California looking more like Colorado |

California looking more like Colorado

Allen BestTRUCKEE, Calif. - People in the Rocky Mountains have long feared "Californication," as sprawl-type development is often called. In the r

The Sierra Nevada is being changed in ways that could be called “Coloradification.” Trends 10 to 20 years old in the resorts along the I-70 corridor of Colorado are now playing out in the Truckee-Lake Tahoe area.For example, 10 years after Vail got a modern traffic roundabout, work is being completed on a Truckee’s first roundabout.Next, finishing touches are being applied to a pedestrian base village at Northstar-at-Tahoe, a ski area. As was done at Beaver Creek, it will have an ice-skating rink (using synthetic ice in summer) and many places to spend money , such as clothing stores and restaurants. Over two-thirds of the 60,000 square feet of commercial space has been leased. As well, 100 condominiums are going on line in the first of several phases.Project developers Booth Creek Ski Holdings and East West Partners are both based in Eagle County.Will gondola take Whistler’s soul?WHISTLER, B.C. – Whistler continues to wonder how it can return to the good-old-days, when business was always growing. The downturn has lasted four years, and forecasts for this winter are short of ebullient.One answer is the return of passenger rail service next spring, says Bob Barnett, editor of Pique newsmagazine, and another should be a peak-to-peak gondola planned by Intrawest. While the gondola has been derided as a Disneyland-type ride, he seems to think there’s nothing wrong with it.”The idea that Whistler is in business often seems to run counter to the hedonistic nature of skiing and boarding and the spiritual nature of the mountains,” he notes. “‘The town is losing its soul,’ is a refrain that has been heard since the mid-’70s, when a conscious decision was made to turn Whistler into a destination resort.”The gondola is neither a silver bullet, nor is it a soul-robbing decision that will make Whistler less of a ski town, he adds. “The soul of a town exists in the people who live there, which is why the economy, affordability and housing are always issues in Whistler.” Vail, Colorado

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