Study suggests higher elevations warming faster

JACKSON, WYO. – Study of a glacier in the Wind River Range suggests that global warming may be occurring at a faster rate at higher elevations. In the study, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey drilled into the core of a receding glacier at an elevation of 13,000 feet on Wyoming’s tallest mountain, Fremont Peak. While there are ample temperature records at lower elevations from the last 40 years, there has been no weather station above treeline, in the alpine zone, for comparable measurements.

The core samples from the glacier showed that average alpine temperatures have risen more than 6 degrees in the last 40 years, an increase far greater than those seen at lower elevations, reported the Jackson Hole News (Oct. 9-15). Other studies have found that temperatures have increased two to three degrees Celsius in the Alps since the early 1960s, a magnitude of change also detected by studies in Central Asia and Alaska.

The USGS study did not address the size of glaciers, but it’s common knowledge that they have been shrinking. Climbers in the Tetons notice that ice gullies have become slimy rock chutes. And a joke circulates that the National Park Service is looking for a new name for Glacier National Park. The findings are reported in an article entitled “Ice-Core Evidence of Rapid Air Temperature Increases Since 1960 in Alpine Areas of the Wind River Range, Wyoming, U.S.A.” Copies are available free from the U.S. Geological Survey, 2329 West Orton Circle, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84119. E-mail requests for the report should be sent to

Telluridians reminisce about drugs, sex and coming of age

TELLURIDE – Telluride made the transition from a mining town to a tourism-based town in the 1970s. Recently, there was a reunion for survivors of that era, and some shared their memories in videotaped interviews conducted on behalf of the local library’s Oral History Collection.

Looking back, The Telluride Watch (Oct. 4-7) describes Telluride then as a place of excess and experiments, upheaval and cultural change, with all of those extremes more visible because of Telluride’s smallness.

“The mountains were really big and the town was really small. An alcohol-and-mining based male culture was the visible culture to me,” recalls one person who arrived in the early 1970s. “I loved that everything was old. The buildings were deteriorating. The streets were not paved. I rode my horse down what is now San Juan Avenue – in other people’s yards. I loved it. It was my fantasy,” recalled another early arrival.

Telluride was both primitive and wonderful. For produce, the lone grocery store in December offered only carrots, lettuce and cabbage. However, it also had freshly cut beef loin that was as cheap as hamburger. The new and young residents sometimes made only $35 a week, and some could recall living in shacks so dilapidated they looked through cracks in the bathroom walls while bathing.
Not least, they recalled their hair. Remembers one man, “I was essentially eyeballs, surrounded by hair.” They recalled run-ins with the town marshal, who despised hippies and drugs. Drugs were rampant. The punch at one Halloween party, which was held at the elementary school, was spiked with LSD. “We were profoundly out of control,” said one. Said another woman: “There were no parameters. There were a lot of people who didn’t live very long.”

Some recalled strings of suicides. They recalled taking over town government, expanding the bureaucracy, then trying to figure out how to pay for it. They talked of a cocaine party where local cops raided the evidence locker to keep the party going. They talked about an illicit romance unwittingly consummated over the local public radio station. They talked about the exhilaration of skiing that bonded them and the arrival of money. Some saw Joe Zoline, the ski area developer, as a hero for transforming the dying town into a place of vibrancy. Others lamented where that vibrancy eventually headed.

“Somewhere along the line Telluride became another place to make money – to rape and pillage the land and rip off our friends and have no conscience about it,” recalled one man.

“First cocaine took down a lot of our friends, and then greed,” said another.

Then came the somewhat unsettling influx of part-time residents, the second-home owners. The distinction between locals and nonlocals seems blurred. All in all, said one of those survivors, Jim Burleigh, Telluride was a great place in the 1970s to be young and – in hindsight – privileged. But, he added, the air and water quality is better now, as is the public school, the food, and even the culture.

“For better or worse, the culture has been extremely feminized, which, in my mind, is better,” he said.

Duo camp three nights to get Loveland’s first tracks

EISENHOWER TUNNEL – Two snowboard riders from Breckenridge, “Trailer” Tom Miller and Nate “Dogggg” Nadler, camped for three nights in order to claim the first chair at Loveland, the first ski area in North America to open and (presumably) stay open.

For bragging rights, the latter distinction is a fine one. In mid-September, new Silverton Mountain Ski Area, also in Colorado, cranked up its lone lift in order to claim first tracks in the ski industry for this winter. After that first flurry of storms, however, Indian summer arrived, and Silverton’s snowpack has receded. Like other ski areas without snowmaking, Silverton is entirely at the whim of storms.

Already blessed with a high elevation of 10,600 to nearly 13,000 feet, Loveland has a snowmaking system that allowed it this year to open Oct. 17 with a mile-long run covered by 10 to 20 inches of snow. That snowmaking is supervised by a trio of year-round snowmakers from New Zealand. In the days preceding the opening, they were making snow 19 hours a day, reported the Summit Daily News (Oct. 17).

Ski areas insist that opening early is entirely about money, either lift-ticket revenues or drumming up interest and reservations for the season ahead. For snowboarders Miller and Nadler, first tracks is a habit. For many years Loveland’s first-tracks went to retired pilot Elmer Mulkin. But even before he died at age 77, the two snowboarders from Breckenridge had begun camping out in order to two-up him.

For Miller, it wasn’t much of an off-season, though. He said he was snowboarding on Oregon’s Mount Hood until well into September.

Married council members attacked by campaign ad

AVON – Debbie Buckley was elected to the Avon Town Council in 1998, and two years later her husband and business partner, Peter Buckley, also was elected. Now, the idea of having couples on the Town Council is being attacked by a former town councilman, Rick Cuny.

Cuny organized a group that published an ad in the Vail Daily. The ad depicts a man and woman lying in bed. “Honey, you’re not going to cancel my vote, are you?” The woman says, “No Dear!” Under the cartoon is the caption: “Do you really want 33 percent of your votes coming from one bedroom?” Debbie Buckley says she is, as a woman, insulted by the ad. “It implies that a woman is going to vote for whatever her husband does,” she told the Vail Daily (Oct. 17). “This is 2002; this isn’t the 1950s. Most women I know are pretty independent.”

Voting records substantiate her claim. In the 13 times this year when the council didn’t vote unanimously, the Buckleys canceled each other seven times. Peter Buckley says “people more familiar with each other are more likely to argue openly than people who don’t know each other and are trying to be polite.” The Vail Daily reporter who covers those meetings agrees.

Cuny, the former councilman, is being called a gutter-dweller. He says that doesn’t bother him. He’s probably right. He owns a liquor store, Beaver Liquors, located at the base of Beaver Creek. For years he has had radio advertising campaigns featuring Wally and the Beav sound-alikes, with their dialogue always diving into that vast pond of sexual innuendo possible with such a name.






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