LINDSEY VONN IS BACK ON SKIS
Lindsey Vonn is feeling better and has returned to Europe to train. Vonn started training for a return to the World Cup circuit after a midseason break to recover from an intestinal illness. Rainer Salzgeber, the racing director of Vonn’s equipment supplier Head, told the Associated Press that the four-time overall winner arrived in Austria on Wednesday and began light training on Thursday. He said Vonn plans to race in the downhill and Super G on January 12-13 in St. Anton, Austria. Vonn has not competed since falling in the opening run of a giant slalom December 16 in Courchevel, France. U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser wouldn’t confirm Vonn’s return in St. Anton. Regardless, a return at the Austria events would mean Vonn will miss a total of six races, leaving little chance of defending her overall title. Via Aspen Times.
SENATE APPROVES GAS LINE THROUGH DENALI NATIONAL PARK
A bill that would allow seven miles of gas pipeline through Denali National Park passed the Senate this week, and, believe it or not, this is good news, even for environmentalists. The idea is to bury the pipeline in the shoulder of the Parks Highway for the seven miles that the road extends through the national park. And the need? The high-pressure gas is designed to alleviate the need for far more polluting diesel within the park. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who is the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member and who sponsored the bill, said that a coalition of environmental groups backed it because it could allow the park and local transportation facilities to use less diesel. Also, it’s less disruptive to wildlife than skirting the park with a much longer pipeline through wilderness that could potentially be even more difficult to maintain. Via OGJ.com
COLORADO AND OREGON CLIMBERS DIE OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS ON ACONCAGUA
Greeley, Colorado, resident Eric Nourse and his friend David Reinhart of Lake Oswego, Oregon, both died from complications of altitude sickness in Argentina this week. Only Eric’s twin brother, Greg Nourse of Portland, survived. The trio were experienced alpinists, having climbed in Europe, Denali, and the Andes. But Nourse and Reinhart both failed to properly acclimate on Aconcagua and Reinhart apparently became incapacitated on the face of the Polish Glacier, a route that’s considered more challenging. At 22,000 feet Eric Nourse pushed toward the summit to try to find an approach trail back down to get help but the entire endeavor took way too long, with both Nourse brothers spending considerable time and energy, and Reinhart eventually having to be abandoned. The Nourses made it to base camp but when Argentine EMTs reached Eric, they found the oxygen content in his blood was dangerously low. They urged him to descend, but he eventually went to sleep and could not be resuscitated. Via Denver Post.
UTAH AND NEVADA SET FOR A WATER THROWDOWN
Las Vegas’ plan to tap billions of gallons of groundwater lurched closer to reality this week after the BLM granted a right of way for a 263-mile pipeline connecting Vegas with rural basins to the north near the Utah state line. But excluded from this decision, which environmentalists and local ranchers will likely challenge in court, was the contentious matter of whether the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) will tap water from under the Snake Valley…right at the state line with Utah. And Utah politicians say they aren’t going to sit by and let it happen. Environmentalists also say the decision by the BLM is “folly.” Abby Johnson, president of the Great Basin Water Network, said, “The BLM’s own environmental impact statement, in thousands of pages of analysis and disclosures, confirms that, if implemented, the project would result in certain devastation for the environment, ranching families, Native-American people, and rural communities.” It’s not clear what Utah can do to stop the BLM, but one thing that is clear (and weird): Utah governor Gary Herbert will for once have environmentalists on his side if he fights this ruling in court. Via Salt Lake Tribune.