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Tag Archives: resorts

Backcountry Death Reported; Avalanche Experts Convene in Colorado

The buzz in the Colorado Rockies is all about the early season snowpack, ski area openings and October backcountry turns better than any in recent memory, according to locals like Scott Toepfer, a skier and avalanche forecaster with decades of experience in the mountains around Summit County. Already, several dozen slides have been reported or informally spotted, with more than 10 releases along the east side of the Tenmile Range, between Breckenridge and Frisco, Toepfer said. He added that warmer temperatures during the week helped settle the snow. Also in the Snowblog Grok today: The first backcountry fatality of the season occured this week; the annual Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop at Copper; and more early-season snowfall on the way. Click here for the full Grok.

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Not in My Backyard, You Don’t!

Beaver Creek is the kind of place where you ride escalators from the underground parking lots up to lifts, and when you finish riding at the end of the day, an attendant may hand you a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. In other words, it's all about amenities, and Beaver Creek brass apparently thought that a concrete-track alpine slide would be the right fit for the resort, which already exudes a Disneyland-in-the-mountains vibe. But as the Denver Post reported Tuesday, a group of influential homeowners, including former President Gerald Ford, are saying "Not so fast."

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Trade Up, Swap out and Get Ready

Shopping at swaps is a fascinating exercise in people-watching. The first customers are the specialists, They line up at the door hours before opening and they'll be looking for the spare lens to replace the cracked one in their 1980s-era Uvex bubble goggles, for tiny springs to repair their vintage 1969 Look Nevadas or Marker explo-do-mats and for that padded Spyder racing sweater they always wanted in high school but couldn't afford ... My favorite ski swap character is the guy who roams the floor in a hooded sweatshirt and fuzzy apres-ski boots wearing a walkman, clutching a pair of bamboo poles, all the while making little grunting sounds as he digs through piles of smelly used fleece and fuzzy headbands.

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Marketers Seek to Leverage ‘Mountain Mystique’

A recent press release from the Mountain Travel Symposium quotes Intrawest exec Perkins Miller, who wonders whether the mountain resort industry can "embrace mountain mystique and leverage it to generate more business." The potential pitfalls of supplanting local grassroots culture and economies with tourism on an industrial scale are clearly outlined by Hal K. Rothman (UNLV professor and New West columnist) in "Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the 20th Century West." But I don't think the participants in the Mountain Travel Symposium are taking a hard intellectual look at the ramifications of over-development and unchecked tourism growth.

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Road Trip Leads to Lynx, Hot Springs and Fresh Powder

Spring in the high country is full of urgency, as if the earth itself just can't wait. Tightly curled clusters of new columbine leaves poke out of the crusty snow, and right on schedule, a flock of mountain bluebirds flutters back into the neighborhood, circling and finally coming to rest on the split-rail fence like a tiara of sparkling sapphires. The eagerness of the season is mirrored by the restlessness of mountain town residents, eager to hit the road after a snowbound winter. For many of my friends and neighbors here in Summit County, that means a trip to Mexico or Moab, or even just a jaunt down to the Front Range for a climbing session on the sun-warmed rocks in Eldorado Canyon. But even though the siren song of the sun is strong, my son and I decide on a different route this year. We've been invited to watch the Colorado Division of Wildlife release a batch of transplanted Canada lynx deep in the San Juan Mountains, near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. We'll combine that with a visit to Wolf Creek Ski Area, and an overnight stay at a hot springs lodge in Pagosa Springs. Sure, it's a busman's holiday, but how often do you get a chance to see these magnificent and rare powder cats up close and personal?

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