Resort Report: 9/11 memories, Vermont donations, Park City, Monarch & more

Cannonsburg ski area in Michigan has a unique 9/11 tribute planned, local ski areas are pouring donations into flood relief efforts in Vermont, mountain town economic fears and more in this resort report.

The Cannonsburg Ski Area in Michigan is creating a special display for the tenth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which they are calling The Healing Field. At the ski area on Sept. 9, 3,200 American flags will be unfurled, each with the name and biography of one of the victims of that day attached. The flags will be sold for $75 for apiece, with all of the money raised going to local emergency first responders. A memorial service will be held at the field at noon on Sept. 11, 2011. The memorial will be on display through Sept. 13. 

Ski areas pitch in for Vermont relief

In the wake of the worst flooding in decades, The Mad River Valley has come together to help neighbors clean-up and get back on their feet again. Win Smith and Lili Ruane, on behalf of Sugarbush Resort, have made a direct donation of $100,000 to the Mad River Valley Community Fund, a 501(c)3 organization providing economic assistance in the form of cash disbursements to affected families and individuals.

“We are fortunate that the damage the resort sustained was limited to our snowmaking pond, whose repair will require significant resources but will be repaired in time for the winter season However, we are even more aware of the storm’s impact on our community: We are a part of this community, and we want to provide support for our neighbors. We hope others will join us,” said Smith, president of Sugarbush Resort. 

In Highmount, N.Y., the board of directors of the Belleayre Conservatory quickly decided to turn the final show of the Belleayre Music Festival’s 20th anniversary season into a benefit for flood victims. As of midday on Sept. 5, net proceeds from the show plus received contributions totaled more than $32,500 with more donations still arriving to be turned over to the flood relief effort.

Economic worries reverberate through ski towns

Aspen was expecting such a strong turnout for its annual winter job market on Sept. 8 that potential employees were asked to set up online appointments first and fill out applications in advance. The Aspen Times reports that The Aspen Skiiing Co. has more than 80 jobs to fill, from ski-lift operators to security guards. The company told the paper that the weak economy has made it possible to fill jobs with Pitkin County locals.

In another sign of how the economy is affecting Colorado’s mountain communities, the Denver Post’s Jason Blevins reports that this past July was the lowest month for mountain home sales in the past six years. Blevins wrote that, “July sales in Pitkin, Eagle, Summit, Routt and San Miguel counties were the lowest in years, potentially derailing a resort real estate market tracking toward recovery.”

He added that the extremely late spring--and long ski season--certainly could have contributed to the soft sales cycle, as “A two-month delay from signing to closing means most of July's deals were first forged in May, when the high country was wrestling with 300 percent snowpack and cold, rainy weather.” Read the entire article here.

Financial worries for the ski resort industry aren’t limited to Colorado, or the U.S., either, as MarketWatch reports that the strength of the Swiss Franc has many of Switzerland’s top area operators worried that many European-based travelers will instead ski in Italy and Austria. According to the report, “the franc has soared against the euro as investors fled the troubled single currency for the Swiss safe haven…At one point in August, the franc had gotten to 1.10 versus the euro.”

Park City looks at Main Street redesign

The Historic Park City Alliance (HPCA) has released a 22-page report outlining prospective ideas and plans to improve the overall visitor growth and health of Main Street and the surrounding area. The Infrastructure Plan addresses both short term and long term projects that improve upon existing public spaces, focused on three categories: infrastructure (utilities), uses and attractions (activities/plazas) and pedestrian enhancements (streetscapes). As it moves forward, the HCPA will develop a phasing strategy for the improvements based on available funding.

Monarch pass plan continues to add new partners

Monarch Mountain has added three more areas to its list of pass partners; Telluride and Ski Cooper in Colorado and Ski Apache in New Mexico. All three are now offering free skiing/riding to Monarch Mountain season pass holders. Monarch Mountain passes are accepted at nine Colorado areas, six New Mexico areas and areas in Utah, Wyoming, California, Michigan, Arizona and British Columbia, Canada. Colorado areas include; Loveland, Durango, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Sol Vista, Silverton, Ski Cooper, Telluride and of course Monarch Mountain.

There are six ski areas in New Mexico that honor the Monarch Mountain season pass: Taos, Angel Fire, Red River, Pajarito, Sipapu and Ski Apache. Monarch passholders will receive two free day tickets to Telluride in conjunction with a minimum two-night stay.

--Peter Kray

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