Mountain News: 

Utah beats old skier record by 12 per cent

PARK CITY, Utah — The moral of the story in Utah this winter was that nothing beats good, early season snow. That early snow boosted Utah to its second straight record, nearly 3.9 million skiers. That’s a 12 per cent increase from the year before.

Snow hit in October at about double the normal snow totals, and good snow continued through January.

The three ski resorts at Park City — Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Park City — were right in line with that gain. They did a total of 1.6 million skier days. That’s about what Breckenridge and Vail do, although individually.

Aspen hires sustainability director

ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen’s city government has hired somebody to spearhead its Canary Initiative, the new multipronged global warming effort. The director, Dan Richardson, has a business called Sustainable Design Concepts, which specializes in environmental efficiency. "I can affect a lot of homes in the valley in my current position, but I can affect the world with this position," he told The Aspen Times.

Richardson sees two primary focuses of his new job: reducing Aspen’s greenhouse gas emissions and working regionally and nationally. The town plans to co-operate with other local organizations devoted to the cause to sponsor a major international conference next year. The coalition includes the Aspen Skiing Co., the Aspen Global Change Institute, and the Aspen Institute. The latter, a think tank, actually is based in suburban Washington D.C.

The perils of partying

VAIL, Colo. — Vail is rapidly gaining a reputation for bizarre, bumbling criminal capers.

First, two seasonal workers staged a hold-up of a bank, then fled to Denver International Airport with the proceeds, ready to spend spring break in Mexico with their booty. They had, however, failed to disguise their Australian accents. As well, the pair had brushed up against the law just a few weeks prior, making them quick suspects.

Now a local man has staged his own kidnapping. Apparently, the 35-year-old man intended to raid his wife’s credit cards. However, he did not even bother to leave the valley with the proceeds, but instead was seen at a party the next night. Once arrested, he told police that he was high on psychedelic mushrooms the night of his alleged abduction, which police say was staged with one accomplice.

Models predict less moisture

DENVER, Colo. — New computer models forecast 17 per cent less rain and snow in the American West in coming years as a result of global warming, even as the Canada Rockies gain more precipitation.

The two new studies link less precipitation in the storm track that delivers snow in Utah and Colorado as a result of the dwindling ice peak in the Arctic. About 20 per cent of ice in the Arctic is expected to melt by mid-century given current trends. With the ice gone, warmer temperatures will prevail toward the North Pole, changing regional pressure systems – causing jet streams to veer northward. That will be to the gain of the ski resorts near Banff, Revelstoke, and other towns along the TransCanada Highway.

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