Mountain News: 

Polish students staff Four Seasons hotel

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Others mountain town employers explored providing jobs to displaced Gulf Coast residents. Vail Resorts investigated offering high-mountain jobs to New Orleans tourism industry workers. In the Steamboat area, coal mine operators ramping up for production of a new underground mine saw potential jobs for electricians, heavy-equipment operators, and mechanics. "We’re looking for people with good, strong values," said Ron Spangler, the human resources manager for Peabody Twentymile Coal Co., which has a mine about 20 miles from Steamboat. The Steamboat Pilot noted that the coal-mining jobs pay $60,000 a year.

A good time to buy?

ASPEN, Colo. — The real estate market continues to surge in Aspen and surrounding areas. The Aspen Times reports $1.35 billion in sales through August. At this rate, the Aspen area will surpass $2 billion in sales. Only twice before – in 2000 and in 2004 – has the Aspen area surpassed $1 billion.

Real estate agents monitoring sales also report that down-valley, Garfield County has been recording $1 million sales, reflecting the general ratcheting-up of prices.

A really good time to buy?

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Real estate prices in the various resort communities in the Lake Tahoe area have soared up to 30 per cent annually. This summer that pace has slowed.

"It’s not the feeding frenzy it was," one real estate agent, Carol Fromson, told Truckee’s Sierra Sun. There, home prices had appreciated 25 to 30 per cent, leaving few homes at less than $500,000.

In South Lake Tahoe, where the Heavenly ski area is located, the average selling price rose only 5 per cent this summer after a year in which prices lofted from $355,000 to an average of $425,000, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Real estate agents seem not particularly worried. Real estate agent Deb Howard of The South Shore predicts appreciation of 7 to 12 per cent during the next year as retiring baby boomers and 1031 tax-deferred exchange continue to drive the resort market.

Lightning strikes dirt biker

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — You may have heard that you can’t get hit by lightning while driving a car – because of the insulation of the rubber tires.

Actually, you can get hit by lighting while in a car – or on a motorcycle. And that’s exactly what happened when two brothers from Texas were riding their dirt bikes in the Taylor Park area near Crested Butte in early September. The brother who was not hit told police that he saw his bother go straight up and then fall back on the road. He was treated at a hospital in Gunnison, about an hour away, and then flown to Grand Junction for further treatment. The Crested Butte News did not disclose the extent of his injuries.

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