Mammoth urged to get hip |

Mammoth urged to get hip

Allen Best

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – Have you ever come across a stoplight while driving in snowy country and imagined a cattle guard?To Mammoth’s Tim Willoughby, stoplights in ski country are like cattle guards on bike trails: artificial barriers begging for accidents. Writing in The Sheet, Willoughby called for Mammoth to follow the example of what he calls “modern ski towns” in Colorado and adopt roundabouts. But Mammoth is already plenty modern in one key respect. A project with deed-restricted affordable housing is generating some heartburn among would-be neighbors, who fear the worst. Letter-writer Gordon Alper advises Tums, and believes far worse would be an absence of affordable housing.”We have all looked at the evolution of other mountain resorts,” he explains. “We know that locals can’t compete with big-city money. Big-city money means higher property values and the local workforce moving out and then commuting back to work. This creates a town with no soul.”He concludes: “Take a long, hard look at your concerns, and I think you will be embarrassed by your opposition to this program.”Crested Butte’s revival continuesCRESTED BUTTE – Crested Butte gained in skier days this winter as the resort continues to get back on its feet after some painfully difficult years.In the mid-1990s, Crested Butte recorded up to 560,000 skier days, although many came from the resort’s ski-for-free program in December. Drought, reduced local airline traffic, and national woes combined to pull the numbers down to around 300,000 in recent years.This year, they’re up to 412,000, moving in the right direction of the 600,000 target that ski area operators believe is necessarily to achieve an environmentally sustainable skiing operation. Part of that gain has been attributed to an increase in passengers s into the nearby Crested Butte-Gunnison Airport. As well, numbers of Front Range skiers has increased, owing to sales of the X-Pass, which offered four days of skiing for $119. Sales of season passes also increased, reported the Crested Butte News.

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