Below are a series of writing and photography samples from Tom Boyd, proprietor of Flat Earth Media. They are meant to show the diversity of work we can provide, from event-day coverage, to feature writing, long-form storytelling, corporate communications and press release creation.
More work is available online, available below the “Additional Materials” links.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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More writing samples are available online
Rocky Mountain News September 12, 2001
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN VAIL TO GO ON – WITH SOME CHANGES
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Rocky Mountain News, September 12, 2001
VAIL – Despite Tuesday’s acts of terrorism, officials of the 2001 UCI World Mountain Biking Championships and the Vail Valley Foundation decided to continue with the event, which kicks off with tonight’s Opening Ceremony and is scheduled to last through Sunday.
“People have worked very hard to compete, and international terrorism should not deprive them of that opportunity,” said John Dakin of the Vail Valley Foundation.
Several changes were made to the event’s original schedule, including moving the team relays from Tuesday night to Thursday morning. Plans for the Opening Ceremony have been scaled back, and American flags have been lowered to half-mast in respect for those affected by Tuesday’s events.
Though it is uncertain if all of the riders – from 43 countries – expected to race in weekend competition will arrive, many top riders have been training in Vail for weeks, including U.S. men’s cross country favorite Todd Wells.
Wells, who took two years away from the sport, returned this year to become the top American finisher in the North American Off-Road Bicycling Association race series. He said many racers have come to Vail early to prepare for a race at high altitude on a new cross country course.
“When I first got here it’d be tough to breathe, I’d wake up gasping,” Wells said. “But what’s cool about racing (in Vail) is that you race through town, and because Colorado is such a big place for racing, all the people are out there, stacked however many deep.”
Saturday, riders equipped with eight inches of suspension on their bikes and wearing helmets and body armor will ride 50-60 mph down Vail Mountain in the downhill competition. Among the favorites in that category is American rider Missy Giove, who scored a gold medal in the 1994 Championships, also contested in Vail. Giove has had a longstanding rivalry with French rider Anne-Caroline Chausson, who won the past four championships gold medals in downhill and also won last year’s World Cup event on the same course in Vail.
Dual competition, which requires similar equipment to downhill, sends riders through dirt tracks similar to the snow-based tracks used for bobsled. Two riders face each other head-to-head in a race through the tracks and over 15-foot high jumps and technical bump sections. American rider Brian Lopes won the silver at last year’s Championships in Spain and is a leading contender in this year’s dual competition.
TEARFUL DUNLAP DEDICATES WIN
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Rocky Mountain News, September 17, 2001
VAIL – The Star-Spangled Banner played in victory Sunday as Colorado Springs resident and U.S. rider Alison Dunlap shocked the mountain biking world with a come-from-behind win in the women’s elite cross country event on the final day of the 2001 UCI World Mountain Biking Championships.
Dunlap dedicated her gold medal to the families and loved ones of those killed or missing in terrorist attacks Tuesday.
“After Tuesday, I didn’t even want to ride my bike anymore, it just seemed so pointless,” Dunlap said through tears, with her family by her side. “But I just wanted to do this for everyone who lost loved ones, to show everybody that there’s still good in this world. It’s a great day to be alive.”
Dunlap, a graduate of Smoky Hill High School, stayed patient early, then made her move on the final lap of the 20.37-mile course, finishing in 1 hour, 51 minutes, 28 seconds for the first American cross country championships win since Ruthie Matthes at Il Ciocco, Italy, in 1991. Alison Sydor of Canada earned silver (1:51:40) and Sabine Spitz of Germany took bronze (1:52:18).
Men’s elite cross country champion Roland Green of Canada beat two Swiss riders in the race covering 27.06 miles to give North America two gold medals Sunday. Green, who said he was deeply affected bythe attacks Tuesday, rolled through the finish in 1:58:52, ahead of Thomas Frischknecht (1:59:36) and Christof Sauser (1:59:42). Todd Wells of Durango was the top American finisher at 26th place (2:05:56).
The elite men’s race finished an extraordinarily busy day at the Championships, as all events scheduled for Friday were moved to Sunday to honor President Bush’s request for a day of prayer and remembrance. The first gold of the day went to junior men’s rider Inaki Lejarreta Errasti of Spain (1:33:35), who beat Norwegian rider Lars Petter Nordhaug (1:35:49). There were no American junior men’s riders.
Nicole Cooke of Great Britain finished in 1:11:46 to take gold in the junior women’s competition, ahead of Maja Wloszczowska of Poland (1:11:52) and Julie Pesenti of France (1:12:12). Top American rider Magen Long finished fifth in 1:14:16.
North American riders made a stronger showing in the men’s under-23 division, where American Walker Ferguson took bronze (2:01:56) and Canadian Ryder Hesjedal of Canada took silver (2:00:47) behind Julien Absalon of France (1:59:09).
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FIRST FAMILY OF FREESTYLE SENDS WELLS (NZL) TO HISTORIC HALFPIPE COMPETITION
Note: The writing I’ve done at Vancouver, Torino, Innsbruck and Nanjing is a bit different than typical sports writing. It is usually written for a media-access-only site run by the organizing committees or the IOC called Infosys, and written in England’s English. The writing is due to the sub-editors 15 minutes after the close of the event, and is distributed to working media on-site shortly thereafter. Therefore the writing is very terse and fact-based, designed to give media a factual re-cap of the event. We also produce “flash quotes” to go along with the stories and distribute those separately. The job also requires that we provide information, support, and expertise to attending media in our role as a sports specialist.
Innsbruck, Austria, January 10, 2012 –It’s only fitting that Freestyle Skiing royalty was in attendance on Thursday as the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Olympic Youth Games officially welcomed the sport of Ski Halfpipe to the Olympic programme.
New Zealand’s Beau-James WELLS is the third of four brothers who are known far and wide as the first family of Halfpipe Skiing.
The 16-year-old executed his acrobatic craft with gusto during the sport’s first-ever
Olympic training runs on Thursday in anticipation of the historic competition, which begins on Saturday.
“I just love it, it feels like flying,” WELLS said after his impressive training session.
WELLS, who spends his time skiing top mountains in the US and New Zealand, described his first trip down an Olympic superpipe as a career highlight.
Lead by eldest brother Jossi WELLS (NZL), one of the top-10 riders in the world, the WELLS family cruise a never-summer world, chasing snow from New Zealand to Colorado and back again.
“Jossi always did everything first,” WELLS said of his brother. “We all wanted to be like him, we all just followed him.”
Jossi, 21, Byron, 19, Beau-James and Jackson, 13, now learn techniques and tips from each other, feeding of each other’s energy and following the lead of their coach and father, Bruce.
“It’s pretty fun, going back-to-back winters,” WELLS said.
Their high-flying lifestyle has been documented in the recently-released film, “Winter of Wells,” which is one of the most downloaded movies of its kind for New Zealand iTunes customers.
Skiing Halfpipe will make its Olympic debut with the Men’s and Women’s Ski Halfpipe qualification on January 14, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe Final on January 15.
MEN’S SKI CROSS: HEARTBREAK FOR DELBOSCO AS FIRST MEDALS GO TO SCHMID (SUI), MATT (AUT) AND GROENVOLD (NOR)
CYPRESS MOUNTAIN, Feb. 21, 2010 – Michael SCHMID (SUI) came out of the first starting gate and left the rest of the field behind, skiing five clean runs in a row to claim the first-ever Men’s Ski Cross Gold Medal.
