February 22, 2013

    Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

Vermont Skiers Face Fines Out of Bounds

Bill to be discussed next week

Vermont State Senator Kevin Mullin has introduced a bill that will fine skiers up to $500 for intentionally skiing out of bounds at resorts in the state. The bill is in response to the estimated 50 people who have required rescue this winter after skiing out of bounds and getting lost.

Mullin’s district contains Pico and Killington ski resorts. Most of the “lost” skiers were at Killington:

“There’s been a lot of it this year, especially at Killington, and it’s quite costly when we’re sending out rescue teams to find people,” Mullin said. 

“Nobody goes out of bounds thinking that they’re going to get lost,” he said, “but inevitably it happens and I just think it would be helpful to have a sign that says, ‘It is a crime to ski out of bounds’....”

The bill is expected to be discussed by the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Mullin and committee chairman Richard Sears both have stressed that the burden falls on the skiers, and not the resorts.

“Whose responsibility is it when (skiers) choose to do something reckless?” Sears said. “I remember playing golf down in Florida and seeing a sign: ‘Water moccasins.’ Well, I gotta tell you, when I dropped the ball in that pond, I didn’t go looking for it.”

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    Photo: Courtesy of DPM

Outrage as Climber Caught Chipping on Video

Has yet to comment on accusations

A Brooklyn-based climber has caused an outcry after a candid video of him intentionally altering a boulder problem in upstate New York appeared on a popular climbing website. In the video on DPM Climbing, an individual identified as former Edelrid athlete Ivan Greene is shown using a hammer and hand drill to remove rock from the roof of a small cave.

In a separate article on DPM, one unnamed local said that climbers in the area had been noticing chipped holds, and occasionally entire manufacturered problems, since last year.

We started to see these problems that were completely manufactured—like, every hold. It was happening all over. We had suspicions about who it was, but there isn't exactly a police force in the boulders to prevent this stuff from happening.

The controversy over Greene taps into a debate that's been raging since the early days of sport climbing, when modifying, or "chipping," the holds on a climb was relatively common. While some types of minor alterations to the rock, such as scrubbing off grime or pulling off a dangerously loose flake that could hurt a climber if it breaks, are largely accepted today, intentionally altering holds to make a climb easier is almost universally frowned upon.

Following DPM's story, Edelrid posted a statement on their Facebook page saying that Greene was no longer part of their team.

We would like to state unequivocally that EDELRID does not support the practice of chipping. It is our belief that the challenge, and the pleasure of climbing, lies in rock formations, as they occur naturally.

With this in mind we can state that we find the recent behaviour of Ivan Greene to be completely unacceptable, and we would like to take this opportunity to clarify that he is no longer an EDELRID sponsored athlete, and in actuality has not been supported by the brand for over 12 months.

Greene has yet to comment publicly on the video or the accusations levied against him.

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Miner's Needle in Arizona, close to the supposed location of the mine.     Photo: Al_HikesAZ/Flickr

Woman Twice Rescued Hunting for Gold

Fabled mine may not exist

A woman was rescued from the Superstition Mountains in Arizona on Tuesday after she was reported missing for the second time this winter while searching for the fabled Lost Dutchman's gold mine.

Rescuers found Robin Bird, 51, Wednesday night around 11:30 p.m. on the Bluff Springs Trail in the mountains east of Phoenix. She was unresponsive, suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. Rescuers started a fire to warm her while they waited for a rescue helicopter. Eventually she was able to walk down the trail to the helicopter and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bird unwittingly gave bad directions to another group of hikers who then became lost as well. They were rescued around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The head of search and rescue in the area, David Bremson, says that he does not believe the gold cache exists, and that looking for it is a fool's errand. “Most of the body recoveries we’ve done out of the Supes have been Dutch hunters,” Bremson said.

Via The Republic

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    Photo: Associated Press

Gov't to Join Suit Against Armstrong

Claim he defrauded the U.S.P.S.

As if being generally despised wasn’t enough, the United States government is about to make Lance Armstrong’s life just that much more uncomfortable. The Justice Department is expected to officially announce Friday that the government is signing on to the doping lawsuit filed two years ago by Armstrong’s former cycling partner, Floyd Landis (one of several filed against him).

The government can claim that by violating the Tour de France’s ban on illegal drugs, Armstrong defrauded his team’s primary sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service, who paid at least $30 million in support.

Robert Luskin, Armstrong’s attorney, gave a statement Friday dismissing the Postal Service's claims:

"Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged," Luskin said. "The Postal Service's own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship—benefits totaling more than $100 million."

Legal experts believe Armstrong could still avoid the charges by arguing that his contract with the Postal Service did not explicitly forbid blood doping.

For more on the athlete, check out "A History of Lance Armstrong Coverage in Outside."

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    Photo: Mister-E/Flickr

Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail

Athlete "not a flight risk"

After a two-hour explanation of his decision, South African magistrate Desmond Nair granted South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius bail, saying he was not a flight risk and didn't show a propensity to commit violence. The amount was set at one million rand, or roughly $113,000 USD.

Nair's decision came at the end of a four-day bail hearing that included the prosecution removing their main investigator after it was revealed that he was under investigation for murder in another case. The magistrate acknowledged that the detective, warrant officer Hilton Botha, had made several mistakes in gathering evidence, but that the prosecution's case itself had not been tarnished as a result.

During the magistrate's explanation of his decision, several people on Twitter expressed frustration at the amount of time he was taking before announcing bail, but his thorough analysis offered a detailed look into the reasoning for his final decision. Nair said that he had difficulties with several of the elements presented by Pistorius' defense, but that the prosecution did not establish Pistorius as a flight risk or prone to violence.

As conditions of his bail, Pistorius must turn in his passport and guns. He must not return to his home, or take any alcohol or drugs. He also must not travel out of the country or talk to any potential witnesses.

Pistorius' next appearance in court is scheduled for June 4. No date is set for the start of the trial.

For more on the bail hearing and decision, read "Magistrate Grants Bail" in The New York Times. For a detailed account of detective Hilton Botha's testimony being called into question, read Deadspin's "A Strong Day for Oscar Pistorius's Defense...." For Pistorius' version of what happened the night of the murder, check out the "Graphic: In His Own Words..." from the National Post.

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