Mountain News: 

Vail to emphasize ethnic diversity

VAIL, Colo. — Vail Resorts plans to put some colour on its websites, advertisements, and other collateral material. To that end, photographers have been taking photographs of African-Americans, Hispanics, and other racial minorities on the ski slopes.

This is part of a greater drive toward inclusivity being pushed by Roberto Moreno, a Denver-based former ski instructor and ski patroller. Moreno argues that ski areas have perhaps unwittingly turned a cold shoulder on racial minorities, failing to extend a welcoming hand. One way of extending that hand, he says, is to have people of colour in front-line positions, such as is in ski schools and at ticket windows. But he also argues that ski areas need to make racial minorities feel welcome by showing them on websites.

Bill Jensen, the chief operating officer for Vail Mountain, has been supportive of Moreno’s work, and this year gave 2,000 lift ticket/lesson/and rental packages to Moreno’s organization, Alpino. Copper Mountain, Eldora, and other ski areas in Colorado have given another 2,000 similar packages, and next year Moreno expects Steamboat Springs to participate.

Moreno points out that if ski areas hope to boost their numbers after 27 years of so-so growth, they will have to reach out to minorities, whose populations are growing more rapidly than the general population rate. In Denver proper (but not the Denver metropolitan area), the various minorities collectively are now the majority.

Although Vail Mountain still appeals to the world’s wealthiest skiers, it will join California’s Mountain High, which caters to the hip-hop culture kids from nearby Los Angeles, and New York’s Hunter Mountain as being one of the few ski areas to show racial minorities on skiing websites. Ski areas have had the most success and have worked hardest at reaching out to Asian-Americans, who have income and educational levels most close to those of the ski industry’s traditional market.

Merchants call for affordability

TELLURIDE, Colo. — Merchants distressed about rising rents in Telluride are appealing to town officials to tip the playing field their way, perhaps by creating deed-restricted commercial space or restricting existing commercial space to current uses.

Telluride Mayor John Pryor is reluctant to directly assume the task of managing the economy, but the idea is being reviewed in a town planning effort.

While mandating "affordable retailing" is a new frontier, city and county governments in this country have long engaged in attempting to manage their economies. Transportation, from subsidized direct flight programs to subsidized parking garages, are the most obvious example, but similar are marketing programs and affordable housing.

Aspen unveils Canary Initiative

ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen’s city government has adopted a plan that declares it believes global warming is a problem.

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