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Business, thin air a bad mix?

Allen Best

DENVER ” Don’t mix fun and business at ski resorts. That seems to be the message from a book called “Disney War” by David Kipen, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kipen says Michael Eisner, chief executive of Walt Disney Co., made three critical errors that cost the company billions of dollars while he vacationed at mountain resorts. Eisener, he says, made his hastiest and worst decisions while in Aspen or Sun Valley.

“Management by altitude sicknesss is not a prescription for good corporate governance,” he writes.



The Denver Post found additional evidence for lapses of judgment in mountain resorts. “There’s no question you aren’t operating at full capacity,” said Dr. Robert Roach, who directs research at the Colorado Center for Altitude Medicine and Physiology in Denver.

Just the same, it might be useful to remember that Sun Valley is only slightly higher than Denver. And Whistler is the same elevation of Tucson, Ariz.

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So the elevation of vacation and not the hypoxia of thin air might be the more rationale explanation of why Disney’s chief made some Mickey Mouse decisions.

DURANGO ” Add Durango to the list of communities planning to muck around in its local river to make it more interesting for kayakers.

Calls for such tinkering were sounded as early as 1985, but the thinking stepped up several years ago. That has yielded a plan that proposes 10 recreational improvements in the Animas River at a cost of $50,000.



The river is anything but natural, says John Bennan, a kayaker and a member of the river task force. He sees it more like a tree that must periodically be pruned.

“You can’t just let the river do its thing all the time,” he says.

The tinkering – such as has now been done by a dozen or so Colorado mountain towns, including Vail – will make it more recreation friendly, he says.

But another point of view comes from Michael Black, a river guide for 25 years.

“There are no biological reasons for the modifications,” he says. “The fisheries are fine; the river’s fine,” he told the Durango Telegraph.

Instead, he predicts that mucking in the river could stir up toxic sediments from old smelters have settled into the river bottom.

Proponents respond that little sediments will be stirred up.

Nonetheless, they take his criticism seriously enough to consider studying the sediments.

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