Risky rescues straining Wyoming crews | VailDaily.com

Risky rescues straining Wyoming crews

Allen BestVail, CO Colorado

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Backcountry rescues are on such a rise in Jackson Hole that local authorities are considering billing adventurers.That such a drastic measure would be considered says much about the frustration of local authorities, who say that rescue costs have increased from $15,000 only eight years ago to $160,000 now. Three-quarters of that budget is devoted to having a helicopter on call. Costs of operation are an additional $1,500 per hour.The Jackson Hole News&Guide says that the irritation is elevated by the risk faced by rescuers. In late afternoon on New Years Day, a snowboarder broke a cornice and slid 1,300 vertical feet. Rescuers marched up the mountain in the dark, reaching the man by midnight, caring for him until he could be flown out the next morning. However, they almost didnt go. The newspaper said rescuers, because of the dangers, debated an hour before voting by a narrow margin to attempt the rescue. Some said the snowboarder would have died without their help.Traditional search-and-rescue teams have traditionally not charged those they save, for fear it will discourage calls for help, but teams have had no qualms about charging for helicopters. Doug Meyer, the coordinator of Teton County Search and Rescue, said he expects to attempt 10 rescues by winters end. Some involve skiers and snowboarders who use the lifts of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to access what is called the resort backcountry. Teton County Sheriff Bob Zimmer indicated hes had enough of extreme adventuring.The word extreme is thrown around everyday, he told the newspaper. You go out, put yourself in harms way, get yourself cliffed out, stranded, and we then take 5 or 25 volunteers and put them in harms way to rescue you when you use poor judgment.He said he also wonders if, at some point, Teton County will cease to provide a helicopter.Some in the community have suggested requiring backcountry adventurers to get permits. Skiers would have to prove theyve taken an avalanche course to get one. Another idea is European-style rescue insurance.

DURANGO, Colorado The median price of homes that sold in Durango last year slid 7 percent from the previous year, to $389,000. Were not immune to conditions that exist nationwide, said Bob Allen, a Durango real-estate appraiser.However, the first $1 million sale in the condo-townhome category was registered at Durango last year, reports the Durango Herald.

Support Local Journalism