By Allen Best
A joint with that java?
WHISTLER, B.C. – Ross Rebagliati won the men’s snowboarding gold medal at the Nagano Olympics in 1988, but was almost stripped of the title after minute traces of marijuana turned up in a drug test.
Now, he aims to be associated with marijuana in more than just a small way. He proposes to open two coffee shops in Whistler with the expectations that medical marijuana dispensaries will be added to back rooms when it becomes legal in Canada to do so.
“My name is already synonymous with this,” he tells Pique Newsmagazine. “I’ve tried to maintain my perfect Canadian status and my perfect gold medalist reputation, and it is just not flying. I cannot shake the association, so now that I’m 41 and have a family to care about, I realized it would be irresponsible for me not to play the hand I’ve been dealt.”
Health Canada, the federal agency, has different ideas. Although the federal agency wants to shift distribution of medical marijuana into the private sector, it doesn’t necessarily see the joe-joint model as its vision of the future.
ASPEN, Colo. – At least 23 percent of permanent residents of Aspen and Pitkin County are 60 and older, which makes it distinctly gray – and an obvious place for geriatric research.
The Aspen Times reports that a $1.5 million endowment has been given to help launch programs aimed at serving senior citizens in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.
A symposium was held with talks labeled “Cognitive Impairment: Facts and Fiction,” and “Depression: What to Look For.”
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? But sponsors promised more entertaining talks than the labels suggested.
Park City yanks bid
PARK CITY, Utah – ESPN has one fewer dance partner for its Winter X Games. Park City has withdrawn its bid, citing timing and financial requirements.
A representative of the local chamber estimated the cost of hosting the event at $5 million to $10 million, if split among the three local ski mountains, plus thousands of free hotel rooms for athletes, staffers and sponsors during the event and the preparations.
The event is currently held in Aspen in late January, but that date is off-limits to Park City because the resort already has its busiest event of the year then: the Sundance Film Festival.
Representatives of the chamber, the three ski mountains, the town government and the lodging industry agreed that the prize wasn’t worth chasing. That leaves Aspen still bidding to continue as the North American host for the Winter X Games when its current contract expires after the 2014 event.
Discounts for poor air quality
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In late January, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that “eye-smarting, lung-scarring smog” has enveloped the Salt Lake Valley for a large part of the winter.
Now, it reports that Snowbird is offering discounted lift tickets on bad-air days.
“Although you can’t see it from the valley, the skies are blue and the sun is shining at Snowbird during most inversions,” said Dave Fields, Snowbird vice president of resort operations, in announcing the $20 discount off the normal $84 all-day ticket.
In January, a group called Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment released a letter signed by more than 100 doctors. They called for large pollution sources, such as the Kennecott smelter, to be shut down on days when temperature inversions trap smog in the valley. They also want fares for public transportation to be waived on those days and highway speeds reduced to 55 mph.
WHISTLER, B.C. – The easy growth in skier days ended when Baby Boomers came of age, and succeeding generations just haven’t developed the same intense lust and loyalty for the sport.
In British Columbia, Feb. 11 is now Family Day, creating a three-day weekend that should expand business for the ski areas. But Bob Barnett, publisher of Pique Newsmagazine, points out that ski trade organizations in both Canada and the United States have long recognized a fundamental demographic problem.
“Simply put, as Baby Boomers continue to age, they will begin dropping out of the sport at an alarming rate,” says the Denver-based National Ski Areas Association.
“Without an industry-wide effort focused on attracting newer, younger participants and converting them into loyal skiers and riders, ski areas could face dramatic declines in visitation in the not-so distant future.”
Trade groups in both Canada and the United States have set a goal of converting 25 percent of first-timers into long-term participants. The current rate in the United States is 16.7 percent, while the rate in Canada is 18.4 percent.