No other racer could match SCHMID’s quick starts and pure speed. The 25-year-old World Cup leader went right to the front of the pack and stayed there in each of his four Final-round races. He was tailed by Andreas MATT (AUT) in the Semifinal and Final as MATT cruised to a Silver medal.
Canadian medal hope Christopher DELBOSCO (CAN) made the Final but had trouble with the “W”-shaped wu-tang feature at the start of the race, which dropped him to fourth out of the start sequence. He gathered speed and made a pass coming into the second-to-last-turn and managed to securely reach the Bronze position heading into the final turns. However, when he reached the hard kicked just above the last drop-down jump and final run out, DELBOSCO hurtled into the air off-balance, nicked the blue gate, and flew sideways into the air. He crashed hard before the audience of 4,344, and it was several minutes before he recovered and skied through the finish gate for fourth place.
While DELBOSCO lay stunned on the snow, Audin GROENVOLD (NOR) recovered from his own crash, caught up to the field, and skied passed DELBOSCO for Bronze.
Davey BARR (CAN) only found out he would be competing in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games 24 hours before the race. Ranked 27th in the World Cup, BARR skied a well-planned line to take sixth.
Jamaican medal hope Errol KERR (JAM) placed ninth after making a strong first-round manoeuvre on the final turn.[Followed by notes and fact package etc] …
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NORWEGIAN SKIER SNUFFS MAIER’S BIRTHDAY CANDLES
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Rocky Mountain News, December 8 2003
BEAVER CREEK – Victory would have been his birthday gift of choice, but Austrian Hermann Maier had to settle for second place Sunday at the Beaver Creek Birds of Prey super-G on his 31st birthday.
The honor of depriving Maier of his wish belonged to Norwegian upstart Bjarne Solbakken, who capped a career weekend Sunday with a winning time of 1 minute, 13.05 seconds. Maier’s time was .39 second behind Solbakken, and Austrian Hans Knauss filled out the top three with a time of 1:13.50.
Solbakken said he had great respect for Maier, but he felt little remorse about beating a man who already had notched his 44th career World Cup victory at the Birds of Prey downhill Saturday.
“Hermann won (Saturday), so he can’t complain,” the 26-year-old Solbakken said. “But it feels great (to beat Maier) – he’s been one of the top skiers in the world for a lot of years.”
After a season filled with injuries and prolonged illness last year, Solbakken came out strong in Friday’s downhill to earn his first World Cup podium. Solbakken said the taste of success kept him sleepless on the night before his 15th-place performance Saturday, but calmer nerves prevailed Sunday.
“I had fond memories of Beaver Creek before, but now, for sure (I do),” Solbakken said. “But it’s been a good hill for me.”
Memories of Beaver Creek will not be so fond for American Bode Miller, who couldn’t keep his line in the relatively fast, straight upper portion of the super-G course and missed a gate. Low clouds and poor visibility contributed to several high-profile disqualifications, including Hannes Trinkl, Michael Walchhofer and Miller.
The disqualification was the third in three days for Miller, who suffered a violent wreck in Friday’s downhill and skied off course Saturday.
The piste was far kinder to American Daron Rahlves, who still was glowing from a historic win Friday – only the second victory for an American on American soil since 1984. Rahlves missed the podium by .06 second Saturday, and managed a solid 12th-place finish Sunday with a time of 1:14.17.
“These three races really hurt Bode,” Rahlves said. “He had the potential to really get some points on the board – but he’s going to rule the world in giant slalom.”
Miller still leads all Americans in the overall World Cup standings, holding on to seventh place on the strength of two giant slalom victories – in Soelden, Austria, and Park City, Utah.
Rahlves, who was last year’s second-ranked downhiller, is showing he has the ability to make a run for the overall World Cup title as well, even though he only competes in three events – downhill, super-G and giant slalom. He currently has a comfortable eighth-place ranking, aided by a top-20 finish Sunday that Rahlves said he felt lucky to have.
“I was rushed before the race and was still getting dressed on the chairlift, and then I had to jump right into the starting gate,” Rahlves said. “I had to step around a gate, just barely made the gate at pumphouse and nearly missed a gate at the bottom. So I’m just happy to finish. It’s one of those races where I could have been out five times.”
The U.S. team suffered a blow when the nation’s third-ranked downhiller, Marco Sullivan, injured himself during a downhill training run here Thursday.
But Jake Fiala, of Frisco, recovered from a poor opening performance on his home piste and marked 13th, just behind Rahlves, with a time of 1:14.23.
American Scott Macartney finished 26th (1:15.86) and American Dane Spencer tied for 37th (1:16.78). American Thomas Vonn did not finish.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD AT BEAVER CREEK
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Rocky Mountain News, December 6 2006
BEAVER CREEK – Jay Cutler wasn’t the only up-and-comer to make a grand debut Sunday. About 100 miles west of the Mile High City, three up-and-coming young skiers made their marks in the World Cup standings at the Beaver Creek slalom.
Canadian Michael Janyk had a historic day, earning the right to wear skiing’s coveted red bib – indicating his status as the No. 1-ranked slalom skier in the world – after taking second place in Sunday’s slalom.
“Check this out, check this out, I’m wearing the red bib,” the 24-year-old Canadian shouted as he was greeted after the race by an entourage of friends who had made the trip from Canada. “This is something you dream about when you’re a kid.”
Swedish 23-year-old Andre Myhrer laid down an immaculate first run and held his lead through the afternoon to win in 1:48.60. In third was another young skier, 22-year-old Felix Neureuther of Germany (1:50.00).
All three results marked career-best finishes. With a crowd numbering around 1,500, the pressure might not have been as intense as a Sunday Night Football game, but it still rattled the young skiers as they headed into their second run.
“Yeah, I was a little bit nervous,” Myhrer said. “(American skier Ted Ligety) was killing me up on the lift up there, telling me stuff, making me nervous.”
Ligety, a gold medalist in the 2006 Olympic Games in Italy, was in second place behind Myhrer heading into the afternoon. Known as a jokester, Ligety was sporting a magic-marker mustache as he came out of the starting gate for his second run.
There was no laughing out of Ligety, though, when he skied off course early in his second run.
America’s top-ranked male skier, Bode Miller, looked out of sync during his first run. He was more than a second behind the leader when he came late into a turn and missed a gate.
Miller was a passenger in a near-disastrous single-car accident Saturday night at Beaver Creek. The car slid off the road, went airborne, spun around 360 degrees, then came to a stop upright.
The car was damaged but no one was injured.
Miller was unavailable for comment after his ski-out in the first run, but family members said Miller handled the accident “casually.” He walked away unscathed and was seen later that night playing basketball at a local health club, along with other U.S. Ski Team members.
Miller and Ligety’s disqualifications closed out America’s best chances to land another podium during this four-event, four-day World Cup competition.
The results of Sunday’s slalom might foreshadow things to come, yet World Cup slalom is a tricky business and nearly always up for grabs. The open-ended nature of slalom was dramatized Sunday when Alois Vogl of Germany, who held second place after the first run, was disqualified nearly an hour after his run. It was the first time this season a racer has been disqualified under new rules that allow greater freedom for jury members to use video replay.
