Ski towns contemplate effects of war in Iraq |

Ski towns contemplate effects of war in Iraq

Allen Best

Duration of the war, and whether it sets off a round of global terrorism, is part of the equation. Already, evidence is ample that people are booking vacations much shorter in advance – Vail Resorts, for example, figures the average lead-time now is two weeks, where it used to be 60 days.Peter Williams, director of the centre for tourism and policy research at Simon Fraser University, told Whistler’s Pique newsmagazine (Feb. 5) he believes a war may cut visitor totals to British Columbia 20 to 30 percent.Barret Fischer, vice president for marketing strategy and business for Tourism Whistler, says the consensus of organizations and businesses he talks with is that Whistler is already being affected by war talk. Long-haul tourism from the U.S. and overseas is down, while German and Japanese consumers are being cautious. Travelers from the U.K. and Mexico, however, view Canada as kind of a “safe haven,” and are going ahead with bookings.Tourism Whistler is refocusing on the drive market, but also Toronto, because people will fly within Canada, as well as California.British Columbia’s tourism industry estimates that Americans accounted for 75 percent of all overnight stays in the province, far more than those from Asia/Pacific and Europe.Snowy torrents claim winter’s third victimJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – A 27-year-old snowboarder from the Czech Republic became the third victim of avalanches this winter in the Jackson Hole country.The Jackson Hole News & Guide (Feb. 5) reports that Pavel “Paul” Volf was snowboarding alone on Teton Pass when engulfed by the snow in a notoriously unsafe area. Before, a snowmobiler was buried under three feet of snow near Togwotee Pass for 20 minutes. Both deaths occurred at a time when the snow danger was rated as “considerable,” a level when human-triggered avalanches are probable.New school auditorium to do community double-dutyTELLURIDE – Design work is underway on a new auditorium for Telluride High School that is to double as a community performing arts center. By creating a horseshoe-shaped auditorium, designers hope to create an intimate space for audiences of fewer than 300 while also accommodating twice that number.Some spaces are being designed to serve needs of both the school and the performing arts center, reports The Telluride Watch (Jan. 21). For example, a proposed 1,200-square-foot rehearsal space doubles as a music room for students, while the auditorium lobby doubles as a school lunchroom.Private funds push ice rink to NHL standardsTELLURIDE – This town’s ice rink will be built to National Hockey League regulation-sized, 200 feet, thanks to a recent infusion of cash. After the project was beset by cost overruns, the town council rode to the rescue with $69,000, while a group of hockey dads pledged another $110,000. The money will also be used to pay for finished bathrooms. Foundation for the project is a $1.9 million bond issue approved by Telluride voters in 2001, notes The Telluride Watch (Jan. 24).

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