Mountain News 

Aspen, Sun Peaks set new industry standard

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These new rails surpass those of a railroad in Peru that reach 15,698 feet, reports Salida’s Colorado Central Magazine.

In the United States, Colorado owns all the high-elevation records. While a cog railroad reaches the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak, the highest regular rails are at an elevation of 11,000, on an excursion train out of Leadville.

In the same Leadville-Vail area, rails reach 10,239 feet at Tennessee Pass, although they have seen little use since 1997. As such, the Moffat Tunnel, located at Winter Park, has the distinction of being the highest standard-gauge through-route rails, reaching an elevation of 9,257 feet.

Living high in the Rockes

VAIL, Colo. — Doug Wooldridge has a lofty claim. He’s the highest year-round resident in the Vail area, with a home at 11,220 feet.

Wooldridge lives in Two Elk, the swank cafeteria atop Vail Mountain. Nobody had lived in the cafeteria when the original Two Elk burned as a result of arson in 1998, but the ski area operator, Vail Resorts, decided to put somebody in the rebuilt cafeteria to improve security.

It’s not an easy jaunt to the grocery store. "There’s no such thing as running down to the 7-Eleven for a quart of milk," he told the Vail Daily. On the other hand, he does get in 50 to 60 days of skiing a year, despite often working from 6 a.m. to 8 or 9 at night during winter. He supervises the 100 employees at the cafeteria and warming hut.

At first, with stark memories of the fire, Wooldridge says he was easily spooked at the cavernous facility, but has now become comfortable.

The Summit Daily News notes that in the wake of the 1998 fires, the other ski areas owned by Vail Resorts increased their security measures. Law enforcement officials say that while the potential of sabotage against a ski area has receded, the potential for other types of sabotage and also terrorism is "never off the radar screen."

Walgreens under scrutiny

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Last year Steamboat Springs passed a law that mandates special scrutiny of big-box stores, defined as those of more than 12,000 square feet. Walgreens, with a planned store of not quite 15,000 square feet, is the first to undergo that increased scrutiny.

The Steamboat Pilot reports the developer plans dedicated employee housing. The upgraded plans also call for the Walgreens to look more upscale than the typical stores found in urban and suburban America: wood siding, timbered gables, and extensive use of stone veneer.

Federal money for remediation

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