Mountain News: Angry White Man speaks to Rush 

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“It’s the only place on the peak you could do it,” he says. Three other ski areas at various locations on the mountain have failed.

Ball has a month to come up with $1 million in earnest money on the $4 million parcel. He says he hopes to break ground in 2010 on what he calls The Resort at Pikes Peak. He envisions a large hotel, 340 condominiums, several restaurants and five chairlifts.

If this ski area has legs, it would presumably draw primarily from the Colorado Springs metropolitan area, which now has a population of 600,000, with an additional 200,000 people in the nearby areas of Pueblo and Cañon City.

 

Avalanche claims Canmore woman

CANMORE, Alberta – A 28-year-old woman from Canmore has died in an avalanche that occurred on the border of Banff and Kootenay national parks.

Susanna Lantz had been working as a nursing attendant at Canmore’s hospital, but was a passionate adventurer, competing in grueling bicycle races and was a keen rock climber, says the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Several years ago, using her savings from a job as a tree-planter, she took a one-year solo adventure, riding her bicycle from Calgary to the southern tip of Argentina. Along the way, she climbed the walls of Yosemite and camped alone in road culverts.

 

Half of bark beetles killed

CANMORE, Alberta – Temperatures in the Bow River Valley, where Banff and Canmore are located, dipped to 25 below zero this winter, good enough to hold the populations of mountain pine beetles in check.

“We’ve moved from a situation of impending disaster to a much-improved situation of just uncertainty,” said Barry Cooke, a scientist with the Canadian Forest Service. Computer models suggested mortality of 50 per cent among the beetle larvae in southern Alberta.

Alberta has more marginal habitat for mountain bark beetles, but the relatively warm winters of the last decade have worked to the advantage of the beetles. Cooke said weather that causes mortality of 97.5 per cent keeps the beetle populations at endemic, or normal, levels. But to achieve that requires more than just blasts of mid-winter Arctic air, he said. Early and late-winter cold snaps also help, as do woodpeckers.

 

Banff may end use of mag chloride

BANFF, Alberta – Banff town officials are talking about ceasing use of magnesium chloride to melt snow and instead switching to a more environmentally benign but expensive potassium acetate liquid deicer. The potassium compound costs $3.44 per litre, compared to 29 cents a litre for mag chloride. Mag chloride is highly corrosive to metal and concrete, although not as much as the basic sodium chloride road salt used by most other municipalities. The cost increase in Banff would be $34,000, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

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