Week In Review August 16: No Complaining in Aspen and Jon Olsson’s New Digs

Wildfires, e-tailors for ski gear, Whaleback in the bank, finding zen at Powder Mountain, Telluride's proposed soda tax, and Montana's merger

Wildfire Watch

Wildfires raging in the West. PHOTO: Ashley Smith/Times-News photo

Wildfires raging in the West. PHOTO: Ashley Smith/Times-News photo

Four active wildfires are burning near Sun Valley, Park City, Mammoth Lakes, and Aspen. Firefighters closed off a huge swatch of public land backing up to the summit of Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain to contain the Beaver Creek fire, which is consuming some 32,000 acres near Ketchum. In Mammoth, firefighters have nearly contained the Aspen fire, which consumed over 21,000 acres. About 10 miles from Park City, the 1,200-acre Rockport 5 fire destroyed 13 homes, exploding propane tanks as it consumed a subdivision. Down Highway 82 from Aspen, the Red Canyon fire has burned 390 acres, forcing an evacuation order for those to the north and east.

Yet even with 35 large active wildfires burning over three million acres in the West this summer, this fire season isn’t as bad as past years. At this point last summer, wildfires lit up double the acreage and in 2011, 6.3 million acres had burned.

Everywhere Computing For Gear Whores

The Matrix will see you now. PHOTO: Courtesy "The Matrix" Screen Savers

The Matrix will see you now. PHOTO: Courtesy “The Matrix” Screen Savers

The ski industry should start preparing for the inevitable technological revolution of e-commerce, or “everywhere computing.” Say you see a guy wearing a jacket that you really like. Instead of walking up to him and asking where he bought the jacket, all you’ll have to do is simply snap a picture with the heads-up display on your goggles. Then, a program à la Google Glass or Siri will sort through the Internet, finding that exact jacket or the millions of other similar items sold online. Finally, you’ll be able to purchase the jacket through an e-tailor. Luddites, batten the hatches.

Jon Olsson’s Camo Mansion In The Spanish Riviera

Jon Olsson's casa camo. PHOTO: JonOlsson.com

Jon Olsson’s casa camo. PHOTO: JonOlsson.com

Jon enjoys a lifestyle American pro skiers could only dream of. He’s sponsored by Audi, drives to the mountain in a carbon fiber R8 with a roof box, lives in Monaco for tax purposes, and dates out-of-control hot Scandinavian models. He lives more like a James Bond villain than even Bode Miller, who lives on a yacht. However, Jon’s camo house in Marbella, Spain is pushing the envelope for POWDER’s in-house architectural critique team.

No Complaining For The One-Percenters Of Downtown Aspen

Ah, if only Hunter was still around – as sheriff.

Ah, if only Hunter was still around – as sheriff.

The Aspen City Council wants to slap a “no complaining” clause on a proposed luxury redevelopment project in Aspen’s Restaurant Row. All summer long, residents living in Aspen’s multi-million-dollar downtown penthouses called the police to complain about late-night street noise from bars and restaurants. The complaining has gone so far as to force some bars to shut their doors permanently, like when the legal fees from a lawsuit filed for noise and “noxious activity” by a neighbor living upstairs from the Silver Queen Bar helped force the bar’s closure. With businesses already feeling the squeeze with developers renovating downtown commercial properties into luxury penthouses that sell for extremely high prices, the City of Aspen wants to make sure its businesses aren’t hampered further.

Only Buyer For Whaleback Is The Bank

Whaleback Mountain sold for a total of $848,000. PHOTO: Save the Whale

Whaleback Mountain sold for a total of $848,000. PHOTO: Save the Whale

New Hampshire’s Whaleback Mountain sold for less than a million bucks, but don’t get excited. The only bidder at the August 2 auction was the bank that held the ski resort’s mortgage. Randolph National Bank bought the mountain for its reserve price of $848,000. Board members of the Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation, a Hanover-based nonprofit which was interested in purchasing the mountain, remains optimistic that Whaleback will reopen this winter and that a community-centric ski area business will develop.

Summit Series Holds First Zen-Like Conference at Powder Mountain

Zen-like retreat at Powder Mountain. PHOTO: Dennis Montgomery/Standard-Examiner

Zen-like retreat at Powder Mountain. PHOTO: Dennis Montgomery/Standard-Examiner

The Summit Series is a group of young entrepreneurs that seeks to change the world with the combined energy and intelligence of some of the world’s most progressive business, artistic, and nonprofit minds. They host conferences in the wild and bought Utah’s Powder Mountain last fall for somewhere around $43 million to establish the group’s first permanent headquarters. The move drew a range of responses from locals. This summer, the Summit Series held their first conference at the new digs, called “Summit Outside.” Attendees (including Chris Davenport, we believe) stayed in one of 542 luxury “glamping” sites that featured daily turndown service. (Summit hasn’t built permanent structures yet.) Attendees went to TED-style talks about things like relationship advice and how to encourage women in science and technology. Big Boi from Outkast performed a private show. Guests ate at pop-up gourmet restaurants, and one night, dinner was served on a quarter-mile long dinner table that sat 800 people. No comment as to whether Jamie Oliver will be cooking up snacks for people taking PowMow’s snowcat this winter.

Telluride Here, On The Line For Michael Bloomberg

Rasta Stevie is back. PHOTO: Courtesy StumpFilms & Newschoolers.com

Rasta Stevie is back. PHOTO: Courtesy StumpFilms & Newschoolers.com

After a dusting of snow fell, the Town of Telluride declared its intention to introduce a soda tax that would add a one-cent-per-ounce tax on all soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks sold in town. The funds raised from the tax would go to physical fitness programs for local kids. Unfortunately, none of the proceeds will help fund former town councilman Rasta Stevie’s new show with Inspired Media and StumpFilms, “Highest Region.”

Big Sky To Buy Moonlight Basin

Moonlight Basin has new owners. PHOTO: Moonlight Basin

Moonlight Basin has new owners. PHOTO: Moonlight Basin

While few details are available, CrossHarbor Capital, the parent company of the Yellowstone Club, and Boyne Resorts, which owns Big Sky Resort, partnered to purchase Montana’s Moonlight Basin from Lehman Brothers, who are likely damn glad to have found a buyer after their own troubles during the recession forced Moonlight into bankruptcy. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has more details and POWDER’s Matt Hansen touches on what this might mean for skiers.

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