It didn’t take video replay to see big names such as Rainer Shoenfelder (Austria), Giorgio Rocca (Italy), Benjamin Raich (Austria), Markus Larsson (Sweden) and Christoph Dreier (Austria) fall victim to Sunday’s courses. Great skiers were left with heads hanging while younger skiers prepared to pounce.
Watching from the starter shack, Neureuther saw his opportunity and took it.
“I thought, ‘Now I can attack this course, and this could be my chance,’” Neureuther said.
Neureuther’s personal story is among the most compelling in World Cup skiing. He recently recovered from a heart infection, which kept him out of skiing for 3 1/2 months last season. To celebrate health and his podium, he said, he would first call his 95-year-old grandfather, who has a birthday today.
The results were shining for World Cup’s younger set, but weren’t so bright for the US Ski Team’s men. Amerian Jimmy Cochran, 25, was the only light on the leaderboard as he continued his trend this weekend of marking solid finishes. He finished 22nd – the best American placing of the day – and is 20th in the 2006-07 World Cup slalom rankings.
Miller still the overall top-ranked American after an up-and-down weekend of skiing at Beaver Creek. He skied off course in Thursday’s super combined, but took first in Friday’s downhill. He is sixth in the overall World Cup rankings.
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RUMORS: NASCAR NEXT BUY FOR GILLETT
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Rocky Mountain News, March 24, 2007
Entrepreneur George Gillett Jr. may be looking to add a NASCAR team to his growing sports-related holdings. He recently attended a race with NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham, who is looking for a financial partner for his Evernham Motorsports team. He is expected to join Evernham again for a race in Tennessee this weekend, but a spokesperson for Gillett would not confirm that he is involved in negotiations to buy into the team.
Rumors that Gillett is looking to buy into the auto-racing circuit come just as Gillett prepares to close a deal that will make him a 50-50 partner in the ownership of the Liverpool FC soccer club, based in England.
That deal, expected to close next week, gives Gillett and Dallas-based partner Tom Hicks equal shares of one of the world’s most valuable sports teams. The $430.8 million deal includes an agreement to pay off $89 million of debt and completion of a 60,000-seat stadium at Stanley Park.
Gillett owns the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, the Grand Targhee ski resort in Wyoming, and recently orchestrated a buy-back for Booth Creek Ski Holdings, which has interests in ski resorts nationwide.
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SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS COMES TO VILAR
By Tom Boyd
January 2, 2008 — If Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, and a famous accordion player had a love child and the child grew up and ran away to join the circus, and then he became a magician who started a band, that band would be Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.
And lucky for us, tickets to see them at the Vilar Center are still available. The band plays Vilar Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.
Even if you’ve never heard them, or never heard OF them, I recommend checking them out. They somehow manage to sound very familiar and yet unique at the same time ‘ and more than anything they have a whimsical, fun nature (as if you couldn’t tell that already by their name.)
On another note, if you’re looking to buy tickets to Hairspray (Jan. 4), Beach Boys (Jan. 26), or BB King (April 10), unfortunately those are all sold out.
MERRY EVENT OPTIONS FOR A VERY VAIL CHRISTMAS
By Tom Boyd
December 23, 2008 — While many towns ease into silent tranquility on Christmas, shops close, and normal life shuts down, Vail tends to take things up a notch. There are a lively number of events surrounding Dec. 25 in Vail and Beaver Creek: from Charles Dickens to Chinese acrobats, apres ski to ice skating, Christmastime in our town can be as tranquil – or as entertaining – depending on what you’re after.
Getting into the spirit, for me, always means watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” on TV and, of course, delving into the genius of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s accompanying music. “A Christmas Story,” marathon is also a standard ingredient to a good Christmas, as is “A Christmas Carol.”
But television makes a poor proxy for the real thing. A live performance of “A Christmas Carol,” will play a matinee performance and an evening performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center Dec. 23 … seems like a good way to get into the Christmas spirit to me. Tickets are available online or by calling the Vilar Center box office at 888.920.ARTS(2787).
When it comes to Christmas Day I highly recommend skiing with the family. The mountain is generally less crowded than it is on Dec. 26 through New Years, and as I look back through my many years here I’m hard pressed to remember a Christmas Day which lacked good snow. The air is always crisp and clean – a welcome atmosphere after loading up on eggnog and a turkey dinner on Christmas Eve.
When the ski day is done, my top recommendation the Chinese Acrobats performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Christmas Day. A runaway hit several years running in New York City and Beaver Creek, the Golden Dragon Acrobats perform feats which are physically daring, yet gracefully executed. What I like about this event is that it beats the Christmas movie every time – it’s the kind of performance you’ll remember for a lifetime … or, at least, I will always remember the time I saw the Chinese acrobats perform their jaw-dropping mix of contortionism, acrobatics, grace and showmanship. Tickets are $32c/$42a, and are available online or by calling the Vilar Center box office at 888.920.ARTS (2787).
Another top recommendation is to go skating at the outdoor ice rink at Beaver Creek. Adult Ice Skating classes are offered at 4 p.m. there Dec. 26.
And, of course, apres ski doesn’t take a break on Christmas. Keep a lookout for Shannon Tanner at McCoys, Kevin Danzig at the Arrabelle, Tony Gulizia and Allan Finney at Cascade resort, and Roy Bloomfield at the Marriot.
PHILHARMONIC CAPS BRAVO! VAIL PERFORMANCES
By Tom Boyd
July 14, 2008 — The Rochester Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic – it’s hard to believe, but these phenomenal orchestras all come through Vail each summer as part of the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
Even if you’re not a classical music fan, I highly recommend attending one of the many events in this summer’s festival. There is nothing quite like hearing a full symphony orchestra in person, and to hear it in the fine, crisp air of the Ford Amphitheater in Vail makes for a primo experience.
This week the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Rossen Milanov conducting, will perform along with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Colorado Children’s Chorale. Green Sneakers will premiere at the Vilar Center on Tuesday, with a special post-concert reception to meet the conductor to take place afterward.
A free family youth concert is scheduled for Thursday at Ford Amphitheater, while simultaneously a “Casual Classics” music and conversation event is scheduled for the Town Hall in Gypsum.
And Friday comes the much-anticipated return of the New York Philharmonic. Pianist Lang Lang will perform Tchaikovsky, to be followed by Beethoven’s Simphony No. 4 and Sibelius’ Finlandia Classical.
The arrival of the New York Philharmonic has become one of the most exciting events in town each summer, and their arrival kicks off several weeks more of concerts and events.
Here’s a complete calendar of upcoming Bravo events [etc…]:
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ALASKA’S KENAI PENINSULA
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Denver Post, July 23, 2014
Cooper Landing, Alaska — On September 27, 2013, on an otherwise quiet night on the Kenai Peninsula, a 102,000-acre-foot flood unleashed from the Skilak Glacier Dammed Lake. The water tore through 17 miles of wilderness, churned up ice and debris along the way, and plunged into main Skilak Lake almost 20 miles away.
When the dam broke, no one was there to see it, hear it, or otherwise run for cover. The Alaskan wilderness is so vast that the event went practically unnoticed. Skilak Lake itself is so large (24,711 acres of surface area) that the water level in the 2013 event only rose about two feet.
