Mountain News: 

River melting, roads treacherous in Banff

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There, a 20-year tradition turned tragic when Stephen M. Butts, the principal owner of a large real estate firm in Telluride, died in an avalanche. The annual trip to Canada had begun when Butts was still living in Aspen, and had grown to include a large number of people from both Aspen and Telluride. Skiing immediately before him was John Pryor, mayor of Telluride.

Snow conditions had been rated high to extreme in the Revelstoke area, sufficient to force cancellation of skiing the previous day. But guides decided the risk was sufficiently low if they kept to the trees. All wore transceivers and carried shovels, and the Revelstoke Times Review said they also were equipped with Avalung, a new device that, if employed before the snow stops, allows a person to continue breathing while buried under the snow.

Several people had skied the run previously before the avalanche struck. The companions and guides of Butts found and then dug him out within five minutes, and a helicopter with medical gear was on the scene within 10 minutes, but all to no avail.

An autopsy later indicated that he had died of a fractured spine, most likely causing his immediate death as he was dragged through stands of small trees.

Butts had been recruited from Aspen in 1982 by Ron Allred, then CEO of the Telluride ski company. Ironically, Butts had recently restructured Telluride Properties to allow brokers to buy in, freeing him to take more time off.

However, putting a silver spin on it, the Telluride mayor, Pryor, told The Telluride Watch that Butts died while doing what he loved most. "Honestly, he died with his best friends, skiing his favourite run, while helicopter skiing, which is one of the greatest thrills in life."

Hemingway still controversial

KETCHUM, Idaho — Forty-four years after he killed himself with a shotgun in his home in Ketchum, the novelist Ernest Hemingway has been prominently in the news. At issue is whether the house will be opened to the public.

Although living primarily in Cuba and the Florida Keyes, Hemingway had spent portions of 22 years in Ketchum, where he fished and hunted. Beset by mental illness in later years, he tried to kill himself several times and finally succeeded in 1961.

Several neighbours and others scorn the idea of making the house a public museum, and argue that the house was relatively unimportant in the writer’s life, Hemingway scholar, Martin Peterson, in a piece published in the Idaho Mountain Express, argues otherwise. He says that Hemingway did important pieces of writing in Ketchum, including portions of For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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