Mountain News: 

Banff hospital hopes to explore ‘wellness’

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Finally, Squaw Pass must prove to have dependable snow, another Achilles heel that led to its closing more than 25 years ago. While the ski area is high enough, with a base area at 9,300 feet, or the same as Keystone, it is located on the Eastern Slope, far from the Continental Divide. As such, snow tends to be sparse and uneven. The new owner, Les Pettit, who purchased the ski area for $200,000, has installed snowmaking. Remaining to be seen is whether it’s enough.

Squaw Pass will have a new name, to be announced later this week.

Ski insurance taking off

ASPEN, Colo. — Ski insurance is gaining fans in Aspen and elsewhere. At Aspen and a projected 21 other ski areas this winter, customers can buy insurance on lift tickets, whether for one day or for season passes. The cost is a flat rate of 6 per cent.

If the pass cannot be used, whether because of medical injury on or off the slopes, the value of the remaining use of the pass is returned, as are any evacuation fees provoked by a skiing injury.

Several dozen people purchased the insurance when it was first offered three years ago at Aspen, but this year 500 purchasers are expected. The average age is 52. The insurance is offered to recreation skiers 70 and younger.

$12 million for open space

EDWARDS, Colo. — The Vail Valley Foundation has come up with the $12 million necessary to preclude development of a 72-acre parcel at Edwards. The property, some of which was formerly used as a gravel pit operation, is the largest undeveloped portion of land along Interstate 70 in the upper Eagle Valley.

Half of the money comes from the coffers of Eagle County government, with the balance from private donations secured by the foundation, a group traditionally known for its role in landing and hosting World Cup and other ski races. A key figure in the foundation is Harry Frampton, the managing partner in East West Partners, a Beaver Creek-based developer of high-end homes from Summit County to Truckee.

The property is to be given a new name, Eagle River Preserve. A few trails, picnic grounds and perhaps a shelter will be allowed on the site, but ball fields and other such improvements will not.

Some observers thought $12 million was far too much for the property, and urged the money instead be used for purchases of outlying areas. But Bobby Warner, a developer in Edwards, said in retrospect it will be viewed as the right thing to do, similar to a major open space purchase in Vail called Ford Park that was done in the late 1970s.

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