Mountain News: $50m promised for Park City and Canyons 

click to enlarge WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM - FRESH POWDER  The Easter Egg Bowl at The Canyons in Park City, Utah.

PARK CITY, Utah – Vail Resorts announced on Monday that it will invest $50 million in capital improvements at Park City and Canyons in making it the largest ski resort in the United States as measured by acreage.

Assuming approval by local authorities, the two ski areas will be connected by an eight-passenger high-speed gondola. In addition, two existing lifts will be upgraded and restaurants will be improved or expanded.

Not least, the Colorado-based company will invest $5 million in "catch up" maintenance and upgrades at Park City and improve snowmaking in a vital interconnect area.

Blaise Carrig, president of the mountain division of Vail resorts, called it "one of the most ambitious and impactful plans undertaken at any resort in industry history."

With the interconnection, the two resorts can boast 7,300 acres, pushing Park City/Canyons ahead of Big Sky's 5,750 and Vail Mountain's 5,289. Whistler Blackcomb, however, will remain numero uno in América del Norte at 8,171 acres.

What will this combined ski area be called? No word from Vail on that just yet.

Snow King Mtn. gets needed investment

JACKSON, Wyo. – Finally, some breathing room for Jackson Hole's "other" ski area.

Snow King Mountain, unlike the bigger ski area with the couloirs and so forth, is within the town of Jackson. It's respectably steep and within six blocks of the famous elk-antlered arches of town square.

For years the ski area has lost money during winter, $500,000 annually, according to the owners, who made their case public several years ago.

Non-profit public ownership was one option. Bridger Bowl near Bozeman, Mont.; Bogus Basin near Boise, Idaho; and Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, Colo., are all operated by non-profits.

In Jackson Hole, public or non-profit ownership didn't look like viable options. Instead, new investors were recruited, and now they are putting $8 million toward paying off debt.

"The infusion of cash will clear the way for more investment and new development," explains the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

Crucial to the investment was the decision by the town council to fast-track approval of an alpine coaster on private land owned by the resort at the base of the mountain. The partners intend to also invest in a lift extension on the mountain.

Vail gets specialized heart lab, physicians

VAIL, Colo. – No more helicopter flights to Denver for those on the edge of death from cardiac arrest in Vail. Vail Valley Medical Center in January will have a state-of-the-art cath lab and two coronary experts.

One of those physicians, Dr. Jerry Greenberg, specializes in interventional cardiology, and the other, Dr. Nelson Prager, specializes in electrophysiology, heart rhythm disturbances, and coronary artery disease.

"As Vail's aging population requires greater healthcare support and expanded services, the hospital is responding to accommodate this need," says Doris Kirchner, chief executive of the hospital.

New brewer seeks to reverse Colorado flow

FAIRPLAY, Colo. – The Western Slope of Colorado gets about 80 per cent of the precipitation in Colorado, but 30-some tunnels, canals, and other conveyances divert water eastward across the Continental Divide.

The new South Park Brewing Co. hopes to reverse that flow, at least a small bit. The new craft brewer is located in Fairplay, which is 34 miles (54 km) from Breckenridge but across the Continental Divide. Like most everything in Fairplay, the brewery hopes to make money by selling its beers in Breckenridge and elsewhere in Summit County.

This new craft brewery is part of a major trend. The Brewers Association says the United States has 3,100 breweries, nearly all of them low-volume in production, with another 2,000 now being planned or under development.

Realty exec accused of embezzling $415,000

DILLON, Colo. – Police recently arrested the long-time chief executive of the real estate organization in Summit County and charged her with grubbing money from the cookie jar.

Prosecutors, according to the Summit Daily News, allege that Sue Ann Frank, who headed the Summit Association of Realtors for 20 years, wrote cheques and made unauthorized fund transfers to steal $415,000. She had been earning an annual salary of just under $100,000.

District Attorney Bruce Brown points to two other high-profile embezzlements along the I-70 corridor of late. One individual was convicted of attempting to steal from the Vail-based Eagle Valley Rotary Club, while the second individual stole from the Breckenridge Film Festival.

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