By Allen Best
More brand strategy
SUN VALLEY, Idaho – Tim Silva, with his first season under his belt as general manager of Sun Valley Resort, has been trying to nudge some life into the somewhat stodgy facility.
The ski mountain infrastructure needs no upgrades for the time being, he told several hundred people at a luncheon. “They’ve been on quite a binge here,” said Silva, who arrived at Sun Valley last year after stints at California resorts.
But he suggested Sun Valley does need easier access, broader demographic appeal and a firmer brand identity.
In a sense, none of what Silva said was new. Others in Sun Valley and Ketchum have been saying the same thing for years. For example, the resort community at Ketchum and Sun Valley has been stewing over a new airport that would be farther from the resort than the existing airport, but with improved reliability.
Demographics also remain problematic. On Bald Mountain, the prime venue for Sun Valley resort, the average skier’s age is 53. Snowboarders make up just 9 percent of the resort’s visitors.
As for branding, he said Sun Valley needs a precise brand that clearly and immediately tells people what defines Sun Valley. The personality of Sun Valley isn’t clear, he said.
Fewer crimes defy expectations
KETCHUM, Idaho – When the Great Recession started, cops in Ketchum and the Wood River Valley expected a jump in crime. Instead, the number of criminal court filings dropped 29 percent last year and it looks like the lower crime rate has continued this year, reports the Idaho Mountain Express.
“We have fewer seasonal workers, a smaller transient construction workforce, and fewer people who have no vested interest in the community,” said Jim Thomas, a prosecuting attorney.
Jeff Gunter, police chief in Hailey, a down-valley town, said he has observed fewer vehicles on the highway and increased vacancies in some apartment complexes.
“You’d think that there would be an increase in theft crime because of high unemployment, but we haven’t see that,” Gunter said.
Cougar co-existed with humans
BANFF, Alberta – A cougar researchers affectionately called Doug died recently, its decomposing body discovered by a canoeist in the Bow River. Unlike many carnivores in the Banff-Canmore area, Doug is thought to have died naturally, of old age or perhaps breaking through ice while chasing elk.
That the cougar had occasionally lived and hunted on the periphery of human settlement in the Banff area for a number of years without incident was testament, said researchers, to the idea that carnivores and people can coexist.
Ironically, the killing of a cross-country skier by a cougar near Banff in 2001 caused wildlife researchers to become familiar with Doug. They decided they needed to better understand the behavior of cougars. To do this, they attached radio monitors to 12 cougars. One particular cougar was chased by tracking dogs up a series of Douglas fir trees, earning him the obvious nickname of “Doug.”
Researchers discovered that Doug hunted in the most unlikely places close to developed areas. That worried Banff officials, but cougar experts said it was okay to have a large, dominant male living in such an area without showing any aggressiveness toward people or domestic animals.
Steve Michel, human-wildlife conflict specialist in Banff, explained that it’s often younger males, both bears and cougar, who cause trouble with people, because they haven’t honed hunting skills or don’t have the maturity of an adult.
“In the very rare circumstance, cougars can post a threat to people and domestic animals,” said Banff’s Michel. “But this is also a good example of how rare those situations are, and just because a cougar is around and using an area close to people doesn’t mean there will necessarily be conflict with people.”
Pitkin to regulate solar panels
ASPEN, Colo. – The Pitkin County commissioners have decided they need to regulate placement of freestanding solar collectors.
The Aspen Times reports glare from solar panels and aesthetics of clusters of solar panels – including height – will be the major considerations in regulation.
“We can’t have a laissez-faire (approach) just because it’s good for the environment,” said Commissioner George Newman.
The county gets 50 applications per year, mostly for roof-top solar, but planning officials expect a surge once the economy turns around. “I would hypothesize that when the economy turns around, every new house will have a solar (system) of some kind” said Lance Clarke, assistant community development director.
Another idea is for homeowners to leave their yards and roofs as is and invest in local solar farms, where panels can be tended much more efficiently. A company called the Clean Energy Collective proposes to build such farms down-valley from Aspen in the Basalt and Carbondale area.
Sheriff calls it quits
ASPEN, Colo. – Bob Braudis, sheriff of Pitkin County since 1986 and a pal of the late writer Hunter S. Thompson, has decided to call it quits. He will, reports The Aspen Times, “hang up his badge to write, travel and nurture his inner activist.”
Braudis arrived in Aspen 1969 and became known for his approach to law-enforcement in which he saw police work as integrating with the community, not just chasing crooks.
“He has caught sporadic flack over the years,” observes The Aspen Times, “for his decision not to conduct undercover drug investigations and the limited assistance to federal drug officers. But Braudis’ ability to come across as just another guy, rather than a heavy-duty cop, endears him to lots of people.”
He said he didn’t understand why, but he knew that his law enforcement philosophy appeals to everyone from wealthy conservatives to ski bums working three jobs.
Braudis told the newspaper he wants to spent time in Mediterranean climates and also Florida during winter months. He also wants to write, speak and provide guidance to younger people working on social justice issues.
With another author, he wrote a book reminiscing about Thompson and said he enjoyed the discipline the writing assignment forced.