April 16, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Aspen Daily News "And just like that the ski season ends"

And it only took at least a decade of local voices refusing to 'be quiet'.

The resulting boycotts and mass exodus to places like Vail,  from locals and tourists with a conscience who have been observing  the social persecution and pillorying of anyone trying for economic equality with living wages, anyone bringing alleged soft corruption (heck, maybe even hard corruption) issues to light, anyone refusing  to be gouged with outrageous pricing and few amenities, anyone who is global weary of the social class structure and pecking order of Aspen and Big Money and anyone who really is genuinely in favor of the DEA and FBI hanging out around the area and focused on Aspen; must have finally dug a trench in the Crown Family and the Aspen Ski Corp bottom line profits.

After all, it was well over 14 years ago that Vail determined it was appropriate and necessary to provide things like mountain biking, kayak parks and year round offerings to the folks. Which is precisely the reason that they have been able to enjoy $35 million annual profits, spend $70 million on new lifts after spending mega-money the year before on improvements to the mountain.  Oh, yes.  And repeatedly landing world class sporting venues  and events.

Looks like (if no further national and world economic recessions happen) we can count on this new energy from the powers that be up in the Skico to finally get game on if they start building now, in what, 10 years?

Wasn't it Johnny Boyd who was talking up turning base village into a high end gambling casino venue?  That might be faster.

Johnny Boyd:
"As skiing becomes an iffy proposition in the future, the SkiCo has finally decided that mountain biking really is fun and might be a good way to make some money. Whistler is a huge destination for bikers of all ages and Keystone has a gnarly reputation for summer fun. SkiCo should be able to blow both of those upstarts off the map.

It looks like Snowmass could become the place to be later in the summer. The SkiCo has commissioned at least one awesome trail on the Elk Camp side of the mountain. This trail was built by the company Gravity Logic, and has excellent flow and, for those young enough to leave the ground, the possibility of big air. If you haven’t ridden it yet, you should head to Snowmass as soon as the snow melts. It’s almost as fun as a powder day.

The one disappointing addition to Elk Camp is the Vapor Trail. I’m not too sure what it is supposed to be when it grows up, but I hope the SkiCo brings in someone to redesign it and give it the flow that it needs to become a popular trail.

When the SkiCo decided to move all summer operations to the Elk Camp gondola it abandoned many perfectly good trails on the Sam’s Knob end of the mountain. The downhill course used by Blast the Mass and NORBA competitors was described as “neglected” by the racers I talked with last year. Instead of letting these trails revegetate, the SkiCo needs to make the commitment to summer and think about opening the entire mountain.

The trails on the western side of Snowmass run ridge lines with views forever and drop through aspen forests in amazingly technical descents that riders would flock to Snowmass for. Plus, there is plenty of room for more trails and terrain parks.

Mountain biking amenities need to be modeled like skiing. Instructors teaching the skills needed to ride a bike should be lined up at Base Village just like in the winter. Video of the day’s class could be posted to the Internet so the folks back home who paid for Junior’s trip to Snowmass Village can see the little tyke’s progress.

If the commitment to summer downhill sports is certain, it makes sense to open both sides of the mountain. Running the Village Express six-pack and the Elk Camp Gondola sends bikers into all kinds of terrain. There are no finer views than the top of Sam’s Knob, which opens other money-making possibilities for the SkiCo.

As winter as we know it becomes more and more doubtful with the change of climates the Aspen area is experiencing, the summer activities have to take center stage for the SkiCo. By running two lifts and turning on the marketing to let riders know what we’re doing, we could become a bigger summer biking destination than Whistler. In fact, the possibilities are endless and could make summer as busy as winter for the SkiCo....."  (Read more?  Click title)

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