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Mountain News: Can global climate change explain this?



TELLURIDE, Colo. - It's been a wet, wet summer in the mountains of Colorado, but firecracker hot and dry in British Columbia. Does global warming have anything to do with either one?

Near Vail and Aspen, microbursts have caused waves of water and mud to flow across highways. And at Telluride, it has left the forests full of mushrooms.

This dampness bodes well for this weekend's Telluride Mushroom Festival, now in its 30 th year. "Boletes, chanterelles, hawkwings, oysters - everything's out, and as it keeps raining, we can expect more edibles than ever before for this year's Shroomfest," said Art Goodtimes, the event organizer and poet-in-residence.

The festival has four days of all things fungal, including forays into the forests, lectures, and tastings - of mushrooms, of course. And mushroom promoter Paul Stamets will travel from Washington state to explain how mycological spores can be used for everything from forest remediation and cleanup of oil spills to nontoxic insecticides and cardboard packing boxes.

In British Columbia, it has been hot and dry. Fires have popped up across the province, and fire danger at Whistler was classified as "extreme" beginning Aug. 12. Campfires are banned, and even use of power tools within 20 metres of forests has been banned.

Squamish had a record-breaking temperature of 36.7 degrees Celsius. More stunning than the temperature was that it broke the old record by 5 degrees C.

While climate scientists repeatedly warn against ascribing any one thing to global warming, this increased warmth does fit in with a trend. Despite the cold weather of North America's eastern coast last winter and snow in places like Houston and Dallas, 2010 has been the hottest year on the planet since broad and reliable record-keeping began in 1880, scientists from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration reported recently.

But how about the big rainstorms? While certainly not talking about the rain in Colorado this summer, the New York Times asked climate scientists whether the more global extremes - the floods in Pakistan, for example - can be attributed to the accumulating greenhouse gases. "Probably," they said.


Big changes for Canyons

PARK CITY, Utah - Talisker has big changes in mind for The Canyons, one of the three ski areas at Park City. There will be more employees, a new high-speed quad, and more snowmaking - plus a new name. Sort of.

The new name is to be simply Canyons, as in we were going to Deer Valley but instead went to Canyons.

The new lift will increase uphill capacity by 47 per cent. In addition, the bottom terminus of the existing gondola will be moved closer to the parking lot, so people don't have to walk so far. The company also plans to expand snowmaking and add 100 employees.