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Vail, mountain towns full of Obama fans

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

KETCHUM, Idaho ” Barack Obama came out the clear winner in ski-anchored mountain valleys of Colorado and Idaho during the Super Tuesday caucuses.

In Idaho’s Blaine County, home to Ketchum and Sun Valley, a record turnout of nearly 1,200 Democrats was reported, with large numbers of people turned away because they failed to arrive by the 7 p.m. start. The assembled partisans gave 86 percent of their votes to Obama, leaving Hillary without so much as a delegate to the state convention.

Elsewhere in Idaho, the story was similar in Donnelly, at the foot of the Tamarack ski area. “Good evening,” said Marilyn Arp, chair of Democrats in Valley County, scanning the crowd of 233 people. “And they say there are no Democrats in Valley County.” Only 56 people showed up the year that John Kerry got the Democratic nomination, notes The Star-News.

In Colorado’s Gunnison County, reports the Crested Butte News, Barack Obama ” also the victor in Eagle County and the state ” got two-thirds of votes.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming, there is some amusement that when caucuses are held in Jackson Hole during March the race between Clinton and Obama may not yet be resolved. That means there might actually be a purpose in going to the caucuses.

TETON VALLEY, Idaho ” After more than 15 years, two ski area owners, and countless hearings, the die has been cast for real estate development at the base of the Grand Targhee ski area.

Mori Bergmeyer, formerly an architect from Boston, had initiated the process of a land exchange, but finally threw in the towel in the face of opposition and sold the ski area to the George Gillett-led Booth Creek Ski Holdings.

Gillett, the one-time owner of Vail, and his family then continued to press for a land exchange, which was finally consummated several years ago. The Gilletts then proposed more than 800 housing units. The proposal has been contentious, spurred by fears that this would be the beginning of the end for what is called the quiet side of the Tetons. Jackson Hole is on the other side of the range.

But last week, the Teton County commissioners approved a scaled-down 450 units. County Commissioner Leland Christiansen called it a start in the wrong direction. “I don’t know how many people in 20 to 30 years are going to applaud the work we’ve done.”

Geordie Gillett, son of George and the Gillett in charge at Grand Targhee, said he was persuaded of the value of down-sizing. “I have come to be convinced that less is more,” he said.


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