Gunnison County opposes Referendum A
The Crested Butte News reports that the Gunnison County commissioners have approved a resolution that puts the county on record in opposition to Referendum A, a ballot measure that would create a new $2 billion financing mechanism for water projects.Many West Slope communities see the measure as a water grab that could result in new, unmitigated diversions to the Front Range. Gunnison Basin residents are particularly concerned that the measure could lead to construction of the long-controversial Union Basin storage proposal.Ski maker moves to SilvertonSilverton’s budding winter economy could get another boost as ScottyBob’s Handcrafted Skis announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in a former grocery store on the town’s main street.The company will start building its namesake telemark ski the ScottyBob in Silverton in the next few months. Co-owner Dave "Mazz" Mazzarella said it will be the largest ski-making facility in the United States, according to the Durango Herald.Local economic development officials say it’s the first manufacturing business to open in Silverton in at least five years and could help alleviate seasonal unemployment in the town. For the last two years, the skis have been built in Denver.Steamboat eyes recreational water rightsSteamboat Springs could join other Colorado towns that have claimed water rights for kayak play parks, the Steamboat Pilot & Today reports. As a first step, the town council will hire an engineer to determine how much water it should ask for.The study will show how much water the city would need to sustain river activities, including kayaking to tubing and fly-fishing. Those water rights would preserve in-stream water flows through downtown Steamboat, protecting them against depletion by future diversions.In a split three-three vote, the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the right of the communities of Vail, Breckenridge and Golden to hold instream flow rights for recreational purposes. Attorneys told the town it could expect to spend between $50,000 to $100,000 to obtain the rights.Earth First! activists protest at Wachusett MountainEnvironmental activists have focused their attention on a ski area expansion back East. The Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel & Enterprise reports that Earth First! protestors have been illegally tree-sitting at Wachusett Mountain for the past month.The Sierra Club has also involved itself, writing a letter to ski area officials to ask how and why trees in an area proposed for an alpine park were downed. According to the Sentinel & Enterprise, ski area attorneys said the trees fell naturally due to winter snows. The only tree cutting that was done was apparently by protestors building a tree house.The attorney further told the Sierra Club that it would be "well advised to have nothing whatsoever to do with the illegal trespass and vandalism now occurring at the ski area." A resort official said the protestors may have cut the tree in order to implicate the ski area, according to the Sentinel & Enterprise.New garb for Aspen employeesEmployees of the Aspen Skiing Co. will sport a new up-to-date look for the coming season, the Aspen Daily News reports. The SkiCo, as it’s locally known, has ordered some 2,000 new uniforms from RLX Polo to modernize the look of the company.The Daily News described the changes as part of an effort to alter a "stuffy image." Aspen Mountain was one of the last major ski resorts to embrace snowboarding and at the same time loosened grooming policies governing hairstyles, beards, tattoos and piercings.VP’s Jackson stay scrutinizedThe Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that, for the second time this month, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Secret Service detail may have violated local wildlife preservation rules.Several weeks ago, helicopters associated with Cheney’s entourage buzzed a restricted area. Then, the News and Guide reports, a rafting party carrying Secret Service agents stopped in a section of the Snake River where even slowing down is prohibited due to concerns about bald eagle nesting sites.Secret Service agents said they would look into the situation, explaining that they need to do their job, but want to do so without circumventing local rules and regulations or upsetting local residents.Whistler considers snowmobile banThe Whistler Question reports that local officials will study a ban on the operation of non-commercial snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and unlicensed motorcycles anywhere within municipal boundaries. The municipal council previously passed a noise ordinance that would prohibit the use of personal watercraft and snowmobiles on Whistler’s lakes.SolVista snowmaking water supply ensuredA complicated legal wrangle between the Silver Creek Water and Sanitation District and SolVista Resort won’t have any effect on SolVista’s ability to purchase snowmaking water, the Grand Lake Prospector reports.The water and sanitation district is suing the resort over alleged breaches in agreements related to SolVista’s recent annexation to Granby. But the district recently voted to continue delivering the water, regardless of the lawsuits. Resort officials had previously expressed concern that the legal battle could interfere with ski area’s need for snowmaking water, according to the Prospector. Officials subsequently asked the district’s board to confirm the continuation of 20-year agreement to provide snowmaking water to SolVista.Crested Butte resort stretched on financial obligationsCrested Butte Mountain Resort officials have asked for a one-year extension to complete infrastructure work in a new subdivision, according to the Crested Butte News. The request came as resort officials acknowledged financial difficulties during a Town of Mt. Crested Butte council meeting.Under the original agreement, the resort was obligated to complete the infrastructure work by Nov. 30, 2003, regardless of the resort’s financial position, according to the News. The resort has requested a one-year extension, and the town and the resort will work together to ensure the work gets done.Resort officials told the council that the anticipated sale of the resort or a refinancing of its debts would alleviate the financial pinch. According to the News, top executives said refinancing could be in place by the middle of September and that a December 2003 or January 2004 sale of the resort is likely.