“I wouldn’t call it violent, but in a normal rainy season it might take a month to notice a significant rise in the river out here,” said Scott Walden, Office of Emergency Management for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. “When a jökulhlaup [ice-damn break] occurs, it’s within 24 hours you might see that kind of rise.”
It’s Walden’s job, along with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to be one of the few who DO notice when jökulhlaups happen. Throughout the 2013 event, his office alerted and informed the roughly 250-300 seasonal residents and visitors of the lake’s rise, which combined with high lake levels to create minor flooding.
Humans might be a bit swamped by such events, but the rainbow trout don’t care. The salmon don’t care. It’s just another event in the cycles of Alaska.
Living among such intense natural forces may explain why fish in the Kenai River, which flows into Skilak Lake, are so outrageously strong compared to their equals in size and weight from Colorado rivers.
“It’s hard to believe when your seven-weight rod is tacoed in half on a 16-inch fish,” said Kenai Fly Fishing guide T.J. Dawson. “These fish are wild. Your five-weight isn’t going to survive up here.”
Dawson knows the differences between Colorado and Alaska quite well. Charmed by the Kenai River’s turquoise color, not to mention its world-renown sockeye and king salmon runs, Dawson left for Alaska in 2005 after ten years of guiding for Blue River Anglers on the Blue River in Summit County.
In Colorado, Dawson said, “…there are a lot of different types of fish waiting to eat a lot of different types of flies. It almost doesn’t matter the time of year … if the water’s somewhat clear you’re going to catch fish, easy as that. And there are huge fish on Colorado rivers, too, it just maybe takes a bit more practice to land them.”
But it seems a dull comparison to the monstrous sockeye salmon and 10-to-20-pound rainbows lurking in the glacial-blue waters of the Kenai. Together with the dolly varden trout (a relative of the brook trout) and about 40 other species of fish, the river made for incredible fishing during a visit this July 3. Add in some ducks, a baker’s dozen of bald eagles for every few miles, the occasional bear, and by the time a fisherman casts his first line, there’s little doubt why Kenai has such legendary status.
Online videos may feed that status, creating a sense that salmon are endlessly boiling Alaska’s waters, but that’s not always the case.
“Sometimes on the Kenai these fish just turn off and on, they migrate around,” Dawson said. “People think you come up here and it’s like shooting them in a barrel and it’s not always like that, it’s tricky fishing a lot of times.”
People, on the other hand, are plentiful. Anchorage is only a couple hours away, and walk-in access is fairly easy.
“Father’s day weekend it’s like NASCAR (on the Russian River), beers and lawnchairs, it looks like bleachers full of people just waiting to get in and fish,” Dawson said. “But for the most part it’s friendly, people are helping you out. I actually enjoy it.”
Managing the crowds is serious business, said Tyson Fick of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Fick said article 8 of the Alaska Constitution, section 4, is interpreted by officials to put the fish’s long-term sustainability ahead of human economic desires.
“Millions of fish a year come back to [the kenai river] and it’s a real difficult job that Alaska Fish and Game has to balance all of the allocation issues of who gets to catch the fish,” Fick said. “And the job is to primarily put the biological needs first, and that starts with our Constitution.”
The reasoning behind strong protections are plain to see with one glance at Alaska’s stunning landscape, where locals can easily distinguish tourists by their mouths, constantly agape. A visit to Alaska is like a trip back in time, where you get to see what the earth looked like before humans came along and channelized our rivers, built our highways, and generally did our thing.
There are gigantic, endless mountain chains coming up from the sea. There are entire valleys, whole mountain chains left virtually untouched: no roads, no telephone poles, and no trophy cabins. There are glaciers, jökulhlaups, and wild, hairy beasts, but throughout most of Alaska there is virtually no access available to the industrious, hairless ape.
Where we do have access, Walden, Dawson, and Fick recommend that we do our best to tread lightly, catch-and-release the trout, and perhaps take home a fillet or two of the most succulent, fresh salmon the world can possibly offer.
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LOFTY NHL AMBITIONS BEGIN AT HIGH ALTITUDE
By Tom Boyd
Special to the Rocky Mountain News September 19, 2002
VAIL — When hockey legend Guy Carbonneau speaks, people listen.
And the latest words from his bilingual tongue are these: “Colorado is one of the best training spots in the world.”
Apparently so. Colorado mountain communities are playing host to three NHL preseason training camps this month. The Montreal Canadiens, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars all are getting a taste of high-country hockey.
The Pittsburgh Penguins started the trend in 1990, when they brought their team to Dobson Ice Arena in Vail for three days between two exhibition games. The Penguins returned to Vail for two days in 1991 as the defending Stanley Cup champions.
In 1998, Dallas came to Vail for a short training camp, and the Stars went on to beat the Avalanche in the Western Conference finals that year and eventually won the Stanley Cup. Perhaps sensing a winning combination, the Stars have been returning to the mountains ever since. They will conclude a five-day training camp in Breckenridge today before heading to the Pepsi Center in Denver for a 7 p.m. exhibition match with the Avalanche.
“It’s a good getaway for the guys,” Stars head coach Dave Tippett said. “The altitude enhances the conditioning, and it’s a small-town feel out here – everybody is hanging around together, riding bikes and fly-fishing, that kind of thing.”
Tippett said he is hopeful his team will be well-adjusted to the altitude for the game tonight.
“But what we’re really hoping is that it gives us the jump on (opening day) Oct. 9, when we need it,” he said.
Stars trainer Dave Surprenant said he doesn’t expect the direct effects of high-altitude training to last long. There has been speculation that extreme high-altitude training (both ski towns are more than 8,000 feet above sea level) can be detrimental. At least one Stars player, rookie David Oliver, has been diagnosed with a form of high-altitude sickness.
“Everybody goes through a bit of an eye opener when you try to carry a suitcase up stairs, or while skating or biking you’ll notice right off the bat,” Surprenant said. “We really try to inhibit those problems by promoting a lot of water and rest.”
But Surprenant said the effects of high-altitude training are, for the most part, beneficial. Players also become used to high elevations as they get older. Either way, Surprenant and Tippett agree that the camaraderie, as much as the thin air, is what makes mountain-town training effective.
The Canadiens already have had their dose of mountain living. They will have just concluded a five-day training camp in Vail when they face Florida tonight at the Molson Centre at Montreal.
It would seem logical that Canadiens owner George Gillett, a Vail resident, would be the catalyst behind his team’s move to Dobson Arena for camp. But it was Carbonneau, not Gillett, who first suggested the move.
“It’s a privilege, yes, but they’re not here because of me,” said Gillett, whose home is less than five minutes from Dobson. “It’s special, but it’s because of Guy (Carbonneau) that we’re here – and also because it’s a perfect training camp.”
The prospect of a few days in the Rocky Mountains also has attracted the Panthers, who will arrive in Vail on Sunday for four days of ice and dry-land workouts.
There are few distractions in Vail and Breckenridge this time of year as the ski towns finish up summer activities and prepare for another season, which allows coaches and players to put aside daily concerns and spend a few days getting to know each other on and off the ice.
Golfing and biking seem to be the most popular off-ice activities for the NHL players.
