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Storytelling is heart and soul of Whistler festival

by Allen Best

WHISTLER, B.C. Whistler lift-served skiing does not end until June 1, but well before that is one of the resort’s largest annual events, the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. This festival has many facets, including an evening devoted to something called Words and Stories.This collection of words, stories, characters and sense of place is, for Pique editor Bob Barnett, the defining event of the festival. There was one individual reminiscing about shooting bears at Whistler’s garbage dump many years ago with rubber-tipped arrows. Another speaker told of her life as a ski bum. Yet another pair gave their performance piece about love.”Nearly 200 people, a cross-section of generations … coming together to share experiences and perspectives forged in the mountains. It was uplifting,” he wrote. “It may be the physical environment that brought us together, but it is the people that make a community.”Ketchum area continues to look at shifted developmentKETCHUM, Idaho Bracing for an influx of new residents that is expected to double the population of the Wood River Valley in the next 20 years, local officials are continuing to look at a program to transfer development rights to Ketchum, Sun Valley and other towns.The Idaho Mountain Express writes that 70 percent of those participating in a planning process called “Blaine County 2025” want to see population directed away from rural areas and to or near existing town. The cities, says the newspaper, do not want more density, but had better “rub the sleep from their eyes” and face the need to accept higher density developments and to develop affordable housing.”Red Lodge waits for Beartooth HighwayRED LODGE, Mont. Red Lodge is located at the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. Although it has a ski area, summer is somewhat the livelier season, partly because Red Lodge is along the Beartooth Highway that is among the most scenic ways to see Yellowstone.But last year, just before Memorial Day, that highway closed for the season even before it opened. Rock and mud slides clogged the highway, and then a $14 million road repair project kept it closed. The Associated Press explains that the closure was tough on the economy of Red Lodge, with the resort-tax income down 11 percent. That was less than what had been expected, however. The closure “helped us understand we’re more of a destination than we thought we were,” said Denise Parsons, director of the Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce.Wolf Creek water supply contested by two sidesWOLF CREEK PASS, Colo. Disputes and disagreement continue at Wolf Creek Pass, where Texas billionaire Billy Joe “Red” McCombs proposes to build 2,172 residential units next to a ski area that has no overnight lodging and not even much base area development.The disagreement reported by the Durango Herald is whether there is sufficient water in late summer to sustain the city of part-time residents. The location is at 10,300 feet, near the Continental Divide.”If you go up there in mid-summer and walk the drainages, there’s hardly any water, or just a trickle,” said Ralf Topper, a hydrologist with the Colorado Geological Survey.The newspaper reports a case of dueling water engineers. Martin & Wood, the firm hired by the developer, said the resort village could survive with 64 acre-feet of water storage, if necessary, although plans call for double that amount. But a firm hired by the ski area operators, which is fighting the project, foresees too little water in late summer and fall in the very dry years.Bob Honts, the development’s front man, said the lesson is that you can hire experts to say what you want them to say. Of course, he was just talking about opponents of the development.Vail, Colorado


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