Around the Mountains: All-electric cars can get charged up in Whistler |

Around the Mountains: All-electric cars can get charged up in Whistler

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WHISTLER, B.C. – Auto-maker Nissan late this year will begin shipping its new all-electric mid-sized car, called the Leaf. Portland, Seattle and Vancouver are among the cities gearing up to accommodate the cars.

So is Whistler. Town officials have installed four charging stations in the Whistler Conference Centre parking garage.

“The charging stations are a small step on a much larger journey toward sustainability. However, they demonstrate that Whistler is continuously willing to explore and support new opportunities for progressive energy and emissions management,” said Mayor Ken Melamed.

Other ski towns are also starting to install charging stations for electric-only cars. In Colorado, Aspen last year installed 27 charging stations at its municipal parking garage, and Vail has one. Jackson, Wyo., has started talking about charging stations.

Electric motors are six times more efficient than the internal-combustion engine in translating energy into forward movement. For that reason, many environmental advocates see them as crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, they are also promoted as a way of reducing imports of foreign oil – although, in fact, the No. 1 source of oil for the United States is Canada.

Whistler won’t charge for the electricity. Electricity costs six cents per kilowatt hour, and charging drivers for the power would cost more than the electricity itself, said Dave Patterson, manager of park and village operations at Whistler.

GRANBY – For all the talk across America about eating better foods of local origin, the trend seems to be otherwise.

Consider Granby, a one-time ranching town located between Winter Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. It used to have busy places called the Longbranch and the Chuck Wagon, but the action has shifted to strip-mall development. Arriving soon, reports the Middle Park Times, will be McDonald’s and Subway.

Along the same highway, but in Utah, The Park Record reports the possible arrival of the bulk-item discount store called Costco. No distress at the prospect was reported by the newspaper.

In Wyoming, however, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance is bothered that the U.S. Forest Service refuses to put an easement on its property in Jackson that would preclude a big-box store. The agency wants to sell the property, located at a prominent site in Jackson, and consolidate operations elsewhere.

ASPEN – A small group of Aspen-area residents have been campaigning to get Google to test a high-speed broadband network there. Google has announced it will lay fiber-optic cable at a few locations, and the cable will be 50 to 100 times faster than anything currently available from service providers.

The Aspen Times notes that the Facebook page set up to stir support for the Aspen effort so far has only 48 members, compared to thousands for similar efforts in some metropolitan area.

WHITEFISH, Mont. – A new policy has gone into effect on Big Mountain that limits uphill hikers, snowshoers and skiers to between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and also confines them to a designated route. The policy had been under consideration for several weeks.

Officials of the ski area said the policy was provoked by several incidents involving after-hours hikers and groomers using winch cables that might have ended badly. As well, they said that after-hour skiers have shredded freshly groomed slopes before the snow had time to set up. The result can be deep ruts in the snow, a safety hazard.

The Whitefish Pilot reports that after-hours uphill travel has become increasingly popular in recent years, with 40 to 50 hikers on an average evening and many more during a full moon.

For the time being, the resort operator will station personnel in the parking lot after hours to remind any uphillers of the new policy.

REVELSTOKE, B.C. – Some 500 people gathered in Revelstoke the evening of March 4 to honor the 58 men killed in an avalanche that swept down on Rogers Pass precisely a century before.

The men and a rotary snowplow were laboring to clear debris from a snow slide that had covered the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks when a giant avalanche from the opposite side of the valley swept over them. Killed in the slide were men of Japanese, English, Polish, Danish and other descents.

The Revelstoke Times Review reports that among those who took part in the ceremonies were several people from Japan, who had visited British Columbia many times but only learned recently that their great-uncle had perished in the avalanche.

CANMORE, Alberta – Canmore town officials may offer landowners of old and historic structure the right to design a building. In exchange, the landowners may be eligible for grants to cover property taxes and restoration. Protection of historic buildings has been a low priority in Canmore, a one-time coal-mining town located at the entrance to Banff National Park. Among buildings that might be covered are the miners’ union hall, an old hotel, and an Anglican Church.

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