Mountain Town News
By Allen Best
Rider says others walked on by him
WHISTLER, B.C. – Forty years ago, New York City got a major black eye that persisted for decades when bystanders looked the other way on a subway as a horrific crime was committed. It does not rise to the same level, but a snowboarder tells a story that vaguely recalls that New York case.
Josh Robertson, 16, a ski-cross team member, told Pique Newsmagazine that he had skied out of bounds onto a summer biking trail. He hadn’t expected to see five people on the landing below a feature called Rock Drop. To avoid hitting them, he veered sharply – into a tree. He broke his leg in three places and shattered his kneecap.
None of the five snow-riders at the bottom of the landing had passes, he says, and so they walked past him up the trail, unwilling even to assist him from a tree well in which he was wedged. Only a friend, who had been riding with him, helped.
At length, Robertson found his cell phone and called the ski patrol.
Daredevils blamed for deadly slide
REVELSTOKE, B.C. – Two days before the fatalities, the Revelstoke Times Review reported a special avalanche alert. But for whatever reason, organizers of the Big Iron Shootout proceeded with their informal snowmobile gathering on Boulder Mountain … and at about 3:30 p.m., triggered a giant 500-foot wide avalanche that ran for nearly two-thirds of a mile, killing two people and injuring several dozen more, at least one of them critically, reported the Times Review.
The newspaper said the snowmobile gathering has a reputation for its party atmosphere, with as many as 200 riders and onlookers participating.
Kyle Hale of Golden Search and Rescue told the newspaper that high-marking “seems to be the apparent cause of the accident.” An Associated Press report more specifically pointed to the high-marking of three daredevil snowmobilers in particular.
Telluride locals go Pfish
TELLURIDE, Colo. – Cult rock band Pfish first played in Telluride 22 years ago, but the band will return for a two-night run this summer. This time, a much bigger crowd is expected, probably 9,000 for each of the shows.
By the sheer numbers, this will pump some money into Telluride’s ailing economy. Tourism officials estimate $500,000 in lodging receipts for the two nights, with the 3,400 pillows within town limits sure to be sold out.
But cops see problems, and the town’s chief marshal, Jim Kolar, expects to need 25 to 30 extra officers to deal with public urination, drug overdoses and other infractions.
The Telluride Daily Planet reports that to make sure locals get a chance to see the show without binoculars, 1,500 tickets will be allocated for townspeople.
The newspaper says band members, when they first played Telluride in 1988, slept on the floor of a local house. This time, they’re likely to sleep in greater comfort.
High-end real estate percolating
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE, Colo. – Yet more evidence arrives of the return of the high-end real estate market as the Telluride Daily Planet reports an uptick in real estate transfer fees collected in Mountain Village.
The newspaper says that the slope-side municipality collected $1 million in the year’s first two months, more than triple the collections from the same period last year.
“The buyers are definitely back,” said Matthew Hintermeister, a broker at Peaks Real Estate Sotheby’s International Realty.
Down the gondola at Telluride, the town collected $266,000 in real estate transfer taxes in January, more than double of the same period last year.
The highest sale was for more than $10 million. Most transactions have been in cash.
Breckenridge wants alpine coaster
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – The Breckenridge Ski Resort was among the first ski areas to create an alpine slide. Now it wants to create an alpine coaster.
The Summit Daily News explains that the coaster would provide a 2,500-foot-long ride during both winter and summer months. Unlike an alpine slide, which has a solid track of concrete, the alpine coaster would have wheels that would be adhered to a steel track. Ski company officials say the coasters are relatively quiet.
Whole Foods to build smaller store
BASALT, Colo. – Whole Foods Market plans to build a store in Basalt after all. The purveyor of organic and other, more healthy foods had originally signed an agreement in 2007 to build a 44,000-square foot store. But the plans wilted as the economy shuddered, and in the meantime Whole Foods has started building smaller stores in both Hawaii and California.
Company officials tell The Aspen Times that they have noticed customers from the Roaring Fork Valley in their stores in Denver, about 200 miles away. They hope to work out deals with farmers from the Paonia area to provide fresh produce and other food.
Astronomer floats observatory idea
SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. – Elected officials in Snowmass Village seem at least mildly interested in a pitch for an observatory.
David Aguilar, a part-time resident of nearby Carbondale, tells the officials that Snowmass would make a splendid site for an observatory – and it could be a tourist attraction.
“What we’re finding is that people’s interest in science, especially astronomy, is going up,” said Aguilar, an astronomer and director of public affairs and science information for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics.
Aguilar, reports the Snowmass Sun, advised town officials of a possible marketing slogan: “Snowmass, where the real stars come out at night.”