TELLURIDE, Colo. — There's a saying in the ski industry that good snow can make lots of people look like geniuses. In other words, it's mostly about what nature bestows, not the great cleverness of humans.
And so it may be with bears, which during the last 20 years have increasingly become a problem in ski towns of Colorado. The bruins wander into town, filching from birdfeeders, trashcans and sometimes even brazenly breaking into cars and even homes.
So far this year, bears have been conspicuously absent in Crested Butte. Police chiefs in both Crested Butte and the adjacent town of Mt. Crested Butte credit people in their businesses and homes with being careful in not providing any tempting food for bears.
"We haven't had to write a ticket for a wildlife infraction yet this summer," said Tom Martin, the chief marshal in Crested Butte.
But something else is also going on, which they also acknowledge: natural food sources — primarily berries and nuts —have been good this year.
But 240 kilometres away in Telluride, bears have now emerged to create some wariness. The Daily Planet reports that both houses and vehicles have been broken into, trashcans upended, and one bear ripped off a house's siding at 1:30 in the morning.
"The whole house started shaking and there was this bear outside," explained a resident. The bear apparently smelled something in the pantry.
More rattling and shaking can be expected as summer merges into fall and bears start loading up with 20,000 calories per day before hibernation.
Rattlesnake nips dog on nose at Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Perhaps alone among ski towns in the west Steamboat Springs has rattlesnakes. You don't need to fend them off while walking down the street. But they can be found occasionally just outside town.
Recently, a 57-kilogram English black Labrador was bit on the nose by a large rattlesnake at a house south of the town. The Steamboat Pilot reports the dog was administered an antivenom and seemed to be recovering, if not its usual perky self.
One town, two places for skiing at night
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Steamboat Springs is one of the few towns in Colorado with night alpine skiing. Howelsen Hill, a town-owned ski area, has had skiing under the lights since at least the mid-70s.
Now, the big ski area, Steamboat, wants to have lighted skiing until 9:30 p.m. on several trails. While some residents appear concerned about the lighting, Doug Allen, the resort's vice president of mountain operations, said lighting for night skiing has become sophisticated. Ultra-Tech has been chosen to implement the lighting, if the town government approves.
Steamboat Pilot says that Howelsen historically has not attracted large crowds at night, and the Steamboat ski area similarly expects no large influx.