Mountain News: Ski town folks drink more, eat less 

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ASPEN, Colo. — Prostate and breast cancer are the most common types of cancer in both Aspen and Colorado, but Aspen has a higher incidence of skin cancer than does Colorado, which has the nation's highest mean average elevation, overall.

"You can attribute that to folks being outside all the time, doing all the activities and things that they do here," said Jordana Sadella, of Community Health Services, a nonprofit group.

Reviewing health statistics, the group found more common use of alcohol among locals, as 73 per cent of adults reported having had at least one drink of alcohol in the past month, compared to 64 per cent of Coloradans and 59 per cent of adults in the United States. The rate of illicit drug use in Pitkin County was as high as eight per cent, compared with two per cent for the U.S.

But Aspenites are thinner. Only 18 per cent of Pitkin County residents are overweight, and 12 per cent are obese. In contrast, 36 per cent of Coloradans are overweight and 20 per cent are obese. Colorado has the lowest percentage of obese residents in the country, although it's on the rise.

At high elevation, you breathe and drink more

WINTER PARK, Colo. — Drink up, drink up. At higher elevations, you need more water.

The Sky-Hi Daily News explains that breathing thinner air requires more breathing. Winter Park is at 2,700 metres (9,000 feet), and the ski lifts go up to 3,700 metres (12,000 feet).

Medical student Justin Holt tells the newspaper that in a typical day for a normal adult, water loss includes 500 millilitres of water through the skin, 500 in urine, and 400 through respiration.

Early to den last fall, grizzlies to emerge soon

BANFF, Alberta — Early to den last fall, grizzly bears in Banff National Park are expected to soon emerge for the summer, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Parks Canada was able to nail down the exact dates for 11 local grizzly bears because they have been collared with GPS telemetry. The matriarch of the Bow Valley, a sow with three offspring still underpaw, was the first to enter a den, on Oct. 12, and the latest female denned on Nov. 9. The male grizzlies denned between Oct. 30 and Dec. 3.

Previous research showed that bears in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta spend, on average, 4 1/2 months of the year in or near their den sites.

Grizzly bears almost always dig their own dens, but, on occasion, they will use a natural chamber such as a cave or hollow tree. They typically dig a tunnel that opens up into a slightly larger chamber.

Studies elsewhere, including Yellowstone National Park, suggest that grizzly bears may be heading into the dens later, and emerging earlier, than ever before because of the changing climate. But Steve Michel, a human-wildlife conflict specialist for the park, pointed out that there's significant annual variability.

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