Mountain News: No country for young skiers 

KETCHUM, Idaho – The average age of skiers had crept up, and that’s good and well in very many ways. But at Ketchum and Sun Valley, there’s a sense that the demographics have veered too much to those of a retirement community.

Dick Dorworth, a well-known ski journalist, tells the Idaho Mountain Express that when he goes into a Sun Valley base lodge in the morning that often he’s the youngest person there, “and I’m almost 70.”

Dorworth claims that the skiing on Bald Mountain is the best — and he should know. He’s taught skiing at many places, and skied most of the others, and in his younger years won a lot of ski races. But the culture at Sun Valley, he says, is not the best, although he did not explain why.

The Express suggests that the cost of skiing discourages younger people. A season pass this year is going for more than $2,000. A stripped-down 20-day pass costs $800.

Even Aspen is less expensive, with a $1,300 pass available to members of the local chamber of commerce. Far cheaper yet is the Epic Pass being offered by Vail Resorts, which costs $579 and offers unlimited access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, plus California’s Heavenly Pass.

Bair Gourlay, a ski shop owner in Ketchum, said the high cost of skiing at Sun Valley discourages young people from spending a winter ski-bumming there — and makes it harder for local shops to find employees.

“The retail is a real struggle, especially for small, mom-and-pop stores,” Gourlay said. “We have to look at who it’s competing with — at some point we can’t just keep catering to the retired community.”

Of course, Vail’s ski areas all have relatively close proximity to major metro areas, which means that while they offer low prices for ski passes, volume is high. The closest city to Sun Valley is Boise — fast growing, but small compared to Denver and the Bay area.


Building debris must be sorted

BANFF, Alberta – Builders and craftsmen in Banff are now being required to separate construction waste for recycling. Last year, only 33 per cent was separated as necessary for recycling.

The requirement was adopted to help meet a regional goal to divert 70 per cent of trash from the local landfill through recycling. It already costs more to dump construction debris at the landfill, but not high enough to spur the builders to sort more thoroughly, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.


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