Jerry speaks

Tram Update

As you can imagine since sharing the news about the tram we have received lots of feedback locally and nationally. I wanted to share some insight to that and help keep you all informed. We are committed to the best communication possible with this, but bear with us and try not to jump too far down the road when we are still in the starting blocks. I know it is easy to speculate ways this will impact us (what about snow control?, how will this effect pass prices? will Rendezvous Bowl remain open for skiing?), but please be patient while we work this out. We do not have all the answers but the information below will hopefully help you understand why that is the case. Believe me, we have made the right decision and there will be an ultimate solution, the tram and Rendezvous Mountain are too important for that not to happen.

Here are the key points:

* We will be retiring the tram at the end of Summer 06.

* The decision to close the tram was made following 18 mths of unprecedented evaluation into tram operations by leading industry engineers.

* In simple terms we were presented with the following prognosis:
1. The cost of major component replacements would be multi-millions and would not guarantee us longevity.
2. The tram is currently operating to code and it will do so for multiple years. However the tram is approaching the end of its effective useful life. Ultimately safety questions would become part of the equation.

The results required us to make a decision regarding on-going tram operations. Eliminating any SAFETY concerns was the driving force behind this decision. The Kemmerers decided to be proactive and not allow the tram to operate for an indefinite period that might lead to safety concerns.

JHMR cannot afford to replace the tram on our own – you know we have not made money a majority of the years that the Kemmerer’s have owned the Resort. The Kemmerers have chosen to invest $55 million to reestablish the Jackson Hole name and make this company what it is today. Expecting our company to pay for a new tram ($20 +/- million) is simply unrealistic.

The Kemmerers and the Board has determined that without assistance (from State or other resources) we should concentrate on evaluating other alternatives to access Rendezvous Bowl and the exciting terrain from the summit.

This was a very tough decision. Please understand it was not taken lightly and we know it will affect all of us over the next few years, but JHMR is committed to seeing this through.

JHMR will continue with its other capital improvements such as Sweetwater lift, restaurant at the top of Bridger, Bridger Center remodel. These have been planned for a long time and are part of our long term strategy. It does not make sense to put these on hold while we work out the solution to the tram. Both can continue in on a parallel course to an even better resort.

Here is the strategy for the next twelve months:

1, We have hired Sno-Engineering to present alternative lift solutions.

2. We will start a dialogue with local businesses, stakeholders and State Reps to explore possible funding strategies if the Tram is to be replaced.

3. We will market this winter with a sense of urgency to come and be part of this tram, while we look towards the future with improved service and facilities to serve all our guests.

So with that in mind, what else do we know?

We ARE going to work towards a lift or series of lifts to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. There will likely be at least five years when lift access to the top will not be in place.

We will operate during the years without lift access to the top of Rendezvous in a safe fashion.

We are optimistic that we will start a dialogue with State and Federal officials regarding an opportunity to reach out and be part of a comprehensive state wide tourism strategy. The original tram was 2/3 funded by Federal money. Nearly $1m (of an original $1.6m budget) came from a government program that loaned funds to seasonal communities.

If you have any questions that arise as part of discussions in the community feel free to call me or Anna Olson

Best regards



The JHMR Aerial Tram, brought to you by Cialis

Thanks to the gigantic advance notice provided by JHMR, locals and JH-lovers have plenty of time to postulate about tram solutions.

What about a corporate sponsorship? With a tab of $20 million and a lifespan of 40 years, that's got to be a pretty tempting logo placement.

"Rise to the Top" ... !

LINK: Jackson Hole News & Guide


Wicked humid

Wicked humid
Originally uploaded by drewbo.
It's the beginning of summer. You're in New England. It's wicked humid.

Why wouldn't you want to whitewater rafting?

Why wouldn't you want to kick back with a brew and burger afterwards?


Eat water

Wyoming Welfare

"... we will need to have the support of the public and possibly the state to be able to move forward with a tram replacement alternative," (JHMR President) Jerry Blann said.

Blann added that the Tram is an icon for Jackson and Wyoming and that he hopes that public, local, and federal officials will join in an effort to enable the replacement of the Tram.



JHMR will kill the Tram after next winter

Oh my God ...

This is either one of the saddest days in many skids lives, or the savviest PR stunt of all time.

Just think of the jockeying that will go on for seats on the true "Last Tram."

LINK: Those Bastard Tram-Killers


Stranded, Part I

Originally uploaded by drewbo.
While I understand the conditions that led to the cancellation of flight 395 (the captain had exceeded his allowable shift time), the response of US Airways to the needs of its passengers was absolutely unacceptable.

