Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
We’ve not seen much technical information on Ueli Steck’s fatal fall on Nuptse, but news articles have of course popped up here and there. This one at Rock and Ice is informative as to Ueli’s place in modern mountaineering.
A while back, we sent a nomination seconding letter to the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, regarding Chris Davenport being inducted. “Dav” needs no introduction to readers here — he’s one of the best known and accomplished skiers around, and is already in the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame. So getting him into the Colorado hall is a no brainer. Good to see he got voted in. Congratulations Chris!
After spending most of my life in a couple of mountain towns, one of my peeves has always been how housing gets to be such a problem for folks without vast financial resources. “Affordable” housing, if you will. Over a half century, I’ve witnessed both Crested Butte and Aspen, Colorado transmogrify from funky mining towns with lots of hip options for rustic living, to gentrified enclaves with “normal” housing as rare as hen’s teeth.
To be fair, regional affordable housing programs probably saved Aspen from itself (by preserving a population of “normal” people). But the lack of housing continues to be a problem — this not only for our resort town cores, but for their greater regions.
The different approaches to “solving” the housing challenge get me chuckling. Here in the central Colorado resort region, more taxes seem to be the common proposal. I’m not comfortable with that. Our high prices for everything are one of the things that drive housing rental and purchase prices up in the first place. Yet more taxes?
I like California’s recent approach: strip away regulatory barriers and let the people step up. More about that here.
What is more, the “tiny house” movement is in full swing these days, but many county and city governments have strict minimum size regulations that block the use of “tiny” dwelling spaces (due to nimbyism, mobile home hate, concerns about reduced tax base, etc.). I was thus amazed when our own county government here in Colorado voted to strip their minimum size requirement. My prediction, allowing small dwelling spaces is in a word, huge. We be watching.
Since we’re on the subject of money, I was amused reading news from Austria about their ski passes getting so incredibly expensive. Average prices of around 50 euros a day are deemed to be perhaps egregious? That sounds pretty affordable to me — walkup window price at Aspen is well upwards of $100. Honestly, analyzing ski lift prices based on one-day tickets is rather pointless. Most resorts offer all sorts of discounted ticket packages that, while perhaps still expensive, do change the picture. In the end, we wonder why anyone would pay it all, when they can simply go ski touring?
Time to start looking back at the winter’s avalanche stats: Colorado is good, let’s keep it that way as we enjoy our extended winter. And everyone else playing in the springtime accumulations of this winter’s big snow, be safe. Watch your timing. Pay attention to warming trends. Be willing to get the heck out of a situation if things are going “loose” sooner than you expected.
A bit of levity to close it up. The Alps are about 700 miles long, with thousands of summits. That’s not enough. See below.