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Aspen’s emissions drop

ASPEN, Colo. – For the third year running, Aspen’s city government has made good on its vow to reduce its responsibility for emissions of greenhouse gases.

The reduction so far is 23.7 per cent, of which 8.8 per cent occurred in the last year. All the efforts are being measured against a 2004-2005 inventory.

The larger part of the most recent cutback resulted from less coal and natural gas being burned to produce electricity, city officials tell The Aspen Times. The city government gets electricity from two utilities, Holy Cross Energy and the city’s own utility department. Both have been buying more wind-generated electricity.

City employees are flying less often, and less natural gas is being used to heat buildings. As well, energy-saving improvements were made to the Aspen Recreation Center and solar panels have been added to a water treatment plant, reducing the need for coal-fired electricity.

The recorded reductions are for city operations, but not for the broader community. Through various forums, including the Mayors’ Agreement on Climate Change and the Canary Initiative, Aspen has vowed dramatic reductions for the community overall.


Keeping uphillers between the lines

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – In the 1990s, gyms got StairMasters. About the same time, ski areas started becoming giant outdoor StairMasters, as those seeking aerobic fitness began trekking up the ski slopes at first light and many times at night, under the moon and stars.

For the most part, ski areas tolerate the uphillers, as long as they don’t get in the way. Those slapping on a set of skins as a morning ritual have sometimes included ski area employees, including former Crested Butte manager John Norton.

But the rough edges of such relations at Breckenridge were such that some 60 people showed up at a recent town council meeting to chew on proposed changes. The problem there, reports the Summit Daily News, was parking. Ski area officials said too many parking spaces needed by construction hands working on a base-area real estate project were being monopolized by the uphill crowd.

As well, ski area officials were irritated by uphillers — sometimes simply called “skinners,” although many use snowshoes — venturing onto runs that had been closed for grooming. Especially dangerous are those trails where winches, which are used on the steepest trails, are operating, with cables up to 3,500 feet long.