January 27, 2012

Avalanche     Photo: sgillies/Flickr

Skier-Rigged Avalanche Sparks Debate

Did backcountry guide endanger others?

On Tuesday, an experienced skier deliberately triggered an avalanche on a highly-trafficked area of Wyoming's Taylor Mountain, causing a 2,600-foot slide and sparking fierce discussion in the backcountry ski community. At around 1:30 p.m., a man identified as a local "avalanche guru" made a ski cut above a popular line, intending to release an small avalanche and make the slope safer for him and his party. The massive slide ran up over the opposite slope, obliterating ski lines and skin tracks, and leaving a 30-foot-deep debris field. Teton Search and Rescue teams responded to look for buried victims, but no one was hurt. A debate followed in the comments section of ski blog Teton AT, with some noting that triggering an avalanche at a popular time of day was risky. "We just had and are still in the grips of one of the most widespread avalanche cycles in 30 years, and Glory bowl gets center punched daily during high rating," commented reader Mike Fischer. "We have a VERY serious snowpack right now, and a ski community with a serious lack of respect."

Read more at Teton Valley News


    Photo: Courtesy of The Grey

Wildlife Groups Boycott The Grey

Movie's portrayal of wolves under fire

Wildlife advocacy groups concerned by a negative portrayal of wolves in The Grey have called for a boycott of the movie. Liam Neeson stars as a wolf exterminator who must survive attacks by a pack of bloodthirsty gray wolves after his plane crashes in the Alaskan bush. Wendy Keefover of WildEarth Guardians, which is advocating that gray wolves to be put back on the Endangered Species List, says the movie inaccurately portrays wolves as bloodthirsty beasts. "You know wolves are expressive, intelligent, and emotive beings," Keefover says. Open Road Films, the distributor of The Grey, says it is working with the Sierra Club to make a fact sheet on wolves available on the film's website.

Read more at Oregon Public Broadcasting



Dubai     Photo: Nasib Bitar/Wikimedia

Record Times at Dubai Marathon

Men's, women's races set marks for depth

Ethiopia's Ayele Abshero on Friday won and set a world record of 2:04:23 for the fastest-ever debut at the Dubai Marathon. Abshero lead three other men under 2:05 and a total of 14 under 2:08, the most ever to exceed those marks in one race. Abshero's Ethiopian countrywoman Aselefech Mergia won the women's race in 2:19:31, as Kenya's Lucy Kabuu and Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba also ran under 2:20. They became the 13th, 14, and 15th women in history to run under 2:20. A total of nine woman broke 2:25, another single-race record. Abshero, 21, was the world junior cross country champion in 2009. Both Abshero and Mergia collected $250,000 for winning, the largest first-place prize in professional marathon running.

Read more at Letsrun.com


X Games

Skier at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.     Photo: Ryan Holst/Flickr

X Games Ski Slopestyle Sees Firsts

New records set in both genders

Both the men's and women's ski slopestyle events saw new records set at the Winter X Games on Thursday in Aspen, Colorado. Kaya Turski became the first woman to land a switch 1080 in the history of ski slopestyle on her way to winning her third-consecutive X Games gold medal in the event. "I was sitting in third place already so I had a medal," Turski said. "That kind of eased it and I just went for it." Tom Wallisch won gold in men's slopestyle with a score of 96.00—the highest ever for the event. The previous record was 95.00. In the snowmobile freestyle competition, also on Thursday, Colten Moore won his first X Games gold medal after tumbling more than 100 feet from his snowmobile in an qualifying run.

Read more at The Denver Post



Self-portrait of Harris-Moore in 2008.     Photo: Courtesy of AP/Island County Sheriffs Office/The Herald

Harris-Moore Sentenced to 6.5 Years

Barefoot Bandit to serve federal, state terms

A federal court in Seattle on Friday sentenced Colton Harris-Moore, the Barefoot Bandit, to six and half years in jail. Harris-Moore was given a seven-year term by a state court in December an will serve the sentences concurrently. In June, he pleaded guilty to a range of felonies, including the thefts of several planes and luxury cars, from a crime spree in the Pacific Northwest that lasted more than two years and attracted worldwide media attention. Harris-Moore had expressed regret for his crimes at his December sentencing in state court, but a filing by federal prosecutors included recent emails from Harris-Moore disparaging law enforcement officials.

Read more at teh Seattle Post-Intelligencer