Mountain News: Vail and Snowmass expanding 

click to enlarge NIFTY FIFTY Construction of a new gondola at Vail coincides with the 50th anniversary of the mountain this season.  Photo Courtesy of Vail.com
  • NIFTY FIFTY Construction of a new gondola at Vail coincides with the 50th anniversary of the mountain this season. Photo Courtesy of Vail.com

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The 10th Mountain Division huts of the Aspen-Vail-Breckenridge area are more forgiving of mistakes. Routes generally detour well away from avalanche paths and the trails are nearly as well marked as city streets. That said, even they can be difficult when the snow is falling hard, it's getting dark and temperatures plunge.

Ski country tries to regulate gas drilling

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Natural gas drilling and some potential for oil continues to be in the news at many ski towns in Colorado. The drilling potential is not in any of the ski towns proper, but rather in outlying areas, including some favorite forested playgrounds.

Such drilling has been happening for decades south of Durango. But the rigs are relatively new near Steamboat. Local officials want to be ready, to ensure impacts are limited.

Some landowners would just as soon government keeps its nose out of such affairs. Writing in Steamboat Today, Vonnie Frentress says some land and mineral owners see the oil and gas industry as business partners. "Diversified revenue sources can increase the financial strength of area agricultural operations."

From Aspen and its suburbs in the Roaring Fork Valley comes a different tune. There, the dominant worry has been of impacts to treasured spots from drilling.

The Forest Service owns much of the land west of Carbondale, including the site of the Sunlight Mountain ski area. For whatever reason, the Forest Service plans had allowed drilling rigs on the ski slopes. That oversight has been corrected.

Now, the Forest Service is proposing to reduce the acreages where leasing by oil companies would be allowed by 33 per cent. The Aspen Times reports that the oil and gas industry is none too happy. But neither are environmental and conservation groups. Peter Hart, spokesman for the Wilderness Workshop, said his group favors removing all lands not now leased from future leasing.

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