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Mountain News: U.S. skier days expected to dip below 50 million

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Outfitter to guide in sidecountry

KETCHUM, Idaho — By whatever name, the area beyond the ski area boundaries has become a huge draw in the last 20 years. In recent years, a new name has cropped up — the sidecountry — to describe this area that can be reached with the ease of ski lifts but which is, in other ways, the backcountry.

The Forest Service and many in the ski industry dislike this new term. They say that it implies a sense of safety that just doesn't exist. In some cases, ski area managers may allow ski patrollers to go outside their boundaries to assist in or conduct rescues or body recoveries. But they most assuredly don't do avalanche control.

Now comes a case in Idaho that has stirred up resentments. The Forest Service has issued a guiding permit to an outfitter who will take customers to backcountry ski terrain adjacent to the Sun Valley's operations on Bald Mountain.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports three outfitters had originally applied for permits, but two dropped out because of what they described as the "extreme vitriol" of opponents.

"We strongly believe that maintaining community is more important than fresh tracks, guided or not," said Sun Valley Trekking and Sun Valley Helicopter Ski guides.

The Forest Service believes that the plan now in place will put to rest the heartburn in Ketchum and adjoining communities over the commercialization of the sidecountry stashes.

A symbolic swat

TELLURIDE, Colo. — The Telluride Town Council has agreed to take a symbolic swat at the U.S. Supreme Court decision that has allowed unlimited spending by corporations in political races. The council recently directed the town attorney to draft an ordinance calling for the abolishment of corporate personhood.

In doing so, Telluride joins a great many local governments, including Boulder, Colo. There, residents overwhelmingly passed a symbolic ordinance that asks for the abolishment of corporate personhood. Telluride officials thought about a similar community-wide vote, but decided a mere vote of the town council will suffice.

Raw milk on rise

ASPEN, COLO. — Some people like it raw — their milk, that is. They point out that when milk is heated to 161 degrees, a process called pasteurization, it kills 90 per cent of bacteria.

But bacteria comes in two forms: good and bad, when it comes to human health. And a non-profit called Sustainable Settings has been selling shares in a dairy herd to residents of the Roaring Fork Valley. The venture has almost 40 shareholders, with more on the waiting list. It costs $150 to buy a share of the herd, plus a $64 monthly boarding fee.

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