Around the Mountains: High-markers blamed for deadly slide |

Around the Mountains: High-markers blamed for deadly slide

REVELSTOKE, B.C. – Two days before the fatalities, the Revelstoke Times Review reported a special avalanche alert. But for whatever reason, organizers of the Big Iron Shootout proceeded with their informal snowmobile gathering on Boulder Mountain.

At about 3:30 p.m., a giant avalanche that was nearly 500 feet (150 metres) wide ran for nearly two-thirds of a mile. Two people died in the avalanche and several dozen more were injured, at least one of them critically, reported the Times Review. Victims were taken to hospitals hundreds of miles east and west, from Calgary to Kelowna.

The newspaper said the snowmobile gathering has a reputation for its party atmosphere, with as many as 200 riders and onlookers gathered.

Kyle Hale of Golden Search and Rescue told the newspaper that high-marking “seems to be the apparent cause of the accident.” An Associated Press report further fingered the high-marking of three daredevil snowmobilers.

MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – Yet more evidence arrives of the return of the high-end real estate market. A week after similar news in Wyoming’s Jackson and Idaho’s Ketchum, the Telluride Daily Planet reports an uptick in real estate transfer fees collected in Mountain Village.

The newspaper says that the slope-side municipality collected $1 million in the year’s first two months, more than triple the collections from the same period last year.

“The buyers are definitely back,” said Matthew Hintermeister, a broker at Peaks Real Estate Sotheby’s International Realty.

Down the gondola at Telluride, the town collected $266,000 in real estate transfer taxes in January, more than double the same period last year, and the fourth straight month of increased sales.

The highest sale was for more than $10 million. Most transactions have been in cash. What constitutes the lower-end market in ski towns has not yet returned, however, as it depends upon credit – and credit remains difficult, especially in non-traditional markets.

WHISTLER, B.C. – Forty years ago, New York City got a major black eye that persisted for decades when bystanders looked the other way on a subway as a horrific crime was committed. It does not rise to the same level, but a snowboarder tells a story that vaguely recalls that New York case.

Josh Robertson, 16, and a ski-cross team member, told Pique Newsmagazine that he had skied out of bounds onto a summer biking trail. He hadn’t expected to see five people on the landing below a feature called Rock Drop. To avoid hitting them, he veered sharply – into a tree. He broke his leg in three places and shattered his kneecap.

None of the five snow-riders at the bottom of the landing had passes, he says, and so they walked past him up the trail, unwilling even to assist him from a tree well in which he was wedged. Only a friend, who had been riding with him, helped.

At length, Robertson found his cell phone and called the ski patrol, who conducted a rescue.

BASALT – Whole Foods Market plans to build a store in Basalt after all. The purveyor of organic and other, more healthy foods had originally signed an agreement in 2007 to build a 44,000-square foot store. But the plans wilted as the economy shuddered, and in the meantime Whole Foods has started building smaller stores in both Hawaii and California. Company officials tell The Aspen Times that they have noticed customers from the Roaring Fork Valley in their stores in Denver, about 200 miles away. They hope to work out deals with farmers from the Paonia area to provide fresh produce and other food.

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