Call it spring – not mud season |

Call it spring – not mud season

Allen Best

CRESTED BUTTE – If you change the name of it, will it somehow become different?Writing in the Crested Butte News, Matthew Scalad suggested scrapping the name “off-season” or “shoulder season” and instead using the more traditional “spring” when describing that bridge between winter and full-blown summer.And spring, agrees John Norton, chief executive ski mountain, isn’t such a bad time to be in the mountains, even at 9,000 feet and above. It’s all there except fly-fishing, he says.In fact, there wasn’t much mud in mud-season this spring even in those places where asphalt and concrete haven’t totally replaced dirt. At Winter Park, among the least gussied up of the ski towns, dust was making inroads by late April. Boomers will create 2010 waveWHISTLER, B.C. Whistler is intently looking at 2010, when it hosts the Winter Olympics. But Bob Barnett, editor of Pique newsmagazine, points out that the date is a turning point for another and equally important reason.By that date, a majority of baby boomers are expected to begin retiring. For the first time ever, he says, the number of people leaving the workforce will exceed the number of people in the 15-24 age group entering the workforce.This demographic ripple that began with the atomic bombs being dropped on Japan is permeating resort valleys across the West, of course. In Canada, this change will have tremendous repercussions for the health care system that is, says Barnett, “already on life support.”This also creates huge job opportunities and scarcities. British Columbia already lacks skilled tradesman for the construction expected as the province gears up for the Olympics. One million job openings are projected for the next decade.Building permits on rise this yearPARK CITY, Utah The economic lull is over. Building activity is returning to more robust levels once again in many resort towns across the West.For example, Park City reports building permits worth nearly $21 million through April this year, compared to about $12 million for the same months last year. In Mountain Village, the on-mountain town at Telluride, construction levels have nearly tripled this year compared to last.

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