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Going to Aspen to sell pricey Manhattan digs

Compiled by Allen Best ASPEN, Colo. — So, you’ve got a 3,000-square-foot condo on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that you you’d like to unload for $6.1 million. Where would you advertise it? Aspen at Christmas is a good bet.

Compiled by Allen Best

ASPEN, Colo. — So, you’ve got a 3,000-square-foot condo on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that you you’d like to unload for $6.1 million. Where would you advertise it?

Aspen at Christmas is a good bet. That was the conclusion of Pace Advertising in Manhattan, which paid The Aspen Times to insert a glossy, fold-out brochure into the newspaper for a condominium called One Beacon Court.

"Really, the marketing plan is to reach out to these customers where they work and play," explained Gregg Praetorius, the firm’s senior vice president. "Obviously, the demographics of Aspen at this time of the year fit the profile of a buyer at One Beacon Court."

Although most of the brochures were discarded in newspaper racks or even littered along the sidewalks, Praetorius said just one sale makes the gallons of gloss worthwhile. "If somebody’s buying a $6 to $10 million apartment here in New York, one buyer makes it an unqualified success."

Plans submitted for major new ski area

REVELSTOKE, B.C. — A report has been issued on what an engineer once predicted would be "one of the last great ski hills in the world to be developed." City officials in Revelstoke predict that the ski hill, Mt. Mackenzie, will be approved as early as June.

"If this thing goes ahead – and I’m very confident that it will – there will be some big changes," Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee told the Revelstoke Times Review. He described a friendly small town with a lifestyle envied by many.

"We’ve always had a real friendly, small-town environment, and we hope we can maintain that… as a community we instil a certain set of values in the people who visit us."

This isn’t the first push for development of the ski hill into a major national and international destination resort, but none before have gone so far, says the Times Review. British Columbia Land and Water is charged with handling the lease, but the city government must approve the plans. The newspaper did not identify the proponent.

Vail Resorts CEO gaffe twitters local tongues

VAIL, Colo. — Adam Aron, the CEO of Vail Resorts, was already losing badly in informal local popularity polls when he paid a visit to the local airport. It was crowded, and so the hurried Aron parked his car in a space reserved for the handicapped. The news spread rapidly after a tow truck was called to remove the offending vehicle.

Aron had already miffed many people when he received an $8 million bonus last fall. The bonus came about the same time that Vail Resorts reported losing money and health-care benefits for employees were pared. Some have spoken out to defend Aron’s job performance, although even they concede he blundered badly in this matter.

Heavenly promises to make life anything but

STATELINE, Calif. — Officials at Heavenly Mountain Resort are promising to make life hellishly uncool for skiers and snowboarders who duck ropes.

The warning was issued after a 30-year-old snowboarder got caught in an avalanche of his making. Although he survived well enough, he could not free himself and so called authorities with his cell phone. He was retrieved after five hours, but fined $635.

"We are seriously going to go after these people with citations through the local authorities, charging them for any real expenses as well as terminating season passes," said Casey Blann, Heavenly’s vice president of mountain operations.

It was the ninth search in the South Lake Tahoe region this winter.

Alpine Club insurance rates triple in one year

CANMORE, Alberta — Insurance rates for Alpine Club of Canada have tripled since last year, causing the 97-year-old national mountaineering club to scramble for alternative sources of revenue. Insurance rates for high-risk activities have been on the increase since 9/11, explains the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Individual guiding companies contacted by the newspaper also said they were generally being hit hard by soaring insurance premiums – rates that most felt were unjustified. One company reported having to drop its youth program, because of the death of seven high school students from Calgary in an avalanche near Revelstoke last year.

Wilderness of mind is moving northward

THE WEST — Where is the West of wilderness? Richard Rodriguez, an author and essayist, says it has moved northward.

In an interview in Divide magazine, Rodriguez says that as places such as Colorado get more heavily developed, the "mythology of the wilderness is moving northward and has more to do with cold and ice and with Alaska than it has to do with the Pacific Coast. That is, the ultimate location of the West has moved northward."

The "loner and the isolated psyche" go to Wyoming and Idaho and Alaska to "select the secret space. It’s also where you have yuppies and skinheads living side by side," he adds.

Rodriguez also notes that Asians now account for a little more than 10 per cent of California’s population, and they are seen as the "new Calvinists who work and work and work, and who do not participate in the culture of the laid-back Westerners – the whole culture of leisure and the outdoors."

"In some sense, I think the Asian challenges California, and much of the West, with the idea of the Western idea. The Western idea is much closer to the Mexican sense of release and luxuriance. Or maybe even to the older Indian notions of taking from nature as you need it."

Who’s to blame for polluting Vail creek?

VAIL, Colo. – The trickiness of having a city near the headwaters of a mountain creek is illustrated at Vail, where the sanitation district has been fined $80,000 for polluting Gore Creek beyond acceptable levels for copper, silver, and mercury over a 10-year period.

Who was to blame? In the case of silver, a major source was the X-ray equipment at the local hospital, reports the Vail Daily. A result of the state’s pushing the locals was that the locals pushed the hospital into installing a more comprehensive silver-recovery system.

