Mountain News: Park City boosting marketing to bikers 

click to enlarge BIKE BATTLE Park City wants to attract more mountain bike riders and the city has its sites on Moab's popularity as a mountain bike destination. Photo by John French
  • BIKE BATTLE Park City wants to attract more mountain bike riders and the city has its sites on Moab's popularity as a mountain bike destination. Photo by John French

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JACKSON, Wyo. — The Teton County-Jackson Recreation Center will be getting a new solar hot-water system.

Recreation officials say the solar system is supposed to reduce the amount of natural gas used to heat the pool and other components of the center by 35 per cent. That should reduce the annual cost of natural gas from $130,000 to $45,000, they tell the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

A majority of the money for the project comes from a state grant, but the county government also allocated several hundred thousand dollars of moneys paid by developers who don't use energy-efficient building practices.

High and dry makes for a lot of electricity

ALAMOSA, Colo. — If you look at maps depicting the best places for solar radiation in the United States, the Mojave Desert of Arizona and California is colored burgundy.

Colorado's San Luis Valley is nearly as good. The valley is broad and high, bordered by the San Juan Mountains on the west and the Sangre de Cristo Range on the east. Clouds are rare at Alamosa, in the valley's center, despite being plentiful at Wolf Creek, an hour west and usually the leader in snowfall accumulations among Colorado resorts.

All of this contributed to the decision by Cogentrix Energy to build a concentrating photovoltaic facility in the valley. The site is at 2,400 metres in elevation, and solar intensity is greater at higher elevations. The location can generate 1,000 watts per square metre, only slightly less than the solar gain at locations in the Mojave Desert.

Cogentrix Energy expects to produce enough power for 6,500 homes.

A news release from the company points out that some of the technology employed at the concentrated solar power facility was developed as part of the U.S. space program.

But the company also got a $90.6 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. Altogether, the agency has delivered $7.5 billion in loan guarantees to boost solar generation projects.

Little Nell no longer on table at Snowmass

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. — After the collapse of the real estate market in 2007-2009, there was much talk about just what would constitute the "new normal."

The recession had proved that there was indeed a limit to the parade of rich people to which all the destination mountain resorts of the west cater.

That question of what constitutes the "new normal" remains front and centre as town officials in Snowmass Village reconstitute plans for the half-finished real estate development called Base Village.

Snowmass is Aspen's money-maker, the place where 75 per cent of "Aspen" skiers ski. In a way, it is Aspen's answer to Vail Mountain. And Base Village, a joint project of the Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest when approved by local officials, was the answer to increasing competition from places like Deer Valley and Beaver Creek. The project aimed to deliver an improved lodging base as well as create greater economic vitality altogether.

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