Mountain News: Canary chirps but none too loudly 

click to enlarge Aspen revenue Aspen Skiing Co. increased revenue last season despite uncooperative weather. File photo
  • Aspen revenue Aspen Skiing Co. increased revenue last season despite uncooperative weather. File photo

ASPEN, Colo. — In 2005, the city of Aspen released a climate-change manifesto, called the Canary Initiative, which vowed to slash community greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2020.

The charter document identified Aspen and other mountain communities as the canary in the coal mine for global warming. The goal asserted then was to aggressively reduce Aspen's carbon footprint and to serve as a model.

In what could be viewed as a mid-term, Aspen certainly isn't flunking but it has a ways to go. It has reduced greenhouse gas emission six per cent as of 2011 when compared to the 2004 baseline. Elyse Hottel, the city's environmental initiatives project coordinator, said the carbon footprint needed to be down 11 per cent by now.

In the last four years, reports the Aspen Daily News, the major gains were recorded in reduced emissions of methane from the landfill and reduced electricity. However, the emissions caused by burning of fossil fuels for air and ground transportation were up, and so were the heating and other power needs of buildings.

High-end hotels yield more REsales

PARK CITY, Utah — Through the Great Recession, construction continued in Park City as several major high-end hotels were built or completed. As well, one previously completed condominium complex was converted into a Hyatt-branded hotel.

The Park Record explains that the flood of new guests at these top-dollar properties is yielding high-end real estate buyers.

"I do think we are impacting the local Park City real estate market in a positive way," said Ed Rehill, director of sales for Montage Residences Deer Valley, which is associated with one of the new top-dollar hotels.

"There is this great synergy provided by the brands here, and collectively we are bringing in a lot of new buyers to Park City who otherwise would not have come. They would have gone to Aspen or Vail or somewhere else," he added.

Branding matters, say developers."When we compared Park City to other similar quality places in Colorado and in Canada, we noticed there were a lot fewer branded projects than there are in some of those other places," said Cory Williams, a partner in the SDI Realty Group, a Salt Lake City-based resort and commercial development company that allied its condominiums with Hyatt. "The market wanted branded residences versus the one-off boutiques like we had."

Operators not only bring the brand names, but also have a sizable amount of money dedicated to marketing and advertising. Half of the people staying at the new St. Regis Deer Valley had never even been in Utah before.

"There is definitely significance, having these names in town," said Bill Coleman, a Prudential Real Estate Broker and long-time resident of Park City, "especially when you put it into a larger perspective, the fact that we are a ski town trying to become famous, and world famous at that."

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