Around the Mountains: Snocat driver dies in Crested Butte |

Around the Mountains: Snocat driver dies in Crested Butte

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CRESTED BUTTE – A snow groomer at Crested Butte Mountain Resort died when he either got out or fell out of his Snocat and got pulled under the track. The victim, Chris Mikesell, had grown up in Kansas, then studied at Western State College in Gunnison. He was a whitewater raft guide by summer, and also dabbled in construction, but managed to ski 90 to 100 days each winter. This was his first winter as a snow groomer, reports the Crested Butte News.Park City skier never took time for lunchPARK CITY, Utah – Among this season’s ski fatalities was a master ski racer, Brett Pendleton, who was 49 and died when he crashed in terrain near one of the Park City Mountain Resort trails.A lineman for an electrical utility, he was remembered as a life-long skier and lover of adventure sports. He had, for example notched 7,500 jumps in his life as a skydiver, paraglider, and hang glider.But he was especially passionate about skiing, his widow said. “He was the most beautiful skier on the mountain,” Shawna Pendleton told The Park Record. “You had to ski 9 to 4 with no lunch, no drinks. My poor kids had to do that their whole lives.”Marines learn to ski in the Sierra NevadaTRUCKEE, Calif. – The famed 10th Mountain Division trained during World War II at Camp Hale, near what is now Vail. But even before the fighting ended in Europe, the Army was dismantling the camp.But soldiers have continued to be trained in the ways of mountains, and warfare. Truckee’s Moonshine Ink reports that the U.S. Marine Corps has been training since 1951 north of Yosemite National Park near Sonora Pass, in one of the coldest pockets of the Sierra Nevada. There, Marines are taught everything from swift water rescue and avalanche awareness to rock climbing and skiing. More than 90 percent of maneuvers are done at night.Trainees, reports the newspaper, learn to ski on the famed “white Rockets,” 1950-vintage Asna skis, complete with cable bindings and leather boots. Skiing is taught in four weeks.Reducing emissions is easier said than doneGUNNISON – Last year the town of Gunnison signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. How well is it doing to live up to this new commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions to less than those in 1990?”Don’t ask,” responds George Sibley, a member of the committee that is rewriting Gunnison’s master plan. “I feel truly confounded by how difficult it is to generate specific objectives and action steps that say, in effect, ‘over the next 20 years we are going to change the way we live in Gunnison.'”Sibley, writing in Colorado Central Magazine, pointed out that Gunnison and Crested Butte get great amounts of sunshine, but have few solar collectors. “Virtually everything we need in the coldest place in the United States comes into the valley in big trucks or pipes,” he points out. Too, he notes, the economy depends a great deal on “SUV tourism, electric ski lifts, and methane-farting cows.”To meet even the Kyoto reductions by 2025, never mind the 50 percent reduction the scientists say we need, according to Sibley, there is only one solution: entirely phase out the local use of the automobile.

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