Around the Mountains: Marks sets Aspen record |

Around the Mountains: Marks sets Aspen record

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ASPEN ” Business may be down, but spending is up in this spring’s mayoral election in Aspen. Incumbent Mick Ireland has raised $17,875, but his challenger, Marilyn Marks, raised nearly $40,000. The previous record of $30,000 was set two years ago, notes The Aspen Times.

SILVERTON ” It has been, reports the Durango Telegraph, an unusually windy, dusty year in the San Juan Mountains. Chris Landry, director of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, says 13 dust storms as of late April left dust on the snow of the San Juans, the most since he began monitoring the dust storms seven years ago.

The dust absorbs the solar radiation, causing the snowmelt to melt more rapidly. Tom Painter, a research scientist with the University of Utah, estimates the snowpack melts several weeks earlier as a result of the dust.

Additional study of sediments in above-treeline lakes by Jason Neff, a biogeochemist with the University of Colorado-Boulder, found a five-fold increase in dust accumulations since the last half of the 19th century as compared to the previous 5,000 years. He notes that the uptick in dust was concurrent with the arrival of railroads, and he further theorizes that large-scale livestock grazing created the additional dust.

Further work in support of that theory has been done by Jayne Belknap, a research ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey who is based in Moab, Utah. She has demonstrated how desert soils disturbed by livestock grazing or other activities can be lifted by passing storms.

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. ” Ever since Pete Seibert Sr. returned from the Alps in the 1950s and then issued his vision in Vail Village, somewhat similar villages have been showing up, reaching crescendo levels in the last 15 years. One of them is at Mammoth Lakes.

The argument can be made that such villages, when done by large developers such as Intrawest, are an exercise in good planning. But others have seen them as phony. Taking the latter view is Steve Klassen, a legendary snowboarder owner of Wave Rave, a snowboard, clothing, and accessories company.

“The word village conjures up images of heritage and community,” Klassen tells Mammoth’s The Sheet. “Unfortunately, I don’t think it stands for those things. I view it as a developers’ appetite for greed.

“I do feel sorry for the tenants of the (Mammoth) Village. when Intrawest first rolled into town with all this money, it seemed like a good thing. You would walk into that sales office and it looked legit. However, I saw right through it. Do you know that their (Intrawest’s parent company Fortress Investments) stock was down 96 percent for the year not too long ago. It’s really too bad. The whole thing was a case of slick marketing, and unfortunately the bottom fellow out.”

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