Friday, March 30, 2012

Mountain Town News


Steamboat sets record temperature

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.—Steamboat was short on powder, long on heat in March. The temperature hit 69 degrees last week, breaking the old record of 63.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today chatted with two local skiers who were wearing tank tops.

"We've been doing this for two weeks now," said Kristi Richardson.

The newspaper also reported that grooming crews have been moving snow around on the ski hill to cover bare spots, but without complete success. One run had been closed because of exposed rocks.

"It's been a challenging winter, so I don't know why that should stop," said Doug Allen, the vice president of mountain operations.

Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, agreed that the weather was extreme, but said he'd come to learn that every year is extreme in its own way.

Whistler has record number of visitors

WHISTLER, B.C.—Whatever Whistler is doing, they hope to keep doing it. February in Whistler was the scene of the most visitors ever other than during the Olympics in 2010.

Breton Murphy, communications manager for Tourism Whistler, the area's reservations and tourism agency, said Whistler's bounty cannot be attributed to any one cause: prices, promotions planned in the off-season, spin-off from the resort's exposure during the Olympics or the plentiful snow this year as compared to the parched conditions at other resorts.

As before, all of Whistler's key markets showed growth: the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Australia all had double-digit growth. The number of Brazilians increased more than 100 percent.

But the growth in visitors did not translate into an increase in profits. Room rates remain low, and profit margins for hotels are lower than before the financial crisis, reports Pique Newsmagazine.


Wolves kill dogs in Jackson Hole

JACKSON, Wyo.—Wolves have killed or injured four dogs in Teton County. The dogs were missing from the Blackrock Ranger Station, located about a half hour north of Jackson.

The killings came even as residents and wildlife managers worked to come to grips with the predators' expanding their territory and moving closer to humans, reported the Jackson Hole News&Guide. In another incident, wolves close to Jackson attacked a dog recently, and other wolves have been seen in a local suburb.

The News&Guide also talked with a variety of people who had different thoughts. Chris Colligan, from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, said residents need to adapt to wolves, the same way they have to grizzly bears. Possible solutions are to keep dogs on a leash, to keep them contained and to secure pet foods.

But the owner of the dogs that were recently killed said he believes some things need to change.

"You have to let people protect their personal property," he said.

Study finds ibuprofen can help altitude sickness

PALO ALTO, Calif.—A study has found that ibuprofen can reduce the incidence of acute mountain sickness, which occurs in more than 25 percent of people who travel to higher altitudes each year.

Grant Lipman, the Stanford University researcher who led the study, told The Washington Post that altitude sickness is like a "really nasty hangover." Symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and poor appetite.

In the study of 58 men and 28 women, ibuprofen reduced attitude sickness symptoms by 26 percent.

The volunteers needed to be healthy enough to hike at high elevations, but were not elite climbers. In summer 2010, they were taken from near sea level to the White Mountains, northeast of Bishop, Calif., where they spent the night at 4,100 feet.

In the morning, they were given 600 milligrams of ibuprofen or a placebo before heading up the mountain to a staging area at 11,700. They were given a second dose at 2 p.m. before hiking up three more miles to an elevation of 12,570 feet, where they received a third dose before spending the night on the mountain.

According to study results published in the March issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, 43 percent of those who took ibuprofen developed acute mountain sickness, compared to 69 percent of those who were given the placebo. The severity of symptoms was also higher for those who received placebos.

Two drugs, acetazolamide and dexamethasone, are currently approved to prevent and treat the condition. But they are prescription only and carry a risk of side effects.

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