Gillett found a spot for Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore, who won the Hart Trophy last season as the league Most Valuable Player, at the private Eagle Springs Golf Club near Wolcott.
“I was telling Mr. Gillett that it’s too bad we are always playing hockey in the winter,” Theodore said. “Otherwise, I would like to come here and go skiing. But I will definitely come back here. I love it here.”
Gillett opened his home to the entire Canadiens team Saturday, hosting a barbecue and, for three members of the team, a birthday party. The bonding continued the next day with mountain bike riding on Vail Mountain. During the Canadiens’ stay, they also were treated to fly-fishing and fine dining.
“We’ll go back feeling very refreshed and very together as a team,” Theodore said.
It’s the Panthers’ turn next. From Sunday to Sept. 26, they will practice at Dobson Arena in the mornings and scrimmage in the afternoons. Admission is free. Information: (970) 476-2270.
. . .
THE HAUNTING APPEAL OF HUTS
Adventures in the backcountry
By Tom Boyd
Vail Beaver Creek Magazine Winter 2007
Somewhere through the fog of exhaustion I heard a thin voice of complaint. Behind me, once again, Chris had stopped to catch his breath. I turned to look back and he dramatically collapsed into the snow.
“Oh my god, I’m so tired,” he said.
“C’mon man,” I said, trying to make my teenage voice sound as grown-up — and motivating — as possible. Then I borrowed a phrase I had heard from my teachers from time to time: “Keep going: It’ll build character.”
Part of me wanted to ski on without him — skiing up to a hut can be difficult, but that’s what makes it interesting. That’s what makes it a more valuable experience than sitting on the couch at home. In my adolescent opinion, Chris just needed to buckle in and go for it and drop the complaining. It’s an unwritten rule, however, to always travel in groups of two or more on a hut trip, so as much as I wanted to, I knew couldn’t leave him behind.
Still, I felt a bit abandoned myself, as most of the group had headed uphill, the sounds of their sealskins or snowshoes now lost in the austere silence of a mid-winter afternoon. This silence continued for a few more hours, growing more and more uncomfortable, until Chris and I eventually came in sight of a large wooden structure with a pointed roof, large windows and smoke from a chimney that looked, in my tired and hungry opinion, like emanations of steam from a hot bowl of soup. The thought of arriving, of finally substituting wet ski clothes for warm flannel, sent an involuntary shiver through my bones. I redoubled my efforts and sped toward the hut, leaving Chris well behind.
I had no idea, at the time, that 24 hours later I would be lost and hungry, cold and desperate on a black winter night, terrified that I would never see the hut, or home, again.
There is perhaps no other childhood like one can have growing up in the Rockies, outdoors much of the time, skiing constantly, backpacking in the summertime, learning all the delicate intricacies of life in the outdoors without ever realizing how rare and strange such an upbringing seems to outsiders. A special bond formed between those of us who grew up together in this way, and we still stay in touch no matter where we’ve all chosen to live.
A hut trip provides a micro experience of this life. The challenges of living and traveling outdoors, in the mountains, on foot, create bonds that can be everlasting. Perhaps that’s why so many businesses choose hut trips for their corporate retreats — and it’s also why good friends who live far apart will, year after year, convene high atop a mountain somewhere to catch up, have a good time, and reform old bonds.
A friend of mine who also grew up in Vail, Clark Anderson, organizes just such a trip each year for a few of us old-time Vail kids. He has a special connection to the Shrine Mountain huts; Chuck’s cabin is named for his late father, and he was married there.
“To me the hut trip is about people more than anything,” he wrote in a recent correspondence. “You are out there, you are in a stunning setting and that connection is also important — it’s huge. But with a hut trip, the human element is still the most important part. Perhaps what makes it so great is that you are in such an amazing setting and you are there with great people; you are sharing it with each other and that makes both bonds — to the people and to the place — stronger.”
These words were underscored when, on a recent hut trip to the Polar Star Inn I skied, with two friends, Scott and Dan, to the backside of New York Mountain. Shunning snowmobiles, we took a purist route from below the old town of Fulford, and skied thousands of vertical feet to near treeline. Arriving exhausted, we spent several hours celebrating our courageous decision to carry a heavy load of beer and wine in our burgeoning backpacks.
The next day, lightheaded from much more than the high elevation, I skied toward the lip of the ridgeline near the summit of New York Mountain. Fifteen feet from the edge I stopped in trepidation, realizing that I was a moment away from making a rookie mistake. Edging carefully around a nearby pine tree (which I could be assured was planted in solid ground), I gained a view of my near-miss. I could see where my ski tracks stopped, just in time, at the edge of a massive ten-foot wide cornice overhang, which could easily crack and falter under my weight. At least 800 feet of nothingness awaited below. I would have been crushed upon impact and my body, I grimly surmised, would have to wait until springtime for recovery.
It chills me to this day to think of what a novice skier, interested in the view, would have experienced had he or she decided to peek over the edge of the mountaintop. Scott skied over to where I was and we stood there together, gazing into the abyss, miles from any other living souls, and I was glad to be alive in such a place.
It is the danger, sometimes, which brings people together.
Other times, it is the inexplicable joy of a great backcountry ski day that brings people together. When I awoke to my first morning on that first of many hut trips, my groggy teenage self discovered a cold breakfast and a room full of people already packing up for a ski day. I shoved breakfast down and hurried out the door, slinging my daypack over my shoulder without bothering to check what I had brought along. I leapt into my skis and caught up to my friend Kent Van Vleet, who, like me, wore borrowed leather boots and some of his father’s old ski gear.
There are many things I don’t remember from that first trip (for example, I can’t recall exactly which hut we visited, or which parents were along to chaperone), but there are a few things that I clearly remember.
The skiing, I will never forget, was absolutely amazing. Kent and I skied lap after lap of fresh turns through waist-deep powder. We were engulfed in snow, practically choking on it, laughing and shouting to one another and planning our next run as we hurried again toward the top. Soon we were building jumps, trying any number of tricks in the air with the knowledge that the snow was so deep, so soft, so forgiving, that we could land any way we wanted and never be hurt. To me that day was, and still is, a picture of paradise.
It is stunning how quickly things can change in the wilderness.
While others made preparations to return to the hut, I decided to stay and revel in my newfound paradise. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to stay longer than anyone else and see the stars come out, and to take it all in, and think and dream about ways I could live my whole life in the Rockies, staying in huts, camping, skiing, and perhaps writing about it. As usual, an adult intervened, saying I couldn’t stay out alone, how dangerous that was, and I scoffed. Kent solved the problem by volunteering to stay with me. We hiked a bit farther up a ridge and made snow-angels and giant snow-thrones, which we sat upon and lorded over the mountainside, and we watched feather-light clouds speed through the sky. Eventually we could see Venus, which was in its evening phase, against the azure sky.
“This is what I’m talking about,” I said, even though I had no idea what I was talking about.
“What a day,” Kent said, and we were quiet for a while longer. I leaned on my elbow and looked at Kent, at his neon-aqua coat, a cap his mother had knit for him, one of those hats with a big yarn ball at the top, and big three-pin leather boots which looked older than both of us combined.
“Nice boots,” I said.
