Steamboat Springs In between phone calls to arrange bus trips to Vail and to supply baskets for conference packets, Thomas Clark sat in his office putting the finishing touches on his paper about affordable housing.
Clark, a professor of planning and design at the University of Colorado at Denver who helped organize the four-day conference on mountains in Steamboat Springs, will be among the more than 50 speakers, presenters or panelists at the conference starting today.
On Tuesday, presenters and the 30 CU students volunteering for the event began arriving in Steamboat. Clark was still working on his paper, which he said represents six months of studying affordable housing in 12 mountain communities, including Steamboat.
"It is getting exciting," Clark said. "But there is the pressure of completing the paper, which means writing a detailed scholarly paper and at the same time fielding questions (about the conference)."
Affordable housing will be among the many topics centered on mountain communities during the conference. Second-home ownership, sustainability, preservation, global tourism and transportation are also on the agenda.
Clark is expecting more than 200 people from around the world to arrive in Steamboat today and tomorrow and presenters will come from as far as Canada, Austria and New Zealand. But it will also bring in local elected officials and people from all over the West and even New England.
The conference on Mountain Resort Planning and Development in an Era of Globalization runs from today until Saturday and will discuss the sustainability of mountain communities.
"People attend this with the thought of picking up something new and going out and changing the world," Clark said.
The conference is also part of the United States and United Nations' Year of the Mountain celebration and is listed on the U.N.'s calendar of events. CU's program in western lands, resources and development and the university's Department of Geography are sponsoring the event along with the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.
The city of Steamboat Springs and the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments are also supporting the conference, which is being held at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.
To encourage locals to come to the Wednesday and Thursday evening sessions, a special $20 rate per night is offered.
"It gives locals a chance after work to drop by and peek in (on the conference)," Clark said.
The conference will open tonight with a talk by Myles Rademan, who sat on the Salt Lake City Olympics Organizing Committee and is part of Park City's Department of Community Development. At 6 p.m. today, Rademan will talk about his Olympic experiences and sustainability.
"He is an articulate and entertaining speaker who will be able to tell us a good deal about Salt Lake's recent and most successful experience in holding the Winter Olympics there," Clark said.