Mountain news roundup: Eagle County Regional Airport passenger numbers on downward slide

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A chart of Federal Aviation Administration info shows passenger numbers sliding at most resort airports in Colorado. Only Denver International Airport and the airport in Durango posted 10-year highs in passenger “enplanements” in 2012, while four hit 10-year lows. One of those airports was Eagle County Regional Airport.

Passenger numbers at the county airport have been sliding steadily since 2007, when there were 213,719 enplanements in the calendar year, which covers parts of two ski seasons. There were 167,914 enplanements in 2012, the last full year for which numbers are available.

Read more at The Vail Daily.

Resort towns see summer sales tax revenues jump

Summertime in the high country is soaring, with many towns across the mountains giddily reporting record sales-tax revenues and visitor spending.

Not only are visitors returning to mountain playgrounds after a few years of economic malaise, they are spending more. The surging flow of cash is revealing summer as the new powerhouse in ski towns.

Telluride, Aspen and Vail joined Breckenridge in harvesting record retail sales-tax revenue over the summer. Winter Park and Steamboat Springs reached five-year high points, returning close to even with the freewheeling heydays of 2007 and 2008, before the recession stifled spending.

Read more at The Denver Post.

Feds lost up to $30,000 on Maroon Bells closure

The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District lost between $20,000 and $30,000 in revenue from the Maroon Bells Scenic Area because of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown, according to White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.

The agency lost out on fees that typically would be charged to private vehicles and fees at the campgrounds in the Maroon Valley.

The Forest Service collected $231,364 in various fees from the Maroon Bells in 2012, the latest year statistics were available. Vehicles are charged $10 to drive to the Maroon Lake parking lot, though the hours are limited. Part of the fare that bus passengers pay also goes to the Forest Service.

Read more at The Aspen Times.

Pot shops face choices for future business

When “recreational” marijuana sales officially become legal in Colorado on Jan. 1, 2014, existing medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state will have had three months (since Oct. 1) to make a choice — either stick with the business they’ve been operating, split their business to include recreational/retail sales as well as medical pot, or switch over from the medical side of things and go entirely for recreational/retail sales.

Read more at the Post Independent.

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