Mountain News: Stilettos and other shoes in Jackson Hole 

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"When you see them in the middle of the day, walking around looking in windows, it's lost some fear of people," said Jim Williams, of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "In this case, it was clearly not normal behavior."

Steamboat's snowfall among highest ever

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Black and white, night and day, best of times and worst of times.

Last winter, Steamboat was without snow at the start of last ski season. This winter, a blast of storms before Christmas left Steamboat with almost 1.7 metres (67 inches) of snow in town, good enough for the sixth-highest total in December, reports Steamboat Today.

Whistler has also had bountiful snow, getting 3.4 metres (11.3 feet) of snow during December. "We started calling it Deepcember," said Nate Rigos, a spokesman for the Whistler Blackcomb ski area. The record for the ski area during December was 3.8 metres (12.5 feet).

Less climate doomsday talk, but effect changes

BANFF, Alberta — While some have looked to scientists to nail down the risk of the changing climate, others have turned to the insurance industry, which is a master of actuarial tables.

And those risks are large, says Robert Tremblay, director of research with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook reports that Tremblay was in Banff recently for a conference with a subtitle of "Water Energy and Climate Security in a Changing World." He said that damage caused by fire didn't change from 1993 to 2009. But during that same time, water and rain damages more than doubled, from 16-17 per cent to 35 per cent. Wind damage has also increased.

He called for adaptation. "We need to protect society and economies from the impacts of more frequent severe weather events. The science is there. We need to adapt."

From the insurance perspective, Tremblay sees need for better infrastructure, such as storm sewers, to accommodate big rainstorms, even if the public favors recreation and cultural amenities.

"We need to invest more in infrastructure, less in opera houses and ice rinks."

But some adaptation techniques might not be all that expensive. He cited the example of a better-designed nail that can keep roofs secured better during hurricane winds.

He also said that it's time to quit talking about doomsday and more about how to adapt to more extreme weather events.

From skiing powder to skiing in bikinis

BOULDER, Colo. — Mark Williams ran a backcountry ski lodge in the Sierra Nevada near Mammoth for many years before he returned to school and became a scientist. Now, as a fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder, he has his fingers in everything from hydrofracturing, the controversial tool used in oil and gas drilling, to studying glacial snowmelt in the Himalaya.

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