(Snow Trails photo) Snow Trails to host big-air competition Snow Trails, the Mansfield ski resort, will host its annual big-air compeititon this Saturday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m. I spoke with the marketing director, and he said that they're expecting at least 40 entrants. Both skiers ans snowboarders will be eligible to compete. Looks like you can just show up and register at the base about two hours before the event; entry fee is $10. [More info]

(Mad River Mountain photo) You, tubing Alive photographer Will Shilling and I went out to Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield this Sunday to test the new Avalanche Tubing Park. Snowtubing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, and all four resorts in Ohio now offer it. The idea is that people with no athletic skill can come out and enjoy the winter weather. Skiing and snowboarding require skill, talent and practice; tubing requires sitting. If you can sit down and walk 200 feet, you can tube.

Me, I'm an accomplished sledder. I grew up in Geauga County, smack dab in the snowbelt, and my friends and I considered ourselves nearly professional. All we needed was a pair of snowpants and a weathered plastic disc, and we were good to go. With that pedigree, I was surprised how much fun I had at Mad River.

There are 10 chutes, each about 900 feet long, that give you a quick, exhilarating ride. The inner-tubes were comfy, and smooth escalator-like lifts bring you back to the top. Sliding solo was fun; more fun was crushing Will in several head-to-head races. This would be a great place to take a date, though for the record, Will was not my date. [Homepage] [Image gallery]

(Snow Trails photo) Snow Trails to host big-air competition Snow Trails, the Mansfield ski resort, will host its annual big-air compeititon this Saturday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m. I spoke with the marketing director, and he said that they're expecting at least 40 entrants. Both skiers ans snowboarders will be eligible to compete. Looks like you can just show up and register at the base about two hours before the event; entry fee is $10. [More info]

(Mad River Mountain photo) You, tubing Alive photographer Will Shilling and I went out to Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield this Sunday to test the new Avalanche Tubing Park. Snowtubing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, and all four resorts in Ohio now offer it. The idea is that people with no athletic skill can come out and enjoy the winter weather. Skiing and snowboarding require skill, talent and practice; tubing requires sitting. If you can sit down and walk 200 feet, you can tube.

Me, I'm an accomplished sledder. I grew up in Geauga County, smack dab in the snowbelt, and my friends and I considered ourselves nearly professional. All we needed was a pair of snowpants and a weathered plastic disc, and we were good to go. With that pedigree, I was surprised how much fun I had at Mad River.

There are 10 chutes, each about 900 feet long, that give you a quick, exhilarating ride. The inner-tubes were comfy, and smooth escalator-like lifts bring you back to the top. Sliding solo was fun; more fun was crushing Will in several head-to-head races. This would be a great place to take a date, though for the record, Will was not my date. [Homepage] [Image gallery]

Lawmakers pushing Clean Columbus Fund to revitalize brownfields Got this from Mayor Michael Coleman's office:

Following up on a plan announced in his State of the City Address, Mayor Michael B. Coleman, State Senator Steve Stivers and State Senator Ray Miller are advancing a plan to the Ohio General Assembly allowing cities to create a new kind of Capital Fund that would be used for brownfield revitalization. The legislation would allow the city to create the Clean Columbus Fund for the issuance of public obligation bonds for environmental conservation and revitalization purposes.

If passed, the city intends to inaugurate the Clean Columbus Fund as part of the 2008 Voted Bicentennial Bond Package. The Clean Columbus Fund would be modeled after the Clean Ohio fund, and would be used to leverage private investment from business partners to redevelop blighted sites into productive new development.

"The Clean Ohio Fund has been a successful tool to preserve green space and farmland, improve outdoor recreation, and revitalize blighted neighborhoods by cleaning up and redeveloping polluted properties,” said Senator Stivers. “However, because the Fund is very limited, and can only support one or two projects per region, cities need the ability to create local funds that can help communities across Ohio to reclaim more properties and speed up revitalization and economic development."

Although the Ohio Constitution allows cities to use bond money for such projects, there is currently no language in the Ohio Revised Code to establish these specific funds. Since 2000, the City of Columbus is using Clean Ohio Funds at five former industrial sites in urban neighborhoods to leverage significant new development:

A.C. Humko: A Harrison West site that had a long history of industrial use, including oil refining, metal forging and other industrial uses. The site has been cleaned and completely rebuilt as a neighborhood with 234 new homes. (Clean Ohio Investment: $3 million)

Gowdy Field: A former landfill has been transformed into a modern business center and the home of the $20 million dollar new Headquarters for Central Ohio’s Time Warner, creating 200 new jobs and retaining 400 jobs. (Clean Ohio Investment: $3 million)

Jeffrey Place: The former site of the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company, a once-thriving mining equipment company established in the 1800s, is being transformed into a large mixed use development that includes an innovative “green” housing development. (Clean Ohio Investment: $3 million)

Techneglas: This former industrial site was most recently the home of Techneglas, which closed its doors in 2004. The site is being cleaned and renovated into a development that will create 1 million square feet of industrial, commercial and retail space. The project will leverage over $20 million in private development and accommodate up to 1,500 jobs. (Clean Ohio Investment: $3 million)

Columbus Coated Fabrics: This former industrial site will be tuned into a residential neighborhood of 500 homes, in a project that will leverage $45 million in private investment. (Clean Ohio Investment: $3 million)