Mountain News: What goes well with eight or 10 drinks? 

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But some local Christians said they believe this is an erosion of freedom of speech and expression.

Further muddying the waters is that the town does allow some specific faith-based events, such as Christmas caroling and a menorah, on town property. The difference, said Barron, is that the applications were specifically for faith-based purposes. The rodeo application was for a rodeo.

Heli-beacon helps in rescues

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — The odds of survival have gone up just a little bit for people who get caught in avalanches in the Breckenridge-Vail area.

The Denver Post reports that Flight for Life, a helicopter-shuttle medical service, now has a high-powered beacon detector that can be dangled from a hovering helicopter over a slide area. Within minutes, the service believes it can assemble a ski patroller from a nearby resort, a dog trained in avalanche searching, and a snow technician and shuttle them to the site.

The technology isn't entirely new. It's been used at Park City, Utah, as well as in Washington, Alaska and Oregon — and most certainly across Europe, where the technology was developed by Manuel Genswein, a Swiss avalanche expert who consulted with beacon maker Barryvox.

Of course, you do have to be wearing a beacon when buried. Also keep in mind that even when the helicopter gets there, your odds aren't good. Avalanches are violent things.

Lou Dawson, of WildSnow.com, wrote this in 2006, and it undoubtedly still applies: "I can testify that if you're swept away by anything but the smallest slide, your avalanche beacon is of little concern compared to your tearing ligaments and snapping bones."

Just the same, always wear a beacon, added Dawson.

headwaters requires great balance

TELLURIDE, Colo. — Even at the very headwaters of major rivers, the balance of water and competing needs can be precarious.

Consider Telluride and its box-canyon of loveliness in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The headwaters of the San Miguel River originate there in various above-timberline basins, and in one of those basins is a big bucket of pristine mountain water called Blue Lake. It's 100 metres deep.

Water from the lake flows over the canyon lip at Bridal Veil Falls. But before it thunders to the canyon floor, the power of the falling water is harnessed by a hydroelectric plant.

This system dates back to Telluride's era as a mining town, and it is now being reconfigured to best meet needs of Telluride's modern existence as a resort town. An agreement was recently reached between the municipality and Idarado, the former mine operator, a subsidiary of Newmont Mining.

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