“You, too,” he said, and we laughed louder than the joke deserved because a lot of the other kids had new boots, and all the best gear, and we didn’t, and we wanted to prove that we liked it that way. But then it occurred to me that our boot selections had left us quite sore on the feet, bleeding in spots where blisters had burst somewhere along the way. Kent took off a boot, peeled away a wool sock to reveal little spots of blood on a clammy foot.
“My feet are killing me.”
“Mine, too,” I said. As I sat up from my throne I felt achy, like I’d just played on the losing end of a hard-hitting hockey game. I waited as Kent slowly, and not without a few quick gasps of pain, slid his boots on. As night fell the air changed, it became suddenly cold, and a gust of wind blew snow over the ridge and down the backs of our coats. We knew it was time to go, so we slapped on our skis and raced downhill, speeding as fast as we could along a set a pre-existing ski tracks.
To this day I’m not sure how it happened, but we took a wrong turn. Trails abound to-and-from the huts, and we were skiing fast, flaunting our skills for an absentee audience. Although it seemed we were following a main trail, we had in fact veered off on some tributary which led down and away from the hut, presumably to some small patch of tree skiing, where it dissipated into nothingness.
By this time we had descended into the trees. I stopped in a small clearing and Kent nearly ran into me.
“Whoa … what’s up man?” He asked. “Where are you going?”
“I thought I was going to the hut, but now I don’t know.”
I peered through an empty pocket in the dark timber, to where I thought I saw a ridgeline in the distance, below. The trail to the hut was also on a ridgeline, so I said, “I think the trail’s over there. Let’s go down farther and over to that ridge.”
We skied downhill but quickly ran into a grove of small lodgepole pines which grew so close together that we couldn’t pass through. I decided it was a good time to practice using some of the expletives I had learned from the older kids.
When I was finished with my rant, Kent took the initiative: “We’ve got to go back up higher, where we can see.”
True worry began to creep to the surface of my thoughts as we turned and began to crawl uphill. It was agonizingly difficult after such a long day, and it felt like a crushing weight on our backs, and our minds. My feet were grating like so much cheese against the rough interiors of my boots, but I stayed quiet because I knew, having seen them, that Kent’s must be worse. We moved slowly, slowly away from our old tracks, through deep, rotten, powder snow.
For a long while we were silent, and the scenery did not change. How could we not be at treeline yet? How low had we gone down?
Eventually I stopped, exhausted.
There was a definite quaver in my voice as I announced, ruefully, that we were lost. It was dark and temperatures were plummeting. With a quiet fury I recalled that I had packed in a hurry that morning and forgotten any type of headlamp or a flashlight. Kent, also, was without a light. For that matter we were without matches, a lighter, or anything to make a fire.
Suddenly we were in a survival situation. We slogged onward and upward, deep in the trees and robbed of a view. My face was numb, no, stinging with cold and I began to develop a grotesque mental picture of a face, mine, blackened with frostbite. I pictured Dr. Eck telling me that we would have to cut off the end of my nose, and I would walk around scarred forever, all because of one stupid decision on a hut trip. I scanned the view in panic, hoping to see the warm propane-generated light pouring from the windows of the hut, but all I saw were black shapes among a blacker background, and above the cold stars which seemed so indifferent, so ancient and uncaring as we struggled for our lives beneath them. I had learned, by then, that the coldest of nights are clear nights, when warm air is free to escape upward to the stratosphere, and the cold is so strong that people stuck out in the night feel less like they are attached to the earth than they are floating through the stars, freezing to death.
I began to think of a snowcave. We had to get higher, to a slope where we could build one, but then I thought of avalanches, and my mind switched its claw-like grip from the image of my frostbit nose to a new image: one of me dying, frozen like a mummy in a cement-hard casket made of ice and avalanche debris. The fear in my mind was trying to take control.
Ruefully, I thought of my own words from the day before and repeated them to myself: “Keep going. It’ll build character.”
And then … there we were. We topped a hill, emerged into a clearing and off to my right, in the opposite direction of where I was sure we needed to go, there stood a slim tower of light. The world seemed to rotate a full revolution, back into place, and I could instantly (of course!) see where we were. The hut, invisible to us in the fading evening light, had become a beacon in the night. Only moments later we were there. Our fear seemed ridiculous and we made it seem like we had just stayed out a little bit later to see the stars, which at that altitude are so crisp and beautiful that everyone bought the excuse.
On our way home, Kent and I peeked over the edge of a ridge and spotted our tracks, which had never veered more than a quarter mile from the hut. We shook our heads, all the wiser, and raced as fast as we could down to the trailhead, to the parking lot, to civilization, and home.
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DIDIER DROGBA AND NOKERO PARTNER TO BRING SAFE,
AFFORDABLE, SOLAR LIGHT TO AFRICA
- Ivorian footballer and United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassador Didier Drogba says solar light bulbs will help Africans who live without electricity
- Nokero solar light bulbs provide a safe, pollution-free and affordable replacement for dangerous kerosene lanterns
Denver, CO (Dec. 14, 2010) — Even in the midst of dark times for his home country of Cote D’Ivoire, Didier Drogba is stepping forward to help bring light to his home continent.
Drogba today announced a partnership with Nokero International Ltd, maker of the world’s only solar light bulb, to help bring affordable solar light to Africans living with little or no electricity.
Drogba discovered Nokero when he heard of the company’s desire to bring its unique and affordable solar light to impoverished regions of the world. He said it can be difficult to imagine what it’s like living without light.
“There is no light to cook dinner, so you have to start cooking maybe around two or three o’clock,” said Drogba, speaking of those who live without electricity. “There is no light so when kids come back from school they can’t do their homework. That’s why I feel and I think that Nokero is a fantastic idea because it can give people a chance to extend their day, to do their homework and maybe to be better at school.”
More than 1.5 billion people live without electricity worldwide, 547 million of whom live in Africa. By 2030, the number of Africans without electricity will rise to 700 million people, according to International Energy Agency estimates.
Nokero solar light bulbs are unique because they are instantly recognizable and require no training or maintenance to use. They are also the most affordable lights of their kind.
Nokero lights can improve working, studying and cooking conditions, and offer a safer and healthier lighting solution for billions of people worldwide who rely on burning kerosene, diesel, and other fossil fuels for light—practices that create indoor air pollution and unsafe conditions. An estimated 1.6 million people die each year from indoor air pollution, and an additional 1 million die each year in fuel-based lighting fires.
“Didier’s humanity is evident in many areas of his life, and we’re sure that this partnership will both save and enrich lives. There is a real need for safe and pollution-free light throughout the world, and we couldn’t be more pleased to work with Didier on this important effort in Africa,” said Nokero founder and social entrepreneur Steve Katsaros.
Drogba and Nokero understand that the solar light bulb won’t solve the current dispute in Cote D’Ivoire, nor end strife and conflicts throughout Africa, but each little bulb is like a small ray of hope: It can help women and children feel safe at night, and it can extend the day so children can study and people can be more productive. It can help remove the 190 million tons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere each year because a quarter of the world still burns fossil fuel lamps for light, and people who have the bulb won’t have to spend hard-earned money, day after day, night after night, on candles and kerosene.
For more information, and to purchase and donate Nokero solar light bulbs, visit www.nokero.com or call us toll free (XXX) XXX-XXXX. For more information on Didier Drogba and The Didier Drogba Foundation, visit www.didierdrogba.com.
