Mountain News: Teton County ups housing requirement 

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Teton County commissioners took little time in boosting the affordable housing requirements of builders. Before, builders had to allocate 15 per cent of units to affordable housing, and now it’s 25 per cent.

In other words, explains the Jackson Hole News & Guide, a developer building 100 homes must now provide 25 affordable units, instead of 15. This is in comparison to 60 per cent at Aspen, where a hotel developer recently volunteered to up the ante to 100 per cent.

Within Jackson, the only town in Jackson Hole, town councilors are moving more slowly, but a preliminary 3-to-2 vote suggests they will follow Teton County’s lead. Some of the hesitation is caused by the belief that there are fewer trophy homes within Jackson than in the unincorporated county, and hence fewer impacts.

Also a discussion item is whether requiring more affordable housing of developers will in fact boost the cost of all housing, putting it beyond reach of developers. Some say that, similar to Aspen, virtually all housing is already beyond the reach of local workers, and hence it won’t make any difference.

In the past several years, home prices have increased 79 per cent, compared to 22 per cent for wages.


Swim-to-live theory disputed

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Few people would expect to ever need to know what to do if caught in an avalanche. But in Jackson Hole, where avalanche deaths among backcountry skiers and sledders are a staple of winter news in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, it’s no academic subject.

Since at least 1864, reports the newspaper, the conventional wisdom for the hapless person has been to mimic a swimming motion, in an effort to stay atop the snow or even get out of the current.

That convention has been challenged in recent years by Colorado-based avalanche expert Dale Atkins. At a meeting of 300 skiing professionals in Jackson Hole recently, he again explained why he believes it’s better to keep your hands around your face, so you can create an air pocket when the movement of snow begins to slow.

Slab avalanches move extremely fast, Atkins points out, but then stop rapidly. In a flash of time that survivors found remarkable, they cease to move like a liquid and then, setting up like concrete, move like a solid mass. At that point, the person no longer can move. If swimming, arms akimbo, the victim will be unable to get a hand around his or her face and an arm to the surface.


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