Tourist succumbs to
MT. CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. A 31-year-old
man from Lake Dallas, Texas, died of the effects of thin air while
visiting Crested Butte recently.
The man, Paul Parmeley,
suffered pulmonary and cerebral edemas, or filling of the lungs and
brain with fluid. In addition, a toxicology report found methadone
in his body, although the methadone did not cause his death,
Gunnison County Coroner Frank Vader said. The resort is located at
an elevation of about 9,400 feet, although the ski area's top
elevation surpasses 12,000 feet.
Thin air was a factor in
about half the natural deaths in Gunnison County last year, says
Vader. In those cases, people had pre-existing heart conditions,
and when they got to high elevations while elk hunting, mountain
climbing or during other outings, the exertion of thin air created
too much stress on their hearts.
Many Colorado resorts
are at high elevations, and the bulk of their customers come from
near sea level. Arriving without acclimatization, the vacationers
often consume too much alcohol and too little water, heading to the
lifts to get high. At Telluride, where the resort-oriented town of
Mountain Village is at an elevation of 9,545 feet, Dr. Peter
Hackett told the Wall Street
on a busy day he will treat three to five fractures and five to
seven cases of acute mountain sickness. For every skier who goes to
a clinic, he estimates 100 others simply tough it out on the slopes
or vomit in their rooms.
Aspen signs X Games
ASPEN, Colo. The Aspen Skiing Co.
aided by city officials has reached a deal with ESPN that will keep
the Winter X games in Aspen through 2007. The move helps graying
Aspen re-establish itself as a center for "winter action sports and
youth culture," said David Perry, a skiing company
Established in 1997, the
games have been at Aspen since 2001. Also competing for rights to
host the event was California's Mammoth. City leaders promised
$100,000 a year for the next four years, plus police,
transportation and other services. A venue at Buttermilk will be
lit to accommodate ESPN's live prime-time coverage.
additional seasons would be a major coup for the Skico, solidifying
the resort's growing reputation as an international center of
extreme skiing and snowboarding," observed The Aspen Times.
Couple still trying to buy
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. Tim and Diane
Mueller haven't ruled out trying to get their hands on the
Steamboat ski area.
The Muellers, owners of
two ski areas in New England, had an option to buy Steamboat for
$91.4 million when the owner, the American Skiing Co., withdrew the
offer. The Muellers then sued, claiming the company had reneged on
the agreement. The American Skiing Co. argued that it was obligated
to pay only $500,000 in liquidated damages.
Although a district
court judge dismissed the suit, an appeals court in Colorado has
ruled that the issue must go to trial. Tim Mueller told the Steamboat Pilot last year that there might be
circumstances under which he might have to be satisfied with
seeking greater damages. However, after the new ruling, he said
forcing a sale remains a "viable option." However, American Skiing
Co. can also appeal this most recent ruling.
The Muellers are now buying Crested Butte in a deal expected to
close any day.
Expert says Tahoe Tessie
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. You've no doubt
heard of Scotland's Loch Ness monster. Lake Tahoe has its own
mythical monster, Tahoe Tessie, but the foremost expert on Lake
Tahoe doesn't believe it exists.
Dr. Charles Goldman, a
scientist specializing in water currents, explains that all
sightings of Tessie have one thing in common no one ever sees the
head or tail, only dark objects in the water. As such, he said at a
recent lecture attended by the Tahoe
World , waves
can be mistaken for humps. But if Tessie does exist, it could be a
sturgeon, which could have been introduced into the lake with fish
stockings over the years. It reaches a weight of 1,500 pounds, and
there's much to eat in Lake Tahoe.
More likely is a Loch Ness Monster, Goldman says, because the
Irish Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through a series of
lochs, also called lakes. As such, an oarfish, which has reached 20
to 30 feet and 400 pounds, could have swam into Loch Ness and been
mistaken for a sea serpent.
Backpacking pioneer passes
LOS ANGELES, Calif. Dick Kelty, who
revolutionized backpacking by designing a pack that caused much of
the pack's weight to shift from the shoulder to the hips, has died
in suburban Los Angeles. He was 84.
A veteran of World War
II, Kelty was working as a carpenter in 1951 when he and a friend,
Clay Seaman, were hiking in the Sierra Nevada. As he explained to
the Los Angeles Times in an interview many years later,
both men were burdened by their heavy and awkward Army-surplus
rucksacks. The rucksacks were mounted on U-shaped frames made of
wood. But during the trip, Seaman discovered that by putting the
bottom supports of the backpack in his rear pockets of his pants,
he could stand up straight and, best all, the pack felt lighter.
Later, they figured out why the weight was being shifted to the
"After we got back, I started making some packs in my kitchen
out of nylon and aluminum tubing," he told the Times . "They had waist straps, which put
most of the weight on the hips."
He made packs for himself and a friend, but didn't realize his
business opportunity until a stranger turned up at his door one
night asking for such a pack. With $500 borrowed against his
two-bedroom house, he began making backpacks 29 the first year, and
then by the thousands.
Lions prowl the slopes of
VAIL, Colo. Mountain lion tracks were
found in the Red Sandstone neighborhood of Vail, which is within a
few blocks of the Lionshead ski lifts. Police were encouraging
residents to be extra vigilant, keeping a close eye on children and
There have been several
reports of mountain lions in or near Vail during the last several
years. In 1997, a woman climbing Vail Mountain during the evening,
after the lifts had closed, reported seeing a mountain lion streak
across the slopes near her. The cat, she said, seemed not at all
interested in her. As she was preparing to walk around the world,
she took the sight of the lion in stride.
Climbers grasp the Tetons' Holy
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Two teams of
climbers have grasped the Holy Grail of the Tetons, completing the
first continuous winter ascents of the range's 10 core peaks. The
feat, which was heavy with footnotes about routes and what kind of
aid is permissible, took one team nearly three days, and the second
four days in weather that ranged between wintertime balm and
"I can't describe it.
I'm in a daze," one climber told the Jackson Hole News & Guide . "Today was one of the best days
ever in the mountains," said his partner. "We were both
Beetle epidemic slows in
CANMORE, Alberta For the first time in
history, reports the Rocky Mountain
Outlook , a
mountain pine beetle outbreak has been controlled without the help
of 40-below cold weather.
A recent survey in the Bow River Valley shows that a beetle
epidemic that began in 1996 seems to have slowed, and perhaps
ended. Provincial forest health biologists attributed the reduction
to a large controlled burn. Foresters insist efforts to control
beetles must continue, however.
Prevention of fires for 80 to 120 years combined with mild
winters of recent years has made forests particularly vulnerable to
Telluride may subsidize
TELLURIDE, Colo. A study commissioned
by Telluride's municipal government suggests local governments
subsidize child care, as they already do affordable housing and
transportation. Child care in the Telluride area costs 30 percent
more than in outlying areas. Most employers attribute absenteeism
among workers to them staying home to care for children. The
report, noted the Telluride
Watch , found that
it takes an income of $56,000 for a family of four to live without
subsidies in the Telluride area.
compiled by Allen