By Allen Best
Charged up over charging stations
WHISTLER, B.C. – Automaker Nissan late this year will begin shipping its new all-electric mid-sized car, called the Leaf. Portland, Seattle and Vancouver in Canada’s British Columbia are among the cities gearing up to accommodate the cars.
So is Whistler. Town officials have installed four charging stations in the Whistler Conference Centre parking garage.
“The charging stations are a small step on a much larger journey toward sustainability. However, they demonstrate that Whistler is continuously willing to explore and support new opportunities for progressive energy and emissions management,” said Mayor Ken Melamed.
Other ski towns are also starting to install charging stations for electric-only cars. In Colorado, Aspen last year installed 27 charging stations at its municipal parking garage, and Vail has one. Jackson, Wyo., has started talking about charging stations.
Electric motors are six times more efficient than the internal-combustion engine in translating energy into forward movement. For that reason, many environmental advocates see them as crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, they are also promoted as a way of reducing imports of foreign oil — although, in fact, the No. 1 source of oil for the United States is Canada.
Whistler won’t charge for the electricity. Electricity costs six cents per kilowatt hour, and charging drivers for the power would cost more than the electricity itself, said Dave Patterson, manager of park and village operations at Whistler.
Aspen group courts Google
ASPEN, Colo. – A small group of Aspen-area residents have been campaigning to get Google to test a high-speed broadband network there. Google has announced it will lay fiber-optic cable at a few locations, and the cable will be 50 to 100 times faster than anything currently available from service providers.
The Aspen Times notes that the Facebook page set up to stir support for the Aspen effort so far has only 48 members, compared to thousands for similar efforts in some metropolitan area.
Night uphilling banned
WHITEFISH, Mont. – A new policy has gone into effect on Big Mountain that limits uphill hikers, snowshoers and skiers to between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and also confines them to a designated route. The policy had been under consideration for several weeks.
Officials of the ski area said the policy was provoked by several incidents involving after-hours hikers and groomers using winch cables that might have ended badly. As well, they said that after-hour skiers have shredded freshly groomed slopes before the snow had time to set up. The result can be deep ruts in the snow, a safety hazard.
The Whitefish Pilot reports that after-hours uphill travel has become increasingly popular in recent years, with 40 to 50 hikers on an average evening and many more during a full moon.
For the time being, the resort operator will station personnel in the parking lot after hours to remind any uphillers of the new policy.
Telluride museum seeks artifacts
TELLURIDE, Colo. – Oh boy does Telluride have history. One of the world’s most significant innovations in electrical transmission was first tested here in 1892. It had a labor war that is literally the stuff of movies. And the author Vladimir Nabokov chased butterflies among the wildflowers while sketching out his famous story of Lolita, which was published in 1955.
But the museum, a delightful affair, altogether lacks modern history. Museum officials intend to correct that omission and have begun talking with locals who can remember the early days of Telluride as a resort. The ski area opened in 1973, but the curators hope to represent the broader period from 1969 to 1980, reports the Telluride Daily Planet.
Banking firm stays away
PARK CITY, Utah – JP Morgan Chase & Co. is taking a bye for the second consecutive year on its annual visit to Deer Valley.
The investment bank had several hundred people for its ski trips to the resort, staying at the five-star Stein Ericksen Lodge. But last year, with the glare of public attention after receiving a huge bailout from the federal government, the company cancelled plans, and this year the meeting was again cancelled.
Bill Malone, president of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said other financial firms that had been regulars at Park City have become no-shows. “It’s not like it used to be. Whether it’s gone forever, I don’t know,” Malone told the Park Record.
Evidence of real estate recovery?
JACKSON, Wyo. – Evidence has begun to arrive of at least tepid recovery in real estate sales. Newspapers in both Wyoming’s Jackson Hole and Idaho’s Ketchum-Sun Valley areas cite an uptick in sales.
In the Ketchum-Sun Valley area, agents reported 24 residential sales in January and February, compared to 10 during the same time span last year. Volume in sales increased even more dramatically, to $17 million, compared to $4 million last year.
In Jackson Hole, the volume in the first two months was $46 million, compared with $15 million last year. Much of the action, real-estate agents tell the Jackson Hole News & Guide, is in the higher-end of the market, with several purchases of $5 million to $10 million. More difficult access to credit continues to slow the action of homes costing less than $1.5 million and condominiums of less than $500,000.
“I think there is definitely sense of improved comfort and confidence within the market,” said Clayton Andrews, executive vice president at Sotheby’s International Realty. “We’ve seen what most people believe is the worst of the worst.”
Telluride airport gets another $17 million
TELLURIDE, Colo. – Another $17 million has been granted to the Telluride Regional Airport, bringing up to $58 million allocated for airport improvements in the last two years. The airport sits on a just outside the town, with drop-offs at both ends. Until the most recent work, the runway was among the most challenging to pilots, because it was far from level. The work lowered one end by 30 feet, the other by 14 feet, and raised the middle by 16 feet. With these and other improvements, tourism officials in Telluride hope the runway, now nearly 7,000 feet long, will be able to accommodate regional jets. Currently, most Telluride visitors who arrive by plane arrive at Montrose, about 65 miles away.