Idaho slides kill 2 |

Idaho slides kill 2

Bob Berwyn

Idaho slides kill 2The Seattle Times reports that a snowmobiler from Spokane, Wash., and a backcountry skier were killed in separate avalanches north of Sandpoint last weekend.Tim Parnow, of Sandpoint, was buried while backcountry skiing with friends near Keokee Lake, northwest of Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Later the same day and 10 miles to the north, Patrick Kopczynski, of Spokane, was struck by an avalanche while riding a snowmobile in Echo Bowl near Priest Lake.New England ski season going wellNew Hampshire’s Manchester Union Leader reports that the New England ski season is shaping up nicely for resort operators, thanks to plenty of snow and consistently cold temperatures.According to the Union Leader, industry officials in New Hampshire said the ski industry has seen a resurgence and could experience one of its best seasons ever, potentially equaling or even beating the existing record of 2.3 million skier visits.Vancouverites approve Olympic bidVoters in Vancouver supported the city’s potential bid to host the 2010 Winter Games, the Canadian television Web site reports. International Olympic Committee delegates will visit the city early in March, and the 64 percent vote of approval should help erase any doubts about the willingness of citizens to host the Olympics, proponents said.Lodge facing closureThe Irwin Lodge, a popular backcountry skiing destination near Crested Butte, is still up for sale and is faced with the threat of foreclosure, the Crested Butte News reports.Vermont OB skiers could face criminal chargesThe Vermont Ski Areas Association is supporting legislation that could make out-of-bounds skiing illegal, the Rutland (Vermont) Herald reports.Criminalizing out-of-bounds skiing could help officials collect rescue charges, an industry official told a State Senate Committee, according to the Herald. Elected officials are considering changes to a law similar to the Colorado Skier Safety Act. People who ski out of bounds by accident wouldn’t have to pay.Pikas susceptible to global warming?A recent U.S. Geological Survey study suggests that pikas could be among the first North American animal species to feel the effects of global warming. Pikas are small mammals that live in high elevation talus slopes in many western mountain ranges. Some local pika populations in the mountains of the Great Basin may have already disappeared as a result of climate change impacts, according to the study.Researchers say the vanishing pika populations are disturbing because they have been considered a locally abundant species.Some research indicates that pikas are particularly vulnerable to global warming because they reside in areas with cool, moist climates. Losing pika populations could affect other species in as-yet unforeseen ways. Pikas may act as ecosystem engineers at the margin of talus slopes because of their food-gathering and storage activities, according to a report on the Environmental News Service.ASC juggling financesAmerican Skiing Company announced that it has refinanced an existing $84.3 million line of credit as part of an ongoing effort to restructure its debts. ASC holdings include Killington, Mount Snow, Sunday River, Sugarloaf/USA, Attitash Bear Peak, Steamboat and The Canyons.The company has been hit hard by financial woes, and saw its stock delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. The company said it expects to report significant asset impairment charges in its fiscal 2002 results primarily due to continuing unfavorable operating results in its real estate operations.– compiled by Bob Berwyn

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