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Racers worry about global warming



By Allen Best

AVON, Colo. – World Cup downhill races at Beaver Creek last week were postponed because of snow heavy enough to cause avalanche danger. But despite that abundance of snow, the Vail Daily found deep concern among ski racers and World Cup officials about the changing climate.

“At this point, I don’t think there’s many people who can deny there are effects to global warming,” said Ted Ligety, the reigning Olympic combined gold medalist. He told the Daily that he is worried that greenhouse gas emissions will eventually eliminate skiing altogether.

Guenther Hujara, director of the men’s World Cup, had similar concerns: “When we look at the glaciers back in the ’70s and now, we cannot say this is just a short-term phenomenon or a question of fickle weather,” he said.

Utah native Steven Nyman, an Olympic downhiller, said many racers on the U.S. Ski Team are worried about global warming’s effect on skiing. But he said ski racers are “probably the worst” offenders in their contribution of greenhouse gases.

“We’re staying in hotel rooms, changing the linen, we’re flying here and there and we’re driving everywhere. We are using amazing amounts of fuel and resources,” Nyman said. “So, it’s tough for us to talk as skiers traveling the world.”

Ligety said he believes the sport is especially endangered in Europe, where resorts are mostly at lower elevations.


Major work at Revelstoke?

REVELSTOKE, B.C. – Up to $100 million in new work may be done next year at Mount MacKenzie, the major new ski mountain being planned at Revelstoke. Only a small ski area exists there now, but as contemplated, the resort will have the most substantial vertical drop of any resort in North America, some 6,000 feet. The Revelstoke Times Review reports most of the work now is being done behind closed doors, in negotiations between the development company and town officials.


Opposition should extend to Jumbo

RADIUM HOT SPRINGS, B.C. – Town officials in Radium Hot Springs have joined Whistler in opposing a request by provincial officials for plans to develop resorts and lodges in provincial parks. But a letter-writer in the Invermere Valley Echo says that for Radium Hot Springs to be consistent, it should reverse its support for the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort.

Jumbo, says the letter-writer, Cameron Clarkson, “Is a massive sprawl into the wilderness and is the epitome of exactly what Whistler is declaring should not happen. You can split hairs and say that the Jumbo Resort is not proposed for a provincial park. Nonetheless, the principle of the matter is indeed the same whether it is in the boundaries of a park or beyond in a wilderness that is distinct, valued and cherished by more and more people every year.”

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