Some Canadian resorts lagging |

Some Canadian resorts lagging

Staff Reports

Strict development rules set by the federal government are putting a damper on business at some Canadian ski resorts, according to a report on, a Canadian business news Web site.After ranking Canadian resorts, a tourism professor at the University of Calgary says the government should be supporting the resorts. Instead, strict development controls could end up squeezing some of the resorts out of the national parks.The rules make it impossible for the Banff-area resorts to do any substantial upgrading or long-term planning, the professor said, and he added that, at the very least, the parks should allow more accommodations to be developed slope-side.Snowmass to host mountainboardingIt looks like a cross between mountain biking and snowboarding and now it may get some legitimacy when Snowmass hosts the first-ever U.S. Open Mountainboarding Championships in August 2003.The Aspen Daily News reports that Snowmass Village will spend $30,000 to organize and promote the event on the Fanny Hill Run at Snowmass Ski Area. Resort officials told the Daily News that the event offers a chance to develop a relationship with a rapidly growing sport. There are some regional racing circuits and a few pro riders, but the Snowmass event will be the first national-level competition.The race will be held on a boardercross-style dirt course and there will also be a big-air contest, according to the Daily News. The course will also be open to the public for the summer season.Aspen airport expansion opposedThe Aspen Daily News reports that several neighborhoods have lined up to oppose a planned expansion of the Aspen airport. A study group recently recommended doubling the size of the airport terminal and lengthening the runway by 1,000 feet.But residents of the area who oppose the plan say they are concerned about noise and safety issues. Officials should consider utilizing the Eagle County Airport as an alternative to the expansion, critics told the Daily News.Squaw officials reject ‘Downhill Slide’The Tahoe World reports that Squaw Valley officials have rejected the premise of Hal Clifford’s “Downhill Slide,” a scathing critique of the modern ski industry. Squaw Valley Ski Corporation says the thesis does not describe their company because it’s not a publicly traded company, it’s not in the real estate business, it’s not on public land, and it’s working to improve the environment.Snow levels up in Gunnison BasinA series of storms that blasted nearly the entire state in late February raised snow levels in the Gunnison Basin to near normal levels, the Crested Butte News reports. By Feb. 26, the Natural Resources Conservation Service reported that both the precipitation and snow-water equivalent levels were at 82 percent of the 30-year average, up from 71 percent in early February.But because the soil is so dry, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is predicting that runoff into Blue Mesa Reservoir this spring will only reach about 67 percent of normal.As a result, junior water rights holders will likely still face calls from downstream users, especially in late summer. That means upstream users may have to relinquish their rights to downstream irrigation districts. The local water conservancy district is negotiating to buy more water to cover the gap between water demand from junior water users in the Gunnison Basin and calls from downstream, the News reports.Mammoth on pace for record yearA big jump in mid-week business is helping to drive what could end up as a record-breaking season at California’s Mammoth Mountain, the Mammoth Times reports. Skier visits in January jumped 20 percent from last year, while mid-week attendance is up 30 percent. The resort announced that it experienced its busiest-ever Saturday during the mid-February President’s Day weekend.Resort officials said good weather, grooming and innovative marketing programs all helped bolster performance. The resort has also aggressively targeted January, normally a slow time, by establishing a slew of special events.– compiled by Bob Berwyn

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