Mountain News: Old lodges to be razed in Banff 

click to enlarge DEVELOPMENT DECISION Banff is getting a new hotel and to make way for the accomodation, three old lodges and two homes will be dismantled. Photo by Jackson Gee/Shutterstock
  • DEVELOPMENT DECISION Banff is getting a new hotel and to make way for the accomodation, three old lodges and two homes will be dismantled. Photo by Jackson Gee/Shutterstock

BANFF, Alberta — Three old lodges and two houses are to be dismantled to make way for a new 172-room hotel next year.

Gordon Lozeman, president of Banff Caribou Properties, said the 104,180-square-foot hotel will have an indoor swimming pool on the third floor and two more outdoor pools will be on the roof, "all with incredible views," Lozeman told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Dreadful skeeters may be terrorists this year

JASPER, Alberta — Mosquitoes were dreadful last year in Jasper. What's the outlook for this year?

The Fitzhugh, a newspaper, consulted Edmonton's biological technician, Mike Jenkins, who has tracked mosquito populations for years. He says there is about 30 species of mosquitoes in Alberta, perhaps a few less in Jasper, because of the fluctuating temperatures and more severe terrain of the mountains.

Obviously, mosquitoes can overwinter, and in fact, some mosquito eggs can remain dormant for up to 10 years. "The eggs are amazingly resilient. Even extremely frigid temperatures will have little effect on their survival," he tells the Fitzhugh.

Based on weather trends and the number of eggs likely in swampy areas, it's reasonable to assume a fair number of mosquitoes will be buzzing around Jasper this summer.

Good for dragonflies, and also good for birds. But not so good for humans. "Get a good mesh tent, haul out your mosquito jackets, and get ready to start slapping," advises the Fitzhugh.

$41 million paid for property

ASPEN, Colo. — Although not a record, two properties on what locally is called the backside of Aspen have sold for a combined $41 million.

The Aspen Daily News says the two parcels together have 77 acres and two larger houses, of 12,000 and 5,700-square-feet, along with some smaller guesthouses and such. The various houses altogether have 12 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, plus a $49,000 home theater and a $29,000 Jacuzzi, reports the Daily News, citing county assessor records.

Two larger real estate sales have occurred in the Aspen area. One was the $46 million sale of a property called Mandalay Ranch, and the other, for the same price, was the sale last year of the Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan's mega-mansion to hedge-fund magnate John Paulson.

Using SmartPhones to guide errant travellers

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — For several years, the most common story was that search and rescue teams were being dispatched with greater frequency because some poor guy got lost at about dusk and had the means to call for help.

In the good old days, according to this narrative, the poor guy probably could have figured his way out of his dilemma with the light of a new day, surviving well enough if not comfortably so in the interim.

Now comes a report that the cellular technology is allowing rescuers to do their job remotely. Chad Bowdre, president of the board of directors for Routt County Search and Rescue, says missions have declined during the last 10 years owing to cell phones and global-positioning system (GPS) technology.

"We are being called out on fewer missions, and our missions are faster in timeframe, because we're getting calls (from concerned friends and loved ones about people who are overdue) at about 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.," he tells Steamboat Today.

At times, Bowdre, or one of his colleagues, guides people remotely just by talking them out of their wilderness confusion. The local communications network allows researchers to monitor cell phone pings off towers, using triangulation to locate the position of the caller.

"I might get a call from some lost hunters who can't find the trail," Bowdre explained. "I say, 'OK, see that large (mountain) ahead of you? That's Hahn's Peak. Put that at your left shoulder and begin walking, then call me in 20 minutes.' Sometimes they call back in 10 minutes and say they've hit the trail. I tell them to make a right turn."

Another example of the value of the new technology occurred last December, when snowmobilers called to report being bogged down in deep snow on Buffalo Pass, located north of Steamboat Springs. Because rescuers could identify exactly where they were, they were able to reach the snowmobilers in time to retrieve them from a cold night for which they were not prepared.

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