Mercury violations were caused by rinse water from dentists, who had installed silver-mercury fillings, a practice that has largely ended. However, the mercury standards are tight enough that a homeowner breaking a mercury thermometer into the water could cause the town’s standards to be violated.

The most fundamental issue is that Vail gulps a great deal of the water coming downstream, particularly in the low-flow months of early winter when the town’s 4,500 population can swell to nearly 10 times as large. As such, treated sewage released into the creek can swell the creek’s volume by 40 per cent.

Counties seek greater control over forests

TELLURIDE, Colo. — Keep your eye on this one. A coalition of eight counties in Southwest Colorado are banding together, at possibly $2,000 each but probably less, to hire a lobbyist, with the intent being to secure $1 million in federal funds for management of national forests.

But, instead of letting the feds call the shots, they want to make the decisions about where the money is used, largely for fire prevention and watershed programs. New Mexico and Arizona each received $1 million last year under this pilot program.

San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes, one of the people spearheading the project, said the intent is to create a bottoms-up management, instead of the usual top-down management by the Forest Service. That’s the battle cry of conservatives, but Goodtimes is a Green Party member and several of the counties in his region have at least a moderate tilt.

Ranch hand nailed for knives at airport

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — The nation’s tightened airport security at Christmas nailed a man who attempted to carry concealed knives on a flight from the Steamboat Springs area. It wasn’t however, what it at first seemed.

Authorities who arrested the man said he was simply trying to conceal the three knives to prevent them from being stolen while he travelled. He had disassembled a DVD/VCR player, and taped it inside a pocketknife and two knives used for gutting animals, along with several pieces of jewelry and trinkets that he intended as gifts for his family, explained The Steamboat Pilot.

"He seemed like a really nice guy," said Jody Lenahan, a local police chief, of the man, a Peruvian who had worked as a ranch hand in the area for 13 years. "He only speaks Spanish, but he knows how to say I’m sorry."

What’s next after Babes and Chicks with Picks?

OURAY, Colo. — First there was Babes in the Backcountry, and then came Chics with Picks. What’s next? Gals in the Glades?

Babes, a Breckenridge-based organization, was launched by Leslie Ross to encourage more women to enjoy the freedom and empowerment that adventures in the backcountry can impart. The organization prides itself on having women teach other women different outdoor skills, including winter backcountry protocol, steep-slope skiing, and mountaineering.

"Our courses are designed to challenge women to find their voice, especially in situations like backcountry skiing where it’s easy for women to defer to the strongest voice," Ross told the Telluride Watch.

Among the instructors is Nicole Greene, owner of the Silverton-based San Juan Outdoor School. "An all-female learning environment can be a very empowering experience for women because it can enable women to realize that they can go out into the backcountry with other women and don’t have to bring their boyfriends or husbands along to make the decisions for them," she says.

Something of a similar attitude is taken by Chicks with Picks, a business based in the ice-climbing mecca of Ouray. Founded in 1997 by Kim Reynolds and Kellie Day, the business’s slogan is, "Tired of being a belay slave?"

Pacific Tarn might be highest lake in U.S.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — Carl Drews thinks he has found a superlative among mountain lakes in the United States. Nowhere can he find evidence of a lake at a higher elevation than one at 13,420 feet near Breckenridge that he proposes to call Pacific Tarn.

In Washington state he did find a Lake Muriel, the unofficial name of a subterranean pool of water within the summit crater of Mt. Rainier. But it is too small and too temporary to deserve being called a lake, he says. Besides, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names doesn’t recognize it as a lake.

Too, while it’s reasonable to assume that if global warming continues, a higher lake may someday exist in Alaska, probably on Mount Wrangell, any moisture at such an elevation now would certainly be frozen year round.

Drews is a pathfinder in an obscure niche. While all the summits have been ascended, their trails well documented, apparently no one has set out to document high mountain lakes. Also, he is intrigued by what stories the lakes tell.

"After climbing 49 fourteeners in Colorado I’ve found that the tall summits offer a great view, but are pretty much places of just rock and snow," he says. "The lakes have water, and life, way up in the mountains! There are little microbes and other bugs as large as insects in the water, and usually some interesting plants nearby. The life-supporting properties of high lakes are a new realization for me after many years of hiking."

Ski area and Toyota enter marketing pact

ARAPAHOE BASIN, Colo. — Toyota is now the "Official Vehicle of the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area." As such, A-Basin will sponsor special events and will post advertising throughout the ski area. The signs must be taken down every night, in accordance with U.S. Forest Service regulations.

Toyota will offer promotional deals to skiers and snowboarders. For example, those who buy or receive maintenance work on a Toyota might get free lift tickets.

Toyota paid A-Basin an undisclosed amount to become the "official vehicle." In addition, A-Basin management will use Toyota vehicles.

No sub-zero cold during December

AVON, Colo. — For the first time in 33 years, perhaps longer, December came and went without the temperature once dipping below zero Fahrenheit at Avon, located at the foot of Beaver Creek. "It sure seems like the weather is getting warmer," veteran weather observer Frank Doll told the Vail Daily.