Front Range Slammed With Rain
We're sure you've heard about the massive amounts of rain to strike the Colorado Front Range and Boulder and Larimer Counties in particular, washing away roads, houses, trees, cars, and leaving thousands stranded in towns like Lyons and Jamestown, which were completely cut off when all their valley roads were washed away by mudslides or rising river levels. When finally given a weather break, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters began scouring the area for survivors, airlifting thousands of people as well as their pets to safety. Colorado officials are drawing upon the expertise of their colleagues in Vermont, who are intimately familiar with recovering from devastating floods after their experience returning their state to normal after Hurricane Irene in 2011. Colorado lucked out somewhat in that no ski resorts were affected, nor was the infrastructure to access it (i.e. I-70). However, many Colorado ski towns sent fire crews to the distressed area when local officials quickly became overwhelmed with the scale and complexity of rescue and assessment efforts there.
Aspen Ferrari Owners Become Latest Discrimination Victims
Marc Ostrofsky, the millionaire author of Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online, recently claimed that Aspen police have unfairly "targeted" him and other Ferrari owners in town when issuing speeding tickets. Part of a ruthlessly besieged minority that deserves the utmost consideration, Ostrofsky even offered to pay $10,000 for the arresting officer to take a lie detector test, which the presiding judge would have none of. Mr. Ostrofsky wished to plead not guilty to driving 34 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone, but due to inconveniences related to his important business travel schedule and conflicting future court dates, pleaded no contest and paid $100 to take an online driving course, which his secretary will undoubtedly do on his behalf while he schemes up more obnoxious scenarios in which he could claim being discriminated against.
New Yorks' Big Tupper To Re-Open
Good news for New York ski fans: Big Tupper, which closed last season due to financial reasons, will re-open this winter. The small mountain, which has 30 trails a vertical drop of 1,150 feet, and is the home turf of the Gaffney brothers, will offer $25 lift tickets and will be running an OkTUPPERfest on September 28 with live music, food, beer, and free chair rides to check out the foliage.
In other small ski area news, the town of Littleton, New Hampshire, announced it would re-open the rope-tow based Mt. Eustis, directly off the side of I-93, this upcoming winter. The mountain's schedule will be based off of that of local schools, with a heavy emphasis on families and after-school programs.
First Snow Hits The Rockies
Weather produced more than destructive rains over the Front Range this week: ski towns from Aspen to Telluride to Breckenridge to Big Sky and Jackson Hole saw their first snow of the 2013-14 season this Wednesday. Big Sky appears to have gotten hit the hardest, just in time for marketing to fire up the lift and get a few potential passholders to imagine what a powder day will look like in a few months.
Telluride OK's Retail Pot Shops For 2014
It's sure to take a little bit of trial and error, but Telluride's marketing department will sooner or later want to embrace the latest reason to visit town: legal pot for everyone! The town council has officially sanctioned retail pot shops, which can open their businesses to those without medicinal marijuana cards on January 1. Passage of Amendment 64 last spring made it legal for adults 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of bud, and in July the state released rules governing the retail sale of weed. San Miguel County passed the amendment with the highest percentage of support in the entire state.
Do A-Frames Deserve Historical Preservation?
In a move that will sound odd for anyone with a taste for decent architecture, Park City is studying whether or not it wants to preserve certain parts of its "ski era" architecture, namely A-frame homes built during the ’60s. City officials argue that that era counted Park City's transition from an abandoned mining town to a thriving ski destination, and facing demolition applications for two old A-frame homes, want to think about protecting a few of them. I'd prefer they use the impenetrable underground tunnels of Yucca Mountain, originally slated to store nuclear waste, to hide these hideous outbursts of architectural errors, but that's just me.
Rent Bode Miller's NH Home For Christmas Ski Week!
Did you know that Bode Miller's home is on Airbnb? The custom-built four bedroom in the White Mountain enclave of Carroll, New Hampshire, is available for rent and is only 20 minutes from Bode's home mountain, Cannon. Serious fans of ski racing could be spending a very special Christmas week walking, showering, and skiing in the footsteps of greatness, but that proximity to a skiing legend will cost you, to the tune of $1,100 a night. And no hot tub.
Asking "What Would Muir Do?," Robb Gaffney Speaks Up On Squaw Village
Infamous Squaw Valley super-local, psychiatrist, and author of Squallywood: A Guide to Squaw's Most Exposed Lines, Dr. Robb Gaffney, took a courageous gulp and penned an op-ed in a local Lake Tahoe paper arguing for "reasonable development" at the Squaw Valley base village, where private equity group KSL wants to build a high-density village full of lodging and retail that would occupy, if developed fully, all the parking areas currently utilized by day skiers. Saying that his "conscience was insistent at pushing through," Gaffney reiterated his desire to "maintain a true mountain and Sierra experience within the context of reasonable development," and voiced support for opposition group Friends of Squaw Valley. He also asked local community members, especially local athletes he's likely good friends with, to ask themselves: "Will future generations, even in 50 to 100 years, appreciate my position and will I be judged as sitting on the right side of history?"
Many of the concerns that have come up about the development include its scale, density, the end of free day parking, lack of public spaces within the proposed base village, and out-of-character amenities like a 132,000 square foot indoor water park.
Breckenridge's Peak 6 Expansion Construction Provokes Ire of Locals
Now that construction on Breckenridge's Peak 6 is underway, with helicopters rumbling in to deliver concrete and trucks rumbling out with the 68 acres' worth of clear-cut spruce and fir trees to make room for the new ski trails, locals are reminding themselves of the project's tumultuous history. Even today, Breckendridge former Town Council member gone outspoken citizen, Dave Rossi asserted that the Forest Service should be "embarrassed" for "putting its thumb on the scale" in favor of the project. That government entity moved a ski area boundary line without public scrutiny and then amended the forest plan for the White River National Forest when it discovered that the project ran afoul of the Endangered Species Act, which protects the Lynx whose habitat includes much of the Tenmile Range that makes up Breckenridge Resort.
Vail Resorts has stepped up to invest in improving Lynx habitat elsewhere to assuage concerns over the endangered animal, and has argued that the new peak is needed to spread out traffic on the nation's busiest mountain, but even a Forest Service study admits the expansion will only draw more visitors in the future. Local backcountry skiers, who lost a relatively safe area for backcountry skiing when Vail closed the Peak 6 area in order to avoid an ecoterrorism attack similar to the arson that plagued Vail's Blue Sky Basin expansion in 1998, sounded off on Breck's facebook page. The mountain had asked people to suggest trail names for Peak 6, and although the suggestions were mostly positive, several locals suggested names like "Dankrupt," "Trail of Lynx Tears," and "The Scummit."