# # #
Media can download high-res images of Didier Drogba and the N100 and N200 Nokero solar light bulbs at www.nokero.com/mediadownloads
Founded in 2010 by American inventor and social entrepreneur Steve Katsaros, Nokero International Ltd. serves communities with solar lighting products that empower the people who use them. Nokero takes its name from “no kerosene”. The N100 bulb is currently in use by people in over 60 countries, providing safe and clean light for cooking, reading, studying, household tasks and outdoor recreation. The recently introduced N200 is 60 percent brighter than the N100, lasts 6-plus hours on one-day’s charge, and is affordable to billions of people worldwide who live without reliable access to electricity. Nokero’s Denver, Colo., USA office generates new advances in solar LED design and technology, and develops business and marketing strategies for the company.
About Didier Drogba
Ivorian footballer and United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassador Didier Drogba plays in the center forward position. He currently plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League and is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Côte d’Ivoire national football team. Last year’s golden boot winner has scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player and is currently Chelsea’s 6th highest goal scorer of all time. Drogba is credited with playing a vital role in bringing peace to his country, and was named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He is currently raising funds through The Didier Drogba Foundation to build a hospital in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and is active in helping bring solar light to his home continent.
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NOKERO INTRODUCES WORLD’S ONLY SOLAR LIGHT BULB TO PROVIDE CLEAN, SAFE LIGHTING SOLUTIONS AROUND THE GLOBE
– Designed as an affordable, safe and clean alternative to burning fossil-fuel lamps
– Multiple uses for homes, schools, businesses, outdoor recreation and more
Hong Kong/Denver CO, (June 10, 2010) — Nokero International Ltd today announced the release of the Nokero N100, the world’s only solar light bulb™.
The innovative Nokero bulb offers an affordable, clean and safe lighting solution to 1.6 billion people worldwide – a quarter of the human population – who live without electricity and rely on fossil-fuel lanterns for lighting.
The durable, rainproof light bulb is about the size of a standard incandescent bulb and can be charged during the day to provide hours of clean, safe light at night. It’s also designed with a replaceable, rechargeable battery so it can be renewed to operate for several years.
“We’ve done everything we can to make this solar bulb affordable and long-lasting so the people who need it can afford it, and reap the benefits, “ said Nokero’s inventor and founder Stephen Katsaros. “There are so many ways this product can change lives: It can help keep families and shopkeepers safe, help students study at night, eradicate indoor pollution, and reduce worldwide carbon emissions.”
More affordable than kerosene
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) estimates that those using fuel lamps spend five percent of their income on fuel. The Nokero bulb
removes the cost of fuel, making it affordable even to those living in substandard conditions. It can pay for itself within months when replacing a kerosene lantern because of kerosene’s high cost.
Nokero is cordless and doesn’t require the infrastructure of traditional grid lighting – removing much of the expense faced when attempting to bring electricity to many parts of the world. It is simple, and doesn’t require complicated installation or maintenance.
The bulb provides about four hours of light when fully charged, and about two or more hours of light after a typical day charging in full sunlight.
A cleaner lighting solution
The UNFCC estimates that 190 million tons of carbon dioxide are released by fuel lanterns each year, the equivalent of 30 million cars. The Nokero bulb is solar-powered and does not emit carbon dioxide. Users can expect to save up to 250kg (550 pounds) of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere in one year when they use Nokero bulb versus burning kerosene.
A safer lighting solution
Continued study by the UNFCCC found that families and children using fuel lanterns suffer from increased indoor air pollution and fire risk. Millions of students study in poor lighting conditions and millions more face reduced nighttime security. Nokero provides steady, bright and safe light in comparison to kerosene.
“There’s no other product like this on the market,” Katsaros said. “This bulb represents our best chance at eradicating an outdated, dangerous practice and replacing it with a safe, sustainable solution.”
Nokero is built to last. It is made of impact resistant plastic, four solar panels, and five bright LEDs (light emitting diodes). It can withstand wind, rain, and weather.
The replaceable, nickel metal hydride battery lasts up to two years, and is easily and cheaply replaced. With long-lasting solar panels and LEDs rated for 50,000 hours of light, Nokero N100 can provide reliable light for well beyond the two-year life of the battery.
Nokero has multiple uses. It can be deployed in areas of natural disaster, used for domestic lighting, on camping trips, in schoolhouses or in and around the home or patio. Its elegant light creates a comfortable atmosphere in almost any setting.
*** For immediate release***
***Interview opportunities available***
INVESTORS, ENTREPRENEURS, AND POLICY MAKERS GATHER AT ‘SOMALI INVESTMENT FORUM’ TO ADVANCE SOMALIAN ECONOMY
NAIROBI, KENYA and BROOMFIELD, USA, February 27, 2015 — Hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors will be gathering for the Somali Investment Forum: Returning Capital for Growth (SIF) March 8-10, 2015 at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The two and half day event, co-hosted by Shuraako and the U.S. Embassy, Nairobi, will convene entrepreneurs, investors, sector experts, business development experts and other stakeholders to network, discuss Somali investing, and make investment deals.
“I’ve met with local private sector players within Somalia, as well as diaspora communities from around the world, and the response has been extremely positive,” said Shuraako Director Lee C. Sorensen. “There is enthusiastic anticipation for this event, because all agree that an improved business climate is a crucial building block for growth, development and overall prosperity. Building a strong business ecosystem requires intelligent evolution and many of the architects of this evolution will convene at the forum.”
Micro, small, and medium-sized businesses are critical for creating jobs and growing the economy in a developing or post-conflict nation. Evidence suggests that investing in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises offers a promising solution to economic struggles in Somalia, where unemployment rates for men are estimated at 61 percent, women at 74 percent, and youth aged 14-29 at 67 percent.
The event will balance in-depth exploration of Somalia’s economic landscape with relationship building and direct investment action. Entrepreneurs from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will even have the opportunity to present their ideas to investors in a ‘pitch ring’ on the final day, where they can gain interest from potential investors and win letters of interest that can set them firmly on the path to formal investment. Attending investors include several large financial institutions, as well as diaspora investors and philanthropic investors, who collectively represent a large and significant investment potential for the country.
“There are many solid investments in Somalia if investors and businesses are able to come together and thoroughly complete due diligence, and this Forum provides the kind of linkages necessary to initiate that process,” Sorensen said. “It’s also an opportunity for the business community to come together, determine their common needs and how they might bring recommendations to policy makers, which strengthens the foundation for sustainable development.
Topics to be explored at the event include:
- Renewable energy
- Various types of capital
- Bilateral business support
- Women in business
- Youth in business
- Role of business associations
Agenda highlights include:
- Exposé of Somali entrepreneurs who has overcome the various hurdles
- ‘Pitch Ring’ where entrepreneurs present their business to investors, with the option to participate in a ‘Practice Your Pitch’ session
- Investors initiating ‘Letters of Interest’ to pledge capital
- Trade Show consisting of entrepreneur and business development services booths
- Compilation of entrepreneur and business profiles
- Numerous networking opportunities
For more information visit: http://shuraako.org/sif
Shuraako is a nonprofit implementation project of the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), operating throughout Somalia. Shuraako believes that healthy markets and good governance mutually support one another. Shuraako, (Somali for “partnership”), facilitates investment in promising Somalia-based businesses, which fosters a marketplace that encourages economic development and stability throughout the country.
