By Allen Best
Aspen real estate sales edge up
ASPEN, Colo. – Real estate volume through June in Aspen and Pitkin County was 22 percent ahead of last year, with June being particularly strong, reports the Aspen Times.
The greatest activity was in properties ranging in value from $4 million to $8 million. One real estate broker associate, Tim Estin, reported he was “day to day hopeful.” Between 60 and 70 percent of annual sales occur between the Fourth of July and the end of September.
Unless conditions worsen, Aspen can expect to surpass $1 billion in sales, although this will lag far behind the benchmark years of 2006 and 2007, when roughly $2.6 billion was sold each year. “I am of the opinion we’re never gong to see 2007, at least not in my lifetime,” said long-time agent Bob Starodoj, owner and chief executive of Mason Morse Real Estate. He sees future prices more in line with those of 2004 to 2006.
Meanwhile, hoteliers in Aspen have been expecting improved economic conditions this summer. Bill Tomcich, director of a reservation agency, expected lodges over the July 4th weekend to surpass last year’s figure of 84 percent of capacity.
No fed help for Vail biomass plant
VAIL, Colo. –A biomass plant to generate heat and electricity in Vail may still get built, but it won’t be with federal stimulus funds. The Connecticut-based company that proposes the plan had requested $26 million, but more quietly insisted that the project didn’t need federal money.
Whether enough wood will be available to burn in the $46 million plant remains uncertain. The bark beetle epidemic has left plenty of dead trees, but pine trees begin rotting relatively soon after they have died, in most cases far sooner than the life of a biomass plant. The Forest Service said it intends to study just how much wood might be available in the long term for such a venture.
Whistler eyes China visitors
WHISTLER, B.C. – It’s not clear just how much additional business Whistler will get as a result of China’s decision to name Canada as an “approved destination status.” What seems clear enough, however, is that Chinese citizens will more likely visit Whistler in summer and also as part of a visit to the much better known Vancouver. Tourism Whistler plans its strategy accordingly.
Crested Butte gets gay ski week
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Crested Butte next March will join a number of other ski resorts in winking at gay skiers.
Crested Butte next March will debut the Matthew Shepard Foundation Memorial Gay Ski Week.
Organizers said they were drawn to Crested Butte because of its native funkiness. They particularly noticed the costumes and revelry during the Al Johnson Memorial Uphill/Downhill Race.
Slackline park bounces volleyball
VAIL, Colo. – A complex of slacklines has replaced a volleyball court atop Vail Mountain. Slacklines are often used for training by skiers, snowboarders, cyclists, climbers and gymnasts.
The Vail Daily explains that participants balance on a 2-inch-wide webbing. According to the Vail Daily, the park has 10 such slacklines between 10 and 40 feet in length. Aspen and Snowmass in Colorado, and Pennsylvania’s Whitetail Resort plan to follow suit.
Drug helps climbers mount Everest
RIDGWAY, Colo. – For nearly 40 years, Peter Hackett has been ministering to climbers as well as the natives among the world’s highest mountains. But his supply list for a recent trip to Mt. Everest included a rather unique prescription drug: Cialis, normally associated with combating erectile dysfunction.
Climbers in thin air always experience reduced capacity for physical performance, but about one-third of them decline to a greater extent. This is because vessels that deliver blood to their lungs constrict even more, preventing carbon dioxide from the body being exchanged with fresh oxygen.
Those with high blood pressure in the lungs, such as caused by emphysema and other pulmonary diseases, experience the same problem. And the same problem of constricted blood vessels can cause erectile dysfunction.
But could Cialis (and its relative, Viagra) help climbers improve their ability to go uphill while on Everest?
That was one of Hackett’s experiments this year on Everest, and he tells The Telluride Watch that in his study of four climbers, all achieved dramatic results. One climber more than halved the time he took to climb from camps located at 21,300 feet in elevation to a higher camp at 24,500 feet. All four summited the mountain and believe they could not have done so without the Cialis.
Hackett also gave climbers an asthma inhaler to curb the hacking cough frequented experienced by climbers in extreme altitude. The cough can become so racking that it fractures ribs.
“That’s probably the major health problem up there,” Hackett said.
Economy looks good in T’ride
TELLURIDE, Colo. – For whatever reason, the economy has been improving markedly in Telluride. Lodging occupancy reservations for June through November ranked tops among 11 ski-based mountain towns in the West monitored by the Mountain Travel Research Program. Occupancy remains low, just 20 to 30 percent, but average daily room rates have been increasing steadily and now are second among those towns.
Idle talk in Jackson
JACKSON, Wyo. – Town councilors in Jackson have rejected an ordinance that would have made it unlawful to let cars and trucks idle.
“This would be a tool in the toolbox for police to use at their discretion,” said a supporter of the ban, Greg Miles. But the majority of council members warned of a backlash. They want a softer approach. “I believe this is a cultural shift, not a legislative action,” said a councilor, Mark Obringer.
It’s already against state law in Wyoming to leave an unattended car or truck idling. This would have extended that ban to vehicles that are occupied. Instead, Jackson intends to work up an educational campaign.
A local resident, David Swift, advised the council that the threat of a proposed idling law would start the job of creating peer pressure to curb the habit of mindless idling. “Tabling the ordinance with ‘we’ll trust people’s common sense’ is good PR, and conversely will starve the anti-government drama-queen crowd of their cherished victim-hood status.”