Mountain News: 

Utah beats old skier record by 12 per cent

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Demographic shifts analyzed

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Although casinos and that big, blue lake are a major part of the allure at Tahoe, and skiing a much lesser part of the story, the demographic wrinkles there are similar to ski towns. A major concern in recent years has been the proliferation of second homes, which constitute up to 75 per cent of homes in some areas of South Lake Tahoe.

To a forum devoted to this and similar economic issues, Joel Kotkin, author of "The City: A Global History," came to report that the population decline is probably only temporary. He predicts the exodus from Tahoe could reverse as people move permanently to vacation spots.

Kotkin urged city leaders in South Lake Tahoe to target young families, a group that has shied away from resort towns, at least in ski resorts of the Rocky Mountains. He also urged them to key on "downshifting boomers," which he defined as people in their 50s who are ready to move for improved quality-of-life reasons.

He also noted a job shift. While San Francisco has lost 8 per cent in jobs, Sacramento has gained 2.44 per cent and the Reno area has gained 4.81 per cent during the last five years. Kotkin surmised people will move to smaller towns, and as they do the affordable housing issue will accelerate there even as immigrants move to the suburbs of cities.

Wind power does brisk business

DURANGO, Colo. — The amount of wind power purchased by customers of La Plata Energy Association, the Durango-based electrical co-operative, has nearly tripled in the last year and a half. The average additional cost to the households is $17.50 per month. The wind comes from Wyoming, notes the Durango Herald.

Can bears unscrew trash cans?

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A volunteer group called the Bear League is promoting the use of cans that they claim are bear proof. They have screw-on lids and cost only $70. Locals in the group say bear-proof cans normally cost $800 to $1,200, although other towns with longer history of problems with bears report much less cost for such cans. A representative of a trash company reserved judgment. The Tahoe Daily Tribune notes that residents were alarmed after three bears were killed after vandalizing a vacation cabin.

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