Shuraako itself is not an investor; rather it acts as a neutral broker, evaluating and managing potential investments, creating relationships throughout the supply chain, and structuring investments ranging from no-interest to Islamic-finance compliant debt and equity. In the process, Shuraako hopes to catalyze economic development by expanding markets for goods and services and by encouraging investment and trade, which stimulate job creation. Shuraako believes that these efforts will culminate in a stronger private sector, which will contribute to greater peace and stability by means of better governance.
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*** For immediate release ***
REAL ESTATE RESET IN THE AMERICAN WEST: SUBURBS STABALIZE WHILE COMPACT, WALKABLE COMMUNITIES THRIVE
New study finds:
- Housing market preferences are diversifying in the Rockies, like those nationwide,.
- The future housing market will reflect the different lifestyle choices of various demographic groups, particularly Generation Y and Baby Boomers.
- For six communities studied, the average price per square foot for walkable development was 18.5% higher than other types of housing between 2000 and 2011.
- An average of about 16 percent of new housing starts from 2000-2011 were located in compact, walkable developments, however survey respondents indicate that an unmet demand exists, as high as 25 percent in some areas.
- Detached, single-family homes remain the most preferred housing type, but 37 percent of survey respondents would trade for attached housing in order to live in or near downtown.
- In today’s economic climate, communities have an historic opportunity set the table by addressing policy barriers and encouraging public-private partnerships to enable quality projects in core areas.
- Clark Anderson, Sonoran Institute Western Colorado Program Director
- Randy Carpenter, Sonoran Institute Northern Rockies Program Director
“The American Dream is alive and well, but it may look a little different from what we’ve been building the last few decades. Demand for walkable neighborhoods and living closer to schools, shopping, and recreation is growing. Many people will pay more to live in those places. But there isn’t a lot of product that meets this demand. It’s a largely untapped market, but it’s out there.”
“People in the Rockies want it all, easy access to the outdoors and recreation, plus the activity and convenience of living in-town and being able to walk to shops and restaurants. Many communities in the Rockies have the potential to offer both, but there isn’t really a lot of housing product that responds to this demand – it’s a largely untapped market.”
– Clark Anderson, The Sonoran Institute Western Colorado Program Director
BOZEMAN, Mont., February 11, 2014 — Did the Great Recession fundamentally change homebuyer’s attitudes? Will a wave of retiring Baby Boomers and the emergence of an even larger Generation-Y shift consumer demand? How will stagnant household incomes affect housing decisions?
These and other questions are addressed in a seminal new study of the Western U.S. housing market commissioned by the Sonoran Institute, a nonprofit conservation and community development organization with offices through the Intermountain West. The 60-page report focused on six communities in the region: Boise, Idaho; Bozeman, Mont.; Buena Vista, Colo.; Carbondale, Colo.; and Teton County, Idaho.
“What we are seeing is a more varied market that reflects the needs and wants of people at different stages in life, economic circumstances of lifestyle preferences,” said Clark Anderson, The Sonoran Institute’s Colorado Program Director based in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. “More and more people want convenience, they want to walk, and they want neighborhoods with character. In a lot of towns these qualities are hard to find outside of a few small, historic neighborhoods. So it’s sort of an untapped opportunity.”
Demographic and economic trends, along with changing consumer preferences all play a role in shifting demand, Anderson said, noting that the Institute’s findings are in keeping with national studies that indicate shifting home buyer preferences. For example, a 2011 survey by the National Association of Realtors, which provided inspiration the Institute’s more regionally focused analysis, showed growing demand for homes in areas with a “sense of place,” and other attributes like walkability and reduced commute time.
“Since the post-WWII era, we’ve been building housing and infrastructure that’s very suburban in character,” said Randy Carpenter, director of the Sonoran Institute’s Northern Rockies Program based in Bozeman, Montana. “The study shows there is a growing demand for something different.”
The Sonoran Institute wanted to know if national trends hold true in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, and other Western states. The Institute commissioned Economic Planning Systems, a real estate analysis firm, to assess the future of housing in six communities that are representative of the West as a whole.
“Most studies either look at specific data, usually historical market data, or they take a survey of consumer preferences. We wanted to do both, so we could understand the numbers, as well as what people said they want,” Carpenter said.
To gauge the market for compact walkable development, the study looked at the market performance of different types of residential development in six sample communities. Building permit data showed that an average of 16 percent of residential housing permits in the six communities from 2000-2011 could be characterized as compact, walkable development. The study also found that homebuyers were willing to pay a premium, an average 18.5 percent per square foot, to live in walkable neighborhoods.
Andrew Knudtsen, a principle with Economic and Planning Systems, an economic firm that was commissioned for the study, said that interviews with developers and realtors helped ground the findings. “We met with developers, brokers and lenders in each of the communities we studied to get an on-the-ground perspective. Most confirmed what the numbers were showing and thought that the market for compact walkable development is growing, but how much really depends on the local market. It’s probably in the range of 20-25.”
In addition to market analysis, the study included a survey to probe what people are seeking in their homes and neighborhoods. Ninety percent of respondents said it was important to live in a place where it is easy to walk to other things in the community. Sixty-two percent would trade lot size to live in walking distance of parks, trails and recreation. Thirty-seven percent of homebuyers said they would trade single family for attached housing in order to live in or near downtown.
Other factors, like safety, value and short commutes to work, also scored high marks. However, it can be hard to find what people are looking for. Sixty percent of respondents said they had “few options” for housing in the type of neighborhood and price range they sought.
“Perhaps it’s not surprising that people in the Rockies want it all,” Anderson said. “They want privacy and a single family home, but they want to be connected to the community. They want quick and easy access to a mountain bike trail and a kayak park, and they also want the activity and convenience of being in-town, of being able to walk to the movie theater of their favorite restaurant.”
“The feel, or character, of our neighborhoods is important too,” Anderson said. “In fact, we find it’s a higher priority for people than the size of their home.”
While the market may be showing an appetite for walkability and living in centrally-located areas, plenty of obstacles remain for developers. “These types of projects can be hard to get built, particularly if you are talking about infill and redevelopment,” Anderson said. “We talk about things communities can do to ‘set the table’ for the type of development they want. That means updating codes to address barriers, making smarter infrastructure investments, and using public-private partnerships.” The Sonoran Institute is working with several communities in the region on projects that tackle these challenges.
To read the complete study, or related blogs, discussion, and analysis of the Western housing market, visit www.communitybuilders.net/learn.
About the Sonoran Institute:
The Sonoran Institute inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America. Facing rapid change, communities in the West value their natural and cultural resources, which support resilient environmental and economic systems.
Founded in 1990, the Sonoran Institute helps communities conserve and restore those resources and manage growth and change through collaboration, civil dialogue, sound information, practical solutions and big-picture thinking.
For more information about the Sonoran Institute, visit www.sonoraninstitute.org.
About Economic & Planning Systems, Inc
Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) is a land economics consulting firm experienced in the full spectrum of services related to real estate development, including market analysis, fiscal and economic impacts, public/private partnerships, and the financing of government services and public infrastructure. Founded in 1983, the firm has four offices–located in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, California, and Denver, Colorado–and EPS’s team of 35 consultant services clients through the country.