New Mexico stars as film locale
SANTA FE, N.M. – Tina Fey, the actress, is in Santa Fe currently for filming of a movie based on the memoir of a journalist who spent years in the Middle East after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Santa Fe New Mexican points out that New Mexico has frequently been a stand-in for other locations. Remember those sweeping views of Montana in the movie “Lonesome Dove?” Or the Mexican badlands in “All the Pretty Horses?”
In both cases, it was actually New Mexico. But in recent years, the New Mexican reports, the film industry has looked to New Mexico’s rolling deserts and wide-blue skies as a stand-in for the sun- and blood-soaked conflict zones of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
Rebecca “Puck” Stair, film locations manager, said productions choose New Mexico for movies set in mideastern locations because of two primary reasons: the state’s tax incentives and its similar topographies and climates.
“Any script with desert or aridity, New Mexico is the best choice,” Stair said. “But if Arizona had incentives, they would be doing it all in Arizona.”
Sweat and tech
ASPEN, Colo. – Aspen’s flirtation with sweat and technology continued last weekend at a tandem event, the Aspen Uphill and the Power of Four ski mountaineering race.
Unlike traditional downhill skiing and snowboarding, with their reliance on lifts, both events emphasized aerobic conditioning and defying of gravity
An avid uphiller himself, Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron sees potential synergy with manufacturers and designers of uphill and backcountry gear. To that end, he invited representatives of Dynafit, La Sportiva, and Scarpa, along with others, to discuss possibilities.
Nicola Fiordalisi, legal counsel for various Italian corporations that do business in the United States, said Aspen’s brand is well recognized in Europe. “Aspen is world-known.”
Steve Barwick, city manager for Aspen, said that in his 21 years at Aspen the city government has been approached by a wide variety of American corporations. But Aspen has turned them all down.
We never wanted to cheap the Aspen brand by being associated with products,” he said. “But this is different. This speaks to our roots. This is going to support our ski culture rather than take advantage of it. You have a unique opportunity to be the only industry on the planet that’s associated with one of the sexiest brand names on the planet, and that’s Aspen, Colorado.”
Skadron said his long-term vision is to create (year-round) jobs that attract individuals who value mountain-town culture.
Aspen’s biggest challenge, said Skadron, “is the increasing suburbanization, homogenization of mountain towns. As you know, our downtown core isn’t unlike a high-end shopping mall.”
Utah bargains over connections
PARK CITY, Utah — A few years ago, when ski areas in the Wasatch Range announced their interest in connecting to one another, the response of the environmental community seemed to be “hell no.”
In recent meetings both in Park City and the Salt Lake Valley, evidence of compromise has been reported. Peter Metcalf, from the Outdoor Industry Association, mentioned potential for a “grand bargain” that would ensure environmental protections while giving the ski industry what it wants.
Still, any deal seems far from done. The Park Record, reporting on a meeting last week, described considerable discomfort with any transportation solutions that add more cars to the mountain towns. One idea being considered is a tunnel under the Wasatch Range between Cottonwood Canyon and Park City.
A former city councilman, Joe Kernan, told The Record that the city remains in denial over its transportation problems. It will have to spend money to address the congestion or people will start having to ride buses, he said.
The silver lining in Whistler
WHISTLER, B.C. — Warm temperatures? Bare ground? No problem to mountain bikers in Whistler.
“It’s February and we’re riding stuff that typically doesn’t open up until the end of April, so it’s awesome,” said Pete Oprsal, public relations director for the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association.
“But my understanding is you can kind of have your cake and eat it too right now, because yes, we haven’t had any fresh snow, but when it was raining down in the valley it was snowing up top.
“The conditions up top in the alpine, from my understanding, are really good, so you can go out for a morning ski and then in the afternoon spend some time on the bike.”