RENT YOUR OWN SKI RESORT (KINDA)
No, it’s not the same as a week of heli in the Chugach, but a few ski hills are offering semi-exclusivity for a lot less scratch. Anthony Lakes, a 50-year-old ski area in northeast Oregon, lets groups of up to 50 skiers rent the entire 1,100-acre mountain. Cost: four grand (divide by 50 and that’s $80 a person). Turner Mountain in northwest Montana can be rented privately once a week, for $3,000, on Mondays through Thursdays. And at Sugarbush Resort in Vermont, the 12-person Lincoln Limo Sno-Cat can be rented for a day of private cat skiing on Mount Ellen, a part of the ski area, in April for $1,800. Sugarbush’s cheaper ($175) private deal are the rather awesome multicourse dinners at Allyn’s Lodge (left), where you cat up, chow down, and then ski back to the base under moonlight. Via NYT.
CONGRESS REJECTS FOREST SERVICE FIRE-FIGHTING DOUGH
In the midst of everything Congress failed to do to avoid the present budgeting morass, it also blew a chance to fund fully the Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Management Account ahead of next year’s fire season. Last week while the lame ducks were lame ducking, an amendment was put forth by Colorado Senator Mark Udall but got shot down by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Apparently there aren’t as many fires to worry about in Alabama. Udall says the rider would have restored $653 million to the account, which pays for wildland fire preparedness, suppression, research, and state fire assistance. Udall, who introduced the amendment with Montana’s Jon Tester of Montana, says the funds would have helped the Forest Service prevent and fight wildfires in 2013. Colorado experienced two of its most destructive wildfires this past summer. The Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed 346 homes in Colorado Springs, and the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins destroyed 259 homes. Via The Missoulian.
MEN HURT USING EXPLOSIVES TO BUILD FIRE
In general, a stick of dynamite isn’t advisable as kindling. And neither is exploding target material used by some sharpshooters for practice. The targets blow up when struck, and the state of California is actually working on banning some of the targets because of fire danger. So, yeah, the targets may cause fires, but first they explode, and two men in Idaho who had been shooting practice targets in Hayden Creek found out that that can be dangerous when they decided to start a fire using some of their leftover exploding material as an accelerant. When one of them came close to the fire with the materials in a bag, the materials exploded, severally injuring the man’s hand. Another man suffered lower body injuries. One man was taken to Kootenai Medical Center via ambulance, where he was listed in serious condition. Via KREM.com.
ANOTHER NATIONAL PARK IN CALIFORNIA, ONCE OBAMA SIGNS IT INTO LAW
One thing the Senate got done this lame duck session was to create Pinnacles National Park this past Sunday. Pinnacles, already a national monument, is a 26,000-acre park east of Salinas. Earlier this summer the House passed a similar bill, allowing what should be easy passage of a combined bill for signature by Obama. The changed status will increase tourism and heighten recognition of the area, and will of course bring greater protection from development. Climbers in particular should be happy about the changed status, since Pinnacles is home to hundreds of routes, mostly bolted. As for the timing, it’s a mere 104 years after President Teddy Roosevelt made Pinnacles a National Monument, just a wee bit before sticky rubber came along. Via Mercury News.