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Volume 44, Number 05
Super Bowl Sunday!
At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1., the New England Patriots challenge the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. The Paramount Theatre offers a larger-than-life experience on its 30x20-foot screen. While it’s not exactly the same as being at the stadium, the price is right: free!
paGE 35
2Top EvEnTS
paGES 8 - 10
ask a groundhog
Will we have six more weeks
of winter? We’ll see what Punxsutawney Phil has to
say about it, Feb. 2. A sunny morning means six more weeks of winter!
living a.D.E.
Looking for something to do? See what’s happening for Arts, Dining & Entertainment in Cen- tral Vermont this week.
paGE 29-41
WeATheR:
Car-Rt-Sort
RuralRoute BoxholderLocal ECRWSS
Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, 2015
Drones to
aid ski area
operations?
One of many topics
discussed at nsAA
winter Conference
By Karen D. Lorentz
Ski areas need to have a drone policy and offer a culture of friendliness and helpfulness
to ensure their futures. These were just two of the important takeaways from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Eastern Winter Conference and Trade Show hosted at Killington Resort last week.
The conference brought together ski area operators, owners, and staff for two-days of sessions on a multitude of top- ics, ranging from best practices to the latest industry concerns and issues.
In addition, there were on-snow grooming and snow- making demonstrations. The annual PhatCat Challege took place with Killington groomers Will Conroy and Dave Wright tying for second place with 375 points each and just missing the first place prize of $1,000, which went to Waterville Valley groomer Tim Smith who earned 380 points out of a possible 400. [Competitors were judged on their pre-op checklist and ne- gotiating groomers up a flagged course, building a tabletop fea- ture, and figure-eighting back to the bottom. Times varied from
Drones aid ski area, page 2
Shumlin has tough words for
schools, public safety leaders
Central Vermont’s Premier Weekly Newspaper
Photo courtesy of KMS
Kyle Gordon, KMS Freestyle Development Program athlete.
Russian world Cup freestyle skiers
train on new Highline course
By Polly Lynn
KILLINGTON — Glenn Eddy, freestyle program director at Killington Mountain School, has known the head mogul coach
for the World Cup Russian ski team, Stephen Fearing, for 20-some- thing years so he was glad to welcome the team to train on the new freestyle course that KMS built on Highline. This year’s World Cup schedule had some breaks around the competitions in Lake Placid and Val St. Come (in Quebec), which allowed for the visit, Eddy explained.
“I thought it would be a good showcase for our new dedicated site on Highline so I invited them to come and train,” Eddy said. “They will be back again for a couple days after the Lake Placid competition this coming weekend. The U.S. World Cup team is also considering spending a few days training on Highline as well — plans should be finalized for them in the next couple days.”
The World Cup freestyle athletes put on quite the show this past weekend, onlookers reported. Look for World Cup freestyle athletes on the course again, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, if all goes according to plan.
ThiS wEEk’S
auditor reports
state land
leases to ski
areas are
outdated
By Laura Krantz, VTDigger.org
Vermont’s ski industry has outgrown the terms of decades-old leases of state land that were designed to help resorts grow and now result in lucrative deals for booming resorts, a state audit released last week found. By most measures, the public-private partner- ship between resorts and the state is successful, but the lack of uniformity among leases creates a system that is difficult to control and cre- ates extra cost for taxpayers, the report stated.
Lease payments have declined over the past 20 years, when adjusted for inflation, according to the audit. Ski resorts in the past half-century have diversified their revenue streams and those new sources are not captured in lease payments. The state made a critical error in not requiring regular opportunities to update the 50- to 100-year leases it has with ski areas, Auditor Doug Hoffer said.
In 2014 the auditor’s office investigated the leases of
the seven ski resorts that use public land: Bromley, Burke, Jay, Killington, Okemo, Smuggler’s Notch and Stowe.
The goal of the leases has been to help develop and promote recreational sports in Vermont and to that end, the partnerships have been successful, the auditor said. However, the leases are out- dated, he continued.
They were crafted when the resorts were locally owned, fledgling businesses that the state helped in order to boost tourism. The earliest lease was initiated in 1942 with Bromley Moun- tain. The leases expire be- tween 2032 and 2060. They govern about 8,500 acres of public land.
On Tuesday, Jan. 20, Hof- fer called on the Legislature and administration to restart discussion on the leases and attempt to standardize the agreements.
“It’s not as if they’re a start- up needing a helping hand,” Hoffer said.
By Cristina Kumka
RUTLAND – Attendees of a legislative lun- cheon held at the Southside Steakhouse in Rut- land Monday Jan. 26 were met with harsh words from Vermont Governor Peter
Shumlin on how publicly-
funded education and police
dispatch should be reformed.
Touting the state’s green energy future as promising, Shumlin quickly shifted gears to education – and how he plans to penalize small
schools for not abiding by state rules he plans to enforce.
“Get rid of the small schools grants and get rid of phantom students, get rid of teacher strikes. We have failed as a state to partner with local school boards and communi- ties,” Shumlin said.
“If we continue to pretend that we can keep spending the
way we are, and that property tax payers are just gonna sit back and pay it, I say we are living in la la land and there’s gonna be much more extreme
Coming off a narrow
November election, Shumlin
told the 135-person crowd
of local and state politicians,
lawmakers, planning officials
and public utility employ-
ees, “What I got from the last
election was a pretty clear message... That we’ve got to do more to lift incomes, grow jobs and lift prosperity for all Vermonters.”
Shumlin schools, page 3
mountaintimes.info
“GET RiD of ThE SMall SchoolS GRanTS anD GET RiD of phanToM STuDEnTS, GET RiD of TEachER STRikES,” ShUmlin SAid.
The Mountain Times • Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, 2015 • 1
PRSRTSTDU.S. Postage PAID Killington,VT05751 Permit No. 14
More snow is in the
forecast starting
Friday with a total of 8-10 more inches expected this week. Temperatures will remain cold.
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