Alpine Meadows tries new ticket strategy |

Alpine Meadows tries new ticket strategy

Bob Berwyn

Countering the trend of cheaper season passes and more expensive day tickets, Alpine Meadows has announced it will slash daily ticket prices by one-third, from $53 to $36, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.At the same time, the area plans to cap the number of skiers on the slopes on peak days to improve the quality of the experience. Officials at the resort said they hope to boost skier and snowboard numbers with the move. Lower ticket prices may help lure ex-skiers back to the slopes, resort officials said.’Super-size’ tickets in AustriaThe Salzburg ski region, covering 22 areas in the Austrian Alps, is offering a new &quotSuperski Card,&quot providing access to 90 resorts with a combined 850 lifts and 2,500 kilometers of trails, according to Snow24, an electronic ski newsletter focusing on Europe and the Southern Hemisphere.The mega ski pass is available for a three-day minimum, up to a maximum of 12 days, and a Swatch access card or similar data storage devise is required to electronically charge the ticket.For this season, the Superski Card covers several new areas, including Kitzbhel, home of the famed Hahnenkamm downhill, as well as the Weisee glacier ski area. A “locals&quot version for area residents is also available, valid for any 10 days during the season.Australian resorts eye climate changeSnow24 also reports that snowmaking is the answer to potential climatic challenges for the Australian ski industry, according to a recent report released by the Australian Ski Areas Association (ASAA).The industry trade group worked with a government environmental agency to investigate the impact of climate change, and produced a report that &quothighlighted the need for behavioural change in relation to human impact on the natural environment.&quotAustralian ski industry officials said they were &quotpleased&quot that the joint report recognized that advances in snowmaking technology &quotwill ensure a sustainable alpine industry into the future.&quot The ASAA is also developing a policy calling on member resorts to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Tree sitters delay ski expansionThe Boston Globe reports that a pair of tree sitters has delayed a planned expansion at Wachusett Mountain by perching themselves in two 100-foot tall Northern red oaks, using a tactic familiar to redwood loggers in California, but rarely seen in the East.The Earth First! protesters have been living on small platforms in the trees since Aug. 1 and have vowed to stay in the treetops for as long as they can. But according to the Globe, a showdown was imminent in mid-September, as construction crews brought their heavy machinery to the scene, triggering a verbal skirmish with ground-based protesters.The 20-acre expansion includes cutting two new trails on 12.5 acres, but researchers in 1995 confirmed the presence of rare old-growth trees on the upper slopes of the ski area, prompting environmental concerns. Some of the trees are more than three centuries old. Ski area officials agreed not to cut any of the old-growth trees and promised to establish a 500-foot buffer. State officials approved the expansion and a court recently rejected the final appeal, prompting the civil disobedience by Earth First!Tahoe Olympic coalition formedThe Sierra Sun reports that the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition has formed to raise funds and run a public relations campaign in support of a 2014 Olympic bid.True to form, backers say hosting the Olympics would be a boost for the entire area, while watchdog groups have already expressed concern about potential environmental impacts. Among the biggest worries would be the expected wave of development, according to officials with Keep Tahoe Blue.Preliminary plans call for splitting the events, with some competitions at the ski areas and resorts around the lake, while indoor events could take place in the Reno area. The group backing the bid will make a formal pitch to the U.S. Olympic Committee in October.Feds fund Aspen-area park-and-ridesAccording to the Aspen Times, Congress may allocate up to $2 million for park-and-ride facilities in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs thanks at least in part to U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis. Local communities must match the funds in order to be eligible for the grants.The Times reports that the lots are part of a proposed regional transit project aimed at making public transit more convenient. Local transit authorities are also working with U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., to make sure the funding is included in the Senate Appropriations bill. The Roaring Fork Transit Authority carries about 4 million passengers per year, according to the Times.Durango gets record rainfallAn early September storm that soaked much of Colorado brought what could be record rainfalls to Durango, although the Durango Herald reported that there is some confusion as to what constitutes an &quotofficial&quot record.An automated monitor at the Durango Airport registered 3.68 inches of rain, but National Weather Service officials say they need 30 years worth of data from the same location to declare an official record. Rainfall has only been measured at the airport for five years. A weather watcher based in the city of Durango reported 1.8 inches of rainfall from the same storm, but that location has only been an official site since 1991.San Juan towns oppose USFS developmentPlans by the Forest Service to re-develop a primitive campground near Molas Pass, along U.S. Highway 550, have run into opposition from local officials. The Durango Herald reports.Silverton town councilors and San Juan County commissioners are supporting an appeal of the project by a local grassroots group. The development project is part of the controversial Forest Service fee demo program, and opponents say needed improvement to the site could be done on a smaller scale and at a lower cost than the agency proposal. The Forest Service plan was formally appealed by the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, the state’s leading anti-fee demo group.Aspen SkiCo backs climate change actionThe Aspen Skiing Company has stated its support for the bipartisan McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, a measure that would encourage major industrial emitters to invest in, and even profit from, the most cost-effective means to reduce emissions.&quotThere are good reasons for us to be concerned about climate change,&quot said Pat O’Donnell, president and CEO, Aspen Skiing Company. &quotScientific models suggest that as warming continues, we will experience increased extreme weather events, warmer nights, wetter shoulder seasons, and reduced weather predictability. All of these changes affect our industry.&quot&quotWe’ve come to the conclusion that efforts to reduce our own emissions won’t solve the problem. We need political action on this issue, and we need it now,&quot said Auden Schendler, director of environmental affairs, Aspen Skiing Company. &quotGiven the solid scientific information we have on climate change, it makes sense for the ski industry to support reasonable, bipartisan, economically feasible action to address this problem before it begins to affect Aspen/Snowmass.&quot

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