We were instructed to go to a "special" Service Desk for rebooking. But no US Airways personnel were provided. Most likely, they didn't want to be the ones to deliver the bad news.

(Some other US Airways personnel finally arrived, and) told us that no hotel rooms were available in the area because of a local convention, and no seats on any flights were available until at least two days later. They told us no special agents were going to be provided to help this large group of customers with their unique situation, and that we should all fend for ourselves and try to find a sympathetic ticket agent by calling the US Airways 1-800 number.

Strangely enough, there were quite a few hotel rooms in the area (I found one, quite easily.) While no attempt was made to provide food vouchers, room vouchers, rebooking assistance or any other level of competent service, i would like to send you the receipt for my overnight stay and have US Airways pay for it.

I'd also to request that US Airways reimburse me for the clean clothes and overnight items i purchased during my unexpected and unwanted stay in the beautiful Philadephia area.

The response of US Airways to the needs of its stranded passengers while in the terminal not only extremely poor and pathetically unprofessional, it was simply unacceptable. Please contact me at your earliest opportunity and let me know where to send my expenses.

In case you lose this note, you can find it at http://wickedoutdoorsy.blogspot.com.


Drew Simmons


Gentlemen, Start Your Checkbooks

During all the flurry of bizness and competition and martinis and fashionable gardening footwear at the upcoming OR show, it's easy to lose focus on why we came to the outdoor industry in the first place.

However ... the Conservation Alliance Membership Meeting will remind you.

When: Saturday, August 13, 8-9 AM
Where: The Marriott, Salon F
Guest Speaker: Michael Fay, National Geographic Conservationist

The Conservation Alliance is excited to announce that Michael Fay, National Geographic conservationist-in-residence, will be the guest speaker at our August Membership Meeting. Fay is an ecologist and adventurer famous for completing a "megatransect" of large swaths of equatorial Africa. His 2,000-mile walking expedition documented one of the last pristine places on Earth.

With a team of Africans, Fay trekked for 15 months through the heart of Africa's jungle documenting habitat for gorillas, chimpanzees and forest Elephants. As a result of Fay's efforts, the president of Gabon agreed to protect 10 percent of his country for a system 13 national parks. Fay will recount his experiences in Africa, and discuss the important role that economics plays in protecting wild places worldwide.

As always, the Conservation Alliance Membership Meeting is open to the public, so bring a friend! (Note: we have moved this meeting from our usual time slot on Day 2 to the morning of Day 3 of the show.)

LINK: The Conservation Alliance


Leave No SUV Manufacturer Behind

Originally uploaded by drewbo.
Targeted at "younger SUV drivers," the government-sponsored SUV safety campaign is up-and-running.

Blending video games and furry ewok-like creatures, this high-dollar campaign to keep the SUV market alive and thriving is nothing but Joe Camel for cars.

A special thanks to the Attorney General for funding this wonderful initiative.



On the Road with the Toad

Originally uploaded by drewbo.
TELLURIDE, COLORADO (June 13, 2005) – On the morning before the first-ever, first-annual Horny Toad mountain unicycle hockey game and ice cream social, Horny Toad marketing director Tami Snow distributed more than 300 commemorative hockey pucks, placing them in restaurants, on park benches, and on the nearby gondola.

“It was a lot of hockey pucks to haul around. But people were really psyched, and every single of them was snatched up,” said Snow. “I did get a couple funny looks, but they still took the pucks.”

Hosted in conjunction with the annual Mountainfilm in Telluride celebration, the afternoon event included a stunt performance utilizing the terrain of a custom-painted “antique” Buick; a Main Street mountain unicycle hockey game; more than 12 gallons of coffee Heath bar ice cream and lemon sorbet; and the presence of Kris Holm, the world’s best known mountain unicyclist and a founding member of Team Toad.

Team Toad is an eclectic group of artistic and athletic ambassadors, happily supported by Horny Toad as a way to inspire others to lead more active and creative lives. In addition to Holm, the team includes independent recording artist Chris Pierce, free-heel skier B.J. Brewer, back-of-the-pack marathoner Grace Lim, and the visual artists at Merge.
LINK: Team Toad

Mountainfilm in Telluride is an annual blend of art and film to celebrate landscapes, cultures and the honed mastery of adrenaline. It’s hosted in Telluride, the town where the Horny Toad was born, but travels around the country throughout the rest of the year.
LINK: MountainFilm


Well, sure, ISPO does do that big outdoor show on Jupiter ...

"OIA is proud to be the exclusive endorser of Outdoor Retailer, the Largest Outdoor Trade Show on Earth."


