Winter Park retooling for beginners | VailDaily.com

Winter Park retooling for beginners

Allen Best

WINTER PARK – In getting the contract to manage the Winter Park ski area, Intrawest promised to spend $50 million in the first decade in capital improvements. So far, it’s holding true to that pledge, and then some. The resort this summer will spend $4 million in an attempt to better accommodate beginning skiers. Among other changes, reports the Winter Park Manifest, a ski jumping hill that had launched several Olympians is being displaced.”The big effort in the skiing industry now is getting more people to try the sport, and to get a better retention rate,” said Gary LaFrange, general manager at Winter Park. “The competition among resorts for the beginning skier is fierce.”Intrawest, which has spent $11 million at Winter Park over the last two years, expects to have initial plans for its new base-area real estate development ready for public inspection later this year. Using existing features, the project will be keyed around the themes of water and railroads.Sheriff may charge for search & rescuesPARK CITY, Utah Officials in Summit County, Utah are considering whether to begin charging people when search-and-rescue crews are summoned. The county sheriff allocates $100,000 each year to help pay expenses for the search team, even though members are volunteers.The sheriff, Dave Edmunds, told The Park Record that he had not made up his mind whether to charge. If he does, said Edmunds, he’d spare charges for locals. Charges are already levied in searches in Grand County, where Moab is located. Search teams also benefit from a statewide fund collected from a surtax on boats and off-road vehicles, but the total amount, $150,000 is relatively small.In general, rescue groups frown deeply on the idea of charging for searches, believing that it might cause people to not summon help when they really need it. But searchers increasingly say they are being called when no help is really needed, or that friends of those lost in the backcountry sometimes insist on extra and expensive tools, such as helicopters to retrieve somebody with a broken ankle. In those cases, searchers are now inclined to pass on the cost.