Pointing to the sacredness of the San Francisco Peaks north
of Flagstaff, Arizona, a coalition of Native American tribes has been fighting
the development and expansion of Arizona Snowbowl ski resort since 1979. It remains
the New York Times, despite
having suffered a key legal defeat this winter. A federal court ruled against the
tribes in a nearly decade-old lawsuit that claims the ski resort's plans to use
treated wastewater from Flagstaff's sewage system to make artificial snow for
the resort would interfere with religious practices and mar the mountains.
Wait. The resort will use sewage to make snow? Technically,
yes. That's why the story has garnered lots of attention. But recycling treated
wastewater for applications that do not require potable water is not nearly as
icky, nor as uncommon, as it might sound. This type of water is commonly used for irrigating
golf courses and soccer fields, for example.
While Arizona Snowbowl would be the first resort in the U.S.
to use 100 percent treated wastewater to make snow, it's a common practice in
Europe and in parts of Australia, says Hunter Sykes, an environmental sustainability consultant who closely
tracks the outdoor recreation industry and produced a 2007 documentary about
the environmental impacts of rampant ski resort development called Resorting to Madness. "Most people
who work with wastewater don't see this an issue, because it's not going to
make people sick and, as far as we know, it's not going to contaminate flora or
fauna," he says.
Not everyone is quite so comfortable, though, with the idea of using
treated wastewater for snowmaking. Among the groups that oppose it, on
the grounds that the water may contain chemical inputs from pharmaceuticals and
other potentially hazardous hard-to-trace sources, include the Center for Biological Diversity. Sykes agrees
that there is still much we don't understand about the chemical agents that
persist in treated wastewater and how they could impact the ecosystems into
which they're released, but says if it was up to him, he would use the treated
Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director for
the Center for Biological Diversity points to a study that linked wastewater
effluent released into a creek in Boulder, Colorado, with abnormal fish gender
distributions. "There is an emerging and growing list of compounds
[about which] we don't know the affects," he says, but we know that
endocrine disruptors [in wastewater] will change fish sex ratios. This points
to the need for additional research and more advanced water treatment."
But McKinnon and Sykes do agree on one thing: the real story
here is the increase in snowmaking, industry wide, and the wider environmental
impacts of making snow.
In children’s literature, wolves pretty much always get a bad rap. Think Little Red Riding Hood, the three poor pigs, and pretty much every cute, furry, unsuspecting critter in Richard Scarry’s entire opus.
In our house, we make a point of talking up wolves and pretty much all animals, wild or domesticated. Our girls are friends to dogs, seemingly fearless about snakes, and obsessed with lizards. For them, the biggest incentive to go hiking is the chance of seeing a bear—never mind that they’re both so loud they’ll likely never come within a mile of one, or that if they did, they’d be terrified. Once on a hike in town, my then-three-year-old spotted a lone coyote standing under a juniper tree on a far hill across the arroyo. A year later, she’s still talking about it. We're trying to instill in our girls an awe for wild animals and remind them that they are wild, and deserve our respect—and room to roam.
Two of the earliest examples of Armstrong's role as a doping kingpin in the USADA report come in 1998, the year he signed with the U.S. Postal Team after beating cancer. The instances demonstrate that he relied on cortisone as a doping substance and helped others on his team do the same.
During the World Championships at Valkenberg in the
Netherlands, Armstrong asked his wife Kristin to wrap cortisone tablets in
tinfoil. She did, then handed them to him and his teammates. "Lance’s wife is
rolling joints," one teammate said.
After a tough day of riding during the Vuelta a España, Armstrong
asked teammates Jonathan Vaughters and Christian Vande Velde to go to the car
and get a cortisone pill for him. When the pair found no such pill, they came
up with a placebo, whittling down an aspirin, wrapping it in tinfoil, and
giving it to Armstrong.
In 1998, Lance Armstrong had not yet won his first Tour de
France. Yet, even at this point in his career, he was already doping, involving
his wife in his doping, and had his teammates in a position where they felt
compelled to lie to him in order to satisfy his desire for drugs. The USADA has
piled up loads of examples demonstrating that Armstrong and his team doped
during each of the seven successive years he won the Tour de France. The
quasi-governmental agency said the evidence was enough to prove, "a massive
team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional
The full USADA report is roughly 200 pages. Because you may not
have time to read it all, we’ve included some of key findings below, focusing on the
On October 4 and 5, a coronal mass ejection from the sun sent an explosion of particles speeding toward earth. Three days later, those particles hit the earth's magnetic field. The magnetic field funneled the particles into the atmosphere near the poles, where they collided with gases in the upper atmosphere to release dramatic waves of colorful light over Canada's Quebec and Ontario provinces. You don't get to see the green and purple colors in the photo above—taken early on the morning of October 8, 2012, by a NASA satellite—but you do get a pretty good idea for the size and scope of the massive swell of light.