Mountain News: 

Aspen defends environmental stance

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JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — You may have noticed that the world of late has been full of “tipping points.” This old figure of speech is being heard in everyday conversation, including those in resort areas.

One tipping point in resort areas seems to be when 40 per cent of the workforce commutes. So says Christine Walker, executive director of the Teton County Housing authority. And if that is correct, Jackson Hole is rapidly moving toward losing its “soul,” to use another currently popular expression.

A study found that only 7 per cent of workers commuted from outside Jackson Hole in 1990. That grew to 20 per cent by the century’s turn, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide, and now it’s up to 33 per cent.

In the case of Jackson Hole, most workers come from across Teton Pass from the Alta, Driggs, and Victor areas. This is an hour from Jackson Hole, and prices there are lower and the lots (given the same price) much bigger and the mountain backdrop just as magnificent.

Winter housing crunch starts

ASPEN, Colo. — Seasonal housing is tightening up rapidly in Aspen. The largest employer, the Aspen Skiing Co., which employees 2,000 during winter, has already filled up its 300 available beds and is scouting out locations down-valley 20 miles.

Seasonal housing complexes in Aspen managed by the City of Aspen and Pitkin County are also rapidly filling, reports The Aspen Times. At one project, called the Marolt Ranch, 18 of the 94 available units were snatched within a week by workers who paid nearly $3,000 for first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit. The complex is expected to be full, or nearly so, by Nov. 1. A similar flurry of signed-cheques is reported at Burlingame Housing. “I don’t think I’m going to have anything left by the end of the month, if even then,” said manager Mary Ferguson.

Aspen’s housing market in 2002-03 was so slack that affordable housing was available even during ski season. By last year a more familiar story had returned. The crunch came to a head, says the Times, when a group of young, foreign workers crowded into the Aspen City Council chamber to bemoan sleeping on couches while looking for housing.

Part-time population rises 27%

CANMORE, Alberta – The non-permanent population in Canmore continues to rise. A census this year revealed the non-permanent population had grown 27 per cent in the last year, and doubled since 2003.

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