Mountain News: Bozeman worried about coal trains 

click to enlarge energy export Coal moving through Bozeman, Montana is on the rise and residents want to ensure it doesn't divide the town.
  • energy export Coal moving through Bozeman, Montana is on the rise and residents want to ensure it doesn't divide the town.

BOZEMAN, Alberta — Utilities in the United States have been switching from coal to natural gas for electrical production, with many more coal plants expected to close. Instead, coal producers from Wyoming's Powder River Basin are looking to export the coal to China and other Asian countries.

For Bozeman, Mont., located between the Big Sky and Bridger Bowl ski areas, that could mean a dramatic increase in coal traffic. Currently, 15 trains pass through the town daily. But increased export of coal from the West Coast could yield an additional 40 trains. Coal trains typically have 120 to 125 cars, making them a mile and half long.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle says the town needs to talk with the railroad and coal producers about helping pay for crossing structures, so that the trains don't further divide the town.

Two more smothered in ski area tree wells

YAKIMA, Wash. — It's easy to die while having great fun sliding down mountains. Two have done so in recent weeks after falling headfirst into tree wells and, unable to leverage their way out, suffocating as the cascading snow closes in around them.

One of those occurred in the Blackcomb portion of Whistler-Blackcomb. The victim was a 30-year-old man from France. The second was a 22-year-old woman from Yakima, Wash., who had been snowboarding at White Pass, a resort close to Mountain Rainier National Park. The woman had previously lived in Park City, Utah.

Last year, five people died in California, two in Montana, and one each in Colorado and Washington as a result of immersions into either tree wells or deep snow. Nobody seems to track immersion deaths in British Columbia. Because of the lower snow levels this year in most of the U.S., the toll has dropped.

For more about immersion deaths, see:

Jasper ski area sets record for snowfall

JASPER, Alberta — The Marmot Basin ski area has received 560 centimetres of snow so far this season, the most ever since the resort in Jasper National Park opened in 1961. Average for the ski area is 400 cm, or 160 inches. With a base elevation of 1,698 metres, Marmot has the highest base area elevation of any ski area in Canada. It expects to stay open until May 6, reports the Fitzhugh.

Huge avalanche buries 117 Pakistani soldiers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Associated Press reports 138 people were buried in an avalanche in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayan Mountains Saturday. Both India and Pakistan have troops at the Siachen Glacier, called the world's highest battlefield. There have been skirmishes since 1984, although none since 2003. The Siachen Glacier is known as the world's largest non-polar glacier. Elevations range from 3,620 metres to 5,753 metres.

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