Mountain News 

Ski patrollers at Banff call in sick as a protest

BANFF, Alberta - Some 25-ski patrol and snow-safety staffers at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort called in sick on a recent Wednesday.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook explained that the mass illness was a protest of working conditions after four senior staff members were dismissed in December. An unidentified group spokesman said the ski patrollers were upset that their friends and bosses were fired - and upset with the lack of a back-up plan.

"People have been working when they're sick, when they have frostbitten toes and they are working in the infirmary when they should be at home in bed."

The ski area kept a gondola and several lifts running during the day of protest, but offered discounted lift tickets for the day.

New school calendar elicits lively discussion

ASPEN, Colo. - Do reading, writing and 'rithmetic get parents riled? Not in Aspen. There, it's coaches and calendars.

That' s the summation of Fred Peirce, president of the school board, which has been hearing all sorts of opinions about proposed rejiggering of the school calendar. It is, said The Aspen Times , perhaps the biggest public controversy regarding Aspen's schools in years. And this week the school board rejected changes.

Instead, Aspen schools will stay the course of their traditional September-June school year. Under review had been a new schedule: nine weeks on, two weeks off, with a seven-week summer break. Impetus for this proposal was concern about the students regressing during their longer summer break, and a desire to better mesh the school calendar with the town's resort ebbs and flows.

Pickets, protests and people who wore black

PARK CITY, Utah - When you hear about Robert Redford, you're inclined to think of him in one of his starring roles, maybe the mountain man Jeremiah Johnson or the cowboy outlaw Sundance Kid.

Ironically, the film festival he launched at Park City 30 years ago has traditionally drawn urban sophisticates from Los Angeles and New York. For a time, they were called PIBs, short for People in Black.

Nan Chalat-Noaker, editor of The Park Record , now believes that PIBs no longer applies. "People are wearing different fashions," she said.

But whatever they wear, there's a bunch in Park City at the 10-day festival right now. It is, she said, about three times busier than during Christmas week, the traditional peak for ski towns.

Often, Sundance turns into a theater of protest. Representatives of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were there, as usual. But the most public theater this year has involved the movie called Red State , which satirizes Christian fundamentalists and radical conservatives.

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