Outdoor Research founder killed in slide | VailDaily.com

Outdoor Research founder killed in slide

Bob Berwyn

An avalanche in the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park near Nelson, B.C. killed 54-year-old Ron Gregg, founder of Outdoor Research, and 40-year-old James Schmid, an assistant attorney general, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.The two men were in a party of six people touring in the park. According to the Post-Intelligencer, there have been 14 avalanche-related deaths in that area this winter. Outdoor Research is known for making practical and durable outdoor gear.Avy deaths adding upNew snow falling atop an already unstable late winter snowpack contributed to two avalanche deaths in Colorado in recent weeks, raising the total number of deaths to six.On Thursday, March 20, 30-year-old Summit County resident Kenneth Carl “KC” Ratcliff died in a slide in the backcountry between Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. And a snowmobiler was killed in the La Plata mountains, west of Durango, Saturday, March 22.Ratcliff had a reputation as an expert telemark and backcountry skier. He was skiing with three friends near an area known as the Rock Garden when a large avalanche swept him down through a dense forest. Ratcliff was alive when rescuers reached the scene, but died from apparent blood loss from internal injuries sustained when the roiling mass of snow smashed him against rocks or trees. The surviving members of the group said the avalanche broke trees as it slid down the steep slope.In the La Platas, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports that a snowmobiler was highmarking when a slab avalanche broke loose. Rescuers found the man an hour and 45 minutes after he was buried and could not revive him, the Durango Herald reports.Snowsport sales strongThe Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) reports that retail sales across the country stayed strong this winter, growing by 4.9 percent from the 2001-03 season. The SIA’s retail audit covers sales through March 31 in all snow sports product categories.Through the end of January, sales at ski and snowboard shops were up 7.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Those gains came in apparel and accessories categories, with sales of equipment trending generally flat compared to last season. Sales of alpine gear jumped slightly, by 2.2 percent, while snowboard equipment sales actually dipped by 4.9 percent. Nordic sales stayed flat, according to SIA.Telluride considers anti-idling lawThe Telluride Daily Planet reports that the town council in the San Juan town is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal to let a car idle longer than 30 seconds, or three minutes from a cold start.The ordinance stems from an initiative by the Sheep Mountain Alliance to reduce air pollution. The public will have a chance to weigh in during a public hearing set for next month.Reducing vehicle emissions could help cut down on air quality problems associated with smaller, so-called PM 2.5 particles. The town has already significantly reduced PM 10 particles, which generally come from dust and wood smoke.According to the Daily Planet, local and state laws already prohibit car owners from leaving their vehicles while the engine is running. Some council member said that 30 seconds is too short.Bomb threat ends planned punk festThe Mammoth Times reports that a bomb threat at Mammoth Mountain’s Canyon Lodge forced cancellation of a scheduled punk-rock music festival. Law enforcement officials evacuated 400 people from the lodge and conducted a search after receiving the phoned-in threat.According to the Times, some concert-goers were angry because they did not believe the bomb scare was a credible threat. The popular band Guttermouth was set to headline the March 15 Punk Fest.Lynx lawsuit thrown outA lawsuit aimed at halting Colorado’s lynx recovery program has been dismissed, clearing the way for the release of 50 more of the furry-footed snow cats beginning early next month.The attempt to block the reintroduction came in January, when the Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) went to court claiming the lynx program could interfere with efforts mitigate wildfire hazards. The lawsuit named the Colorado Division of Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as defendants. The MSLF also attempted to shut down the lynx program in 1998, during the first lynx release by the CDOW, filing suit on behalf of some Colorado cattle and sheep-ranching groups.But Federal District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer said those claims were entirely speculative, and refused to consider a request for a temporary restraining order that could have blocked the release of additional lynx.The Mountain States Legal Foundation advocates for the so-called &quotwise use&quot movement, representing private property owners in battles against the federal government. The group’s board of directors is heavy with executives from the timber, mining, petroleum and construction industries. Former Interior Secretary James Watt helped found the organization and Gale Norton, current Interior Secretary, worked there for four years.– compiled by Bob Berwyn

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