse, is being groomed, to the dismay of many die-hard bump skiers. Using the space now reserved for the 40- and 60-meter jumps located at the base area also allows more users in the same space. Intrawest figures it can accommodate 30,000 beginning skiers, compared to the 15 to 50 skiers now in the jumping program.

There are, of course, protests, including one from a 78-year-old skier who remembers skiing at Winter Park when the resort opened in 1940 as perhaps Colorado’s first destination resort.

The Winter Park Manifest, in its editorial, says that Intrawest is “walking a thin line between improved profitability and lingering distinctiveness.”

The paper recalled that Intrawest had “signed on to retain the uniqueness of what is Winter Park,” and neutrally noted that it awaits Intrawest demonstrating how it can achieve that.

PARK CITY, Utah ” Never again, said a 65-year-old snowshoer after he was stomped hard by a 700-pound bull moose in a canyon near Park City. “I’m never coming back,” said Nick Baldwin.

The Park Record explains that Baldwin and two 70-something companions were snowshoeing in the canyon when they encountered a moose on the trail about 50 yards away. The trio of men tried to hide behind a tree, assuming the moose would mosey down the trial, but they were wrong.

“He came down and stopped by the tree and licked his lips a few times,” explains Bob Mitchell. The moose then knocked Baldwin down and began kicking and stepping on him, causing a fractured scapula and a severe laceration to his leg, before moving on.

There was some conjecture that the moose may have been agitated by previous encounters with people and dogs.

DURANGO ” In Durango, as at other resort regions across the West, there’s great concern that the old mining-era downtown is losing its business ” and its vitality ” to the suburbs.

While business leaders sort through many good ideas, trying to devise a strategy for executing a few of them, the Durango Telegraph reports an unexpected ally: Wal-Mart. The giant retailer is distributing a directory of downtown businesses.

“At Wal-Mart Durango, we share the philosophy that successes in business starts by building strong and healthy communities,” explained the store’s director, Russell Parker. “By creating programs that contribute to the success of our local small businesses, everyone will win.”

CRESTED BUTTE ” It sounds like cabin-fever grumpiness. In Crested Butte, several town council members are questioning the value of spring clean-up day. What can possibly be next, applied pie?

It seems that the participation rate has steadily declined. Thirty years ago 100 people turned out to buff the town, reports the Crested Butte News. Last year, it was down to 32. Worst yet, according to one council member, many people seem to hoard their refuse through winter so that they can dispose of it for free during the spring cleanup. The event costs the town $14,000.

Crested Butte could take a cue from Vail, which around 1990 began offering money to volunteers ” not directly, but to the local charity of their choice, at $25 a head. The incentive flushes out 125 to 150 people annually. Now, even cigarette butts from along I-70 get picked up.

CANMORE, Alberta ” Canmore has been getting big second-home money for a while now, but it is just now getting its first gated community.

Except that the developer hastens to add that it’s not a gated community. Just a gate.

“Nineteen homes do not a community make,” explained Greg Varricchio, executive vice-president of land development for Three Sisters Mountain Village.

At least one of those 19 lots has sold for more than $1 million ($750,000 U.S.). In an interview with the Rocky Mountain Outlook, Varricchio cautioned that this enclave is “at the narrow end of the bell curve” of housing types at Three Sisters. “You’re not likely to see another development like this on Three Sisters property.”

It appears that the town cannot prevent the gate, as it’s on private property. Similar requests have been made before, but town officials have mandated to discourage them. The town may see what it can do to pass a bylaw, but it’s not clear that anything can be done. The town’s primary leverage seems to be access for emergency services.

Still, the idea goes down hard, if public pronouncements by municipal officials are a guide. “That’s not what this town is about,” said the municipal planning director Robert Ellis. “It’s not about creating private enclaves.” Said Mayor Glen Craig, ” I hope we never develop that kind of community…”

The Rocky Mountain Outlook saw the gates as very real evidence of the growing chasm between the wealthy and the not-wealthy. “Canmore has been heading down this road for a long, long time,” said the newspaper. “We’ve seen it coming like the headlamp of a train on a darkened track.”

The newspaper did not cite any particular impacts of gates, but did dwell at length on the “imagery that disturbs us.”

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