Like it's easy to get a Saint and a marketing buzz phrase into the same sentence ...

Definitely the press release of the day:

<< Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia's vice president of marketing and environmental initiatives, noted, "A significant license deal between two companies is not unlike a marriage. You do your homework – do you both see eye-to-eye on not just the fundamentals, but on the fine points of your philosophies? But at the end of the day, as St. Thomas Aquinas put it, you have to trust the authority of your instincts, and here at Patagonia we all feel that we've created a marriage that's going to be both fruitful and long-lived." >>



New Blood

WAITSFIELD, VERMONT (June 6, 2005) -- After months of courtship and waffling, Pale Morning Media LLC is pleased to announce the arrival of Scott Kaier as a full-time staff addition.

A veteran of the outdoor retailing arena with more than eight years of floor and management experience, Kaier began working with Pale Morning Media on a project basis in fall of 2004.

“Scott will fit in just fine. He’s an avid telemark skier, mountain biker, and meat eater. He likes donuts, and he doesn’t mind that I mumble out loud while I type,” said Drew Simmons, Pale Morning Media president.

“Is it a coincidence that my first day at Pale Morning Media happens to also be the anniversary of the D-day invasion? I guess we’ll find out,” said Kaier.

Previously, Kaier was a buyer for Onion River Sports, a year-round specialty outdoor retailer in Montpelier, Vermont. To contact Scott directly, call 802.583.6070 or e-mail scottk@madriver.com.

Stripahs and chowdah, Bobby!

nat fish
Originally uploaded by drewbo.
Nat Ross with a wicked striper from this weekend, caught somewhere off Cape Cod.


When the going gets tough, the tough get sappy

So what if they don't give their employees health benefits ...

Who cares if they're crushing small businesses like tiny, salty pistachios ...

Big whoop if they're causing the entire world to cherish $39 DVD players and $8 red teddies ...

Wal-Mart cares.

Well, they care enough to sponsor the $300K tab for scholarships that will be awarded on ABC's new reality show, "The Scholar."

It's definitely cheaper than those nasty benefits.

LINK: Wal-Mart's New Realm: Reality TV

Golf frustration, with Paul Hochman

This guy has serious fun issues ...



Don't be fooled by the ALL CAPS headline

During a visit to the OIA press room, I almost cruised past this because of the SCREAMING ALL CAPS HEADLINE.

However, it's pretty damn interesting. Thanks to CG for taking the initiative.


A little hypothermia is not so bad

Originally uploaded by drewbo.
This wicked t-shirt is being hawked by Dubious Honor productions, the Maine-based surf filmmakers.

Beginning with "Downeast Hardcore," freezing their way through "Call Me Ishmael," and now wrapping up the trilogy with "Rubberman" ... this is a great way to feel warm, wherever you are.



Expert advice: How to barbecue

Excerpted from The Onion:

* Marinate your ribs in bourbon before barbecuing. The best way to do this is by pouring the whiskey down your throat.

* One safety tip to keep in mind while barbecuing is that you should never, ever light your house on fire.

* It's important that you choose the right kind of fire for grilling meat. Class D magnesium-based fires are not the right kind of fire for grilling meat.

* Whatever you do, don't shout the phrase 'Johnsonville brats!' at the top of your lungs. Don't let your neighbors do that, either.

* Do you have an entire set of tableware designed with a playful, summery watermelon-slice theme? Well, isn't that adorable. Let me see that spoon! Even the spoon is a little watermelon. Honey, come here and look at this spoon.

* Don't forget to repeatedly baste your cooking pork in barbecue sauce, which will 'mask the spoiled taste.'

* The endangered Cebu cinnamon tree of the Philippines is the best firewood for grilling. Use anything less, and you might as well be cooking your food on top of smoldering raccoon shit.

* For optimal flavor, raise your own animals, make your own charcoal, and distill your own vinegar. For passable flavor, head on down to Smokey's Ribs & Things out by the airport.

* When barbecuing veggie burgers, be sure to tie your long hair back. That will keep it away from the flames, you stupid hippie.

LINK: The Onion


Originally uploaded by drewbo.

Wait ... Isn't Bob Deep Throat?

Originally uploaded by drewbo.

Yeah, right

Kids as young as 8 years old have a fully developed sarcasm gland, according to a recent study.

This is welcome news, as cynical children clearly provide an entirely untapped demographic for OIA outreach efforts. Other recently discovered target groups with potential include:

* - Undocumented Immigrant Workers;
* - The Kansas City Chiefs and the people who love them;
* - Scotland.