Ear to the ground

“I didn’t even know we were related. Dude, I could have doinked my cousin.”

-A conversation overheard in the 110-degree pool at Trimble Hot Springs

The great powder stash in the sky

Just days after his former wife made her final turns, Ed LaChapelle skied off into the sunset. LaChapelle, a seminal figure in snow science and inventor of avalanche beacons, passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 80. Appropriately, he was skiing powder at Monarch when he suffered a heart attack.

LaChapelle’s former wife, Dolores LaChapelle, passed away less than two weeks before, when she suffered a stroke. Dolores had lived for the last several decades in Silverton and was known for her writing, particularly her book, Deep Powder Snow.

According to a report in the Summit Daily News, Ed LaChappelle studied at the Swiss Avalanche Institute and then was a snow ranger for the Forest Service at Alta from 1952 to 1972. During that time, he also did glacier research in Alaska and Greenland, and at Washington State’s Mount Olympus. After 1972, he spent most of his winters in the San Juans, residing in Silverton.

Ed LaChapelle’s work produced several books well known to students of avalanches, includingThe ABCs of Avalanche SafetyandField Guide to Snow Crystals. In 1968, he partnered with an electrical engineer and created the first Skadi avalanche beacons.

After hearing of his death, one of his former students, Don Bachman, recalled Ed LaChapelle “always speaking with purpose, always with a twinkle and a wry sense of humor.”

Concert Hall signs .38 Special

Hair band fans rejoice! The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College announced a last-minute addition this week, none other than .38 Special.

The southern rock band has been together for more than two decades and is currently touring behind its first studio release in years, “Drivetrain.” The name is appropriate, according to Dan Barnes, lead guitar/vocals, “When we come out people are like, ‘Whoa! It’s like a freight train rolling over them.’”

Still, most associate the group with its arena-rock ’80s hits, like “Hold on Loosely,” “Back Where You Belong” and “Caught Up In You.” The complete experience comes to town March 25.


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows