Mountain News: Drug testing for students near resort 

AVON, Colo. – Students at Battle Mountain High School who participate in extracurricular activities next year will be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing. More than 75 per cent of students are involved in after-school activities such as sports, music and speech.

The school is located between Vail and Avon. Officials with the Eagle County School District say they believe there is stronger peer-pressure in a resort area to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. While most of it is confined to weekends, some of it is spilling into the school week, including the high school itself, said Mike Gass, executive director of secondary education.

Officials are also seeing increased incidence as revealed by the number of minors caught possessing alcohol, for example.

“We are not seeing improvement. This is an attempt to change that,” said Gass.

The new policy was instigated partly by parents, some of whom have designated their homes as “safe” ones, where alcohol will not be provided.

The program will not be unique. One other high school in Colorado, Ignacio, located in the state’s southwest corner, has had drug and alcohol testing for 10 years. Eagle County school officials have also communicated with counterparts at schools in Georgia.

Because of its proximity to the Vail and Beaver Creek-based tourism economy, Battle Mountain has long had a reputation as a place of greater drug and alcohol use. Greater transience is also part of the story, says Gass.

No drug testing, however, will be done at Eagle Valley High School, located at Gypsum, about 30 miles west


Slides on hold

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – Plans for alpine slides at both the Beaver Creek and Vail ski areas are on hold.

The slide at Beaver Creek proposed by the resort operator, Vail Resorts, has been blocked by homeowners, who say the noise and appearance are inappropriate for the resort.

An alpine coaster on Vail Mountain is on the back burner at U.S. Forest Service offices as agency employees pay attention first to proposals for new chairlifts and snowmaking. That coaster would have steel rails that carry two-person sleds on a 3,000-foot track at Adventure Ridge, the mountain-top entertainment complex. Night tubing and other amusements are also offered at the centre, which is located at the top of the gondola.

The Vail plan is something of a low-level battleground for competing ideologies about how public lands should be used. Colorado Wild, an activist group, objects to the coaster as an “urban-type recreation.”

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