October 11, 2012

    Photo: SkiStar Salen/Flickr

Colorado Resorts Race to Prepare for Snow

A strong storm could mean an early start to the season

The first significant snowstorm of the season is headed for Colorado and resorts are scrambling to get the slopes ready. Predictions are calling for five-10 inches of snow above 10,000 feet over Friday and Saturday, which could help get the season off to an early start. In Vail, helicopters installing new towers have forced an end to all foot and bicycle traffic on the mountain. At Beaver Creek, crews are rushing to complete renovations on the Red Tail finish area at the base of the Birds of Prey World Cup race course. With artificial snow production getting a boost from the storm, many resorts are speculating that they may be open earlier than expected. “Unfortunately, I can’t speculate on our odds of opening this weekend,” said A-Basin spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac, “Snowmaking is going well, and I know [COO and vice president Alan Henceroth] walked High Noon a few times this week and was pleased with the progress.”

Via Real Aspen


    Photo: seantoyer/Flickr

Sewage-to-Snow May Breed Resistant Bacteria

Snowbowl recycling plan could be in trouble

The sewage water Arizona’s Snowbowl ski resort plans to use to make snow this winter is also a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to recent research. Despite protests from local Native American groups, the Flagstaff resort won a legal battle giving them the go-ahead to use recycled wastewater from a local plant for artificial snow. (Recycled wastewater is also used to irrigate golf courses and soccer fields.) Research from a group at Virginia Tech, however, found antibiotic-resistant genes in the Flagstaff plant’s water at various points of distribution, like sprinkler heads. The genes were not found in the plant, which suggests that bacteria is growing in the distribution pipes. The next step, according to the study, is to analyze the bacteria and see whether or not the water contains any antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Via New York Times


A glacier in Greenland

A glacier in Greenland     Photo: Basheer Tome/Flickr

Study: CO2 Weakens Glaciers

MIT finds ice fracture increases with greenhouse gas

Glaciers around the world are weakening due to excessive levels of carbon dioxide, according to a new study. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that increased concentrations of the gas significantly decrease the material strength of ice, making glaciers more likely to split apart. The team used a computer simulation to analyze how CO2 might affect ice fracturing on an atomic level. Lead author Markus Buehler said this decrease in strength could set off a chain reaction resulting in faster ice melt. "If ice caps and glaciers were to continue to crack and break into pieces, their surface area that is exposed to air would be significantly increased, which could lead to accelerated melting and much reduced coverage area on the Earth," he said.

Via Zeenews