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Climate: More flooding, less snow in Vermont

August 2014 global temperatures were more than 1 degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Map courtesy NASA.

August 2014 global temperatures were more than 1 degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Map courtesy NASA.

Down-scaled climate modeling suggests sugar maples will probably persist for a while

Staff Report

FRISCO — New downscaled climate models for Vermont suggest that the state will probably be able to produce maple syrup in the coming decades, but the distribution of best habitat for sugar maples will shift, and average temperatures will increase by 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050.

By late in the century, Vermont’s average temperature will increase by 8 degrees Fahrenheit, adding 43 days to the growing season — and 10 additional days with temps above 90 degrees in Burlington, while snowfall is likely decrease by 50 percent at six major ski resorts, according to a team of scientists who recently published states-specific projections in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Colorado skiing

Got snow?

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Highlands Bowl is a Colorado hike-to classic.

FRISCO — There’s great skiing all over the world and it’s hard to single out any one spot as the best. But when the snow is good in Colorado, it’s about as good as it gets.

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Crowdfunding push aims to cut avalanche deaths

A wet snow avalanche in Tenmile Canyon, near Frisco, Colorado.

A wet snow avalanche in Tenmile Canyon, near Frisco, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Snowsports industry, safety agencies team up for Project Zero

Staff Report

With 25 backcountry avalanche deaths in the U.S. this winter, and eight in Colorado, mountain enthusiasts are launching a major crowdfunding push to boost the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The Colorado effort is part of an ambitious national push to reduce avalanche fatalities to zero by 2025. Project Zero is a collaboration between AIARE, Snowsports Industries America, Friends of the CAIC, the Utah Avalanche Center, Northwest Avalanche Center, Canadian Avalanche Centre, National Ski Areas Association and the National Ski Patrol.

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Skiing: Breckenridge extends season by a week

It's deep at Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS.

It’s deep at Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS.

Peaks 6, 7 and 8 will stay open through April 27

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado skiers will get a few bonus days this year, as Breckenridge Ski Resort announced that it will extend the season by a week, keeping Peaks 6, 7 and 8 open through April 27.

The resort has tacked on extra days the past few seasons, but generally only on weekends. Due to plentiful snow and the timing of Easter, Breckenridge execs said they made the decision early this year. Continue reading

Colorado appeals court says ski areas not liable for inbounds avalanches

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Flags mark the spot where Christopher Norris died in an inbounds avalanche on open terrain at Winter Park Ski Area on January 22, 2012. Photo courtesy CAIC.

Ruling broadens ski industry immunity
 to lawsuits

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Skiers and snowboarders in Colorado may want to start carrying their avalanche gear at developed resorts, after an appeals court ruled last week that avalanches are one of the many inherent risks of skiing on lift-served terrain.

The Colorado Court of Appeals decision (announced Feb. 13) stems from a deadly January 22, 2012 avalanche at Winter Park resort, when Christopher Norris died while skiing an open, inbounds run at Winter Park known as Trestle Trees. As it stands, the ruling broadens the almost unprecedented immunity that ski resorts have from being held liable for accidents, including inbounds avalanches. Continue reading

Avalanches kill two in Colorado

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High avalanche danger prevailed across the Colorado mountains when two backcountry skiers died in snow slides Feb. 10.

High slide danger persists across the mountains

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado’s exceptionally deep snowpack turned deadly this week, as a backcountry traveler near Kebler Pass was killed in a large avalanche. Search and rescue crews also found  another victim in the backcountry between Keystone and Breckenridge after a two-day search.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the Feb. 10 Kebler Pass slide involved two snowmobilers caught in a “very large avalanche” on a south- to southeast-facing slope below treeline. The slide broke between two to five-feet deep, about 600 feet wide and ran about 750 vertical feet. Debris at the bottom of the slide piled up to 20 feet deep.

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Colorado: Big slides likely in the backcountry

Forecasters issue avalanche advisory for Summit-Vail and Front Range mountain zones

An avalanche near Vail Pass, Colorado.

Big, dangerous slides like this slab avalanche in Uneva Bowl, near Vail Pass, are likely in the Colorado backcountry the next few days. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dangerous avalanche conditions will persist across most of Colorado’s mountains for the next few days, as new snow and winds combine to bring the snowpack to its breaking point. With more snow in the forecast, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an advisory for the Vail-Summit and Front Range zones, valid through 8 a.m. Monday (Jan. 12). Continue reading

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