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As if the underfunded U.S. Forest Service didn’t have enough to worry about regulating mining, oil and gas production, logging, cattle grazing and ski-area development on national forest land, now it's in the photography business too.
The hue and cry over the unwashed rabble likely to snap up cheap ski passes and invade Vail this winter, clogging its roads and jamming its ski slopes and parking garages, has morphed into the “All the Love” ad campaign as quickly as you can say “economic downturn.”
Somewhere way down Barack Obama’s list — likely trailing ending the war in Iraq, resuscitating the DOA economy, health care reform and achieving energy independence — is the agenda of the nation’s ski industry.
A Durango-based nonprofit ski-industry watchdog group issued its annual environmental scorecard last week, ranking four Colorado resorts in the top 10 with “A” grades and flunking two in the bottom 10 with “F’s”.
What’s the first thing the uber-wealthy give up in a downward-spiraling economy? Their private ski resort memberships, apparently.
Last spring, many months before Wall Street crashed and the housing marketing tanked, some business leaders in Vail were worried about too many skiers descending on the slopes this season. Their concern stemmed from Vail’s deeply discounted $579, six-mountain Epic Pass.
The oil-and-gas debate on Colorado’s Western Slope is as rife with contradictions as the ridgelines and valleys of Garfield County are with drilling rigs. Hunters in pickup trucks you’d expect to see plastered with “Drill here, drill now” bumper stickers instead sport the “Save the Roan” rallying cry. Ski-area executives whose industry in some cases was built with oil money can’t buy enough wind energy nor contribute fast enough to campaigns to raise oil and gas severance taxes.
Accurately quoted statements attributed to Vail Chamber and Business Association Executive Director Kaye Ferry regarding the impact of more Front Range skiers buying Vail...