Mountain News: Colorado dams make a Gogh of it 

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Talisker, which operates Canyons, a ski resort down the road, owns the land under which Park City Mountain Resort, owned by the Powdr Corp., operates at least a portion of its ski area. Park City contends the leases were extended until 2015. Talisker says that Park City didn't do it on time and hence could be booted from the property.

The disagreement has caused quite a stink in Park City. Talisker accuses its rival of using "scare tactics and spin," according to a report in The Park Record. A lawyer for Park City Mountain Resort told the judge that the breach of contract by his company, if one occurred, was not significant.

No clear definition of new normal

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. — What will be the new normal? That's been the question since the real estate boom deflated like a helium balloon pricked by a 10-penny nail.

The answer is still being decided in Snowmass Village in regards to a bells-up project called Base Village. Originally developed as a partnership between the Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest, the project was to deliver one million square feet of condos, hotels and other bed base to allow Snowmass to compete with Beaver Creek, Whistler and Deer Valley. Snowmass is Aspen's dominant skiing venue for the masses.

When the Great Recession occurred, the project had been sold to a development firm called Related Cos. It declared financial insolvency. At length, the lenders — mostly banks from Europe — sold the half-completed development to Related Cos. for $90 million, taking a significant loss.

What comes next? Dwayne Romero, Related's representative, tells the Aspen Daily News that he and his staff may go before the Snowmass Village Town Council early next year to talk about the immediate steps. The staff, he said, is talking about price points, the project's residential and commercial composition, and visitor desires in the new economy, but gave no clear idea what Related sees.

Among the plans that vanished with the recession were a Little Nell, a companion to the five-star hotel that sits at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Romero told the Aspen Daily News that Related has staying power. But Related will have to earn the community trust through its deeds. "Right now we're not asking for people to turn and trust us implicitly. We're asking for them to give us a little bit of time and elbow room to achieve some progress."

In all this, Snowmass town officials have been studiously careful to say very little, lest it be interpreted as indicating the town is thinking of reneging on what it had approved. The shadow hanging over them is a case from California, where loose lips sunk the municipal ship of Mammoth Lakes.

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