Vail, Aspen viewed from Whistler
ASPEN – Whistler’s G.D. Maxwell, a columnist for Pique newsmagazine, visited Vail and Aspen in late January, catching both during snowstorms, and liked almost everything he found.In Vail, he found the trail map hard to believe: 53 percent of terrain rated most difficult. “It’s a feel-good, better-than-you-are marketing spin. Either that or it’s a paranoid fear of litigation,” he reported. He described Blue Sky Basin as a “panorama of hero blacks, braggin’ blacks, blacks in name only.” In fact, anything that doesn’t get groomed in Vail gets tagged black diamond. Virtually nothing in the Back Bowls gets groomed. Still, he found remarkable skiing at Vail: “Remarkable for its overall ease, remarkable for its lack of crowds, remarkable for its lack of hair-raising pitches, remarkably fun.”At Aspen, rummaging among the four mountains, he was warmed by the steeps of Highland Bowl, “the best run of the trip.”He also found Aspen’s Jekyll and Hyde personality and was more than delighted by half of it. “For every Terrace Room at the Little Nell, there’s a Cooper Street (Pier); for every members-only Caribou Club there’s a Jimmy’s: An All American Restaurant and Bar with meatloaf featured proudly on the menu,” he wrote.
WINTER PARK – A wildfire protection plan is to be drawn up for the Fraser Valley, in the Winter Park and Fraser area. In Winter Park, town officials last year spent $380,000 in aggressive programs of cutting and spraying lodgepole pine trees infested with bark beetles, but the communities feel vulnerable to a catastrophic fire. The plan is expected to take a year to draw up, reported the Winter Park Manifest.