By Allen Best
Cougar misses biker
WHISTLER, B.C. – A mountain biker training for the Test of Metal race was riding up a trail near Squamish, west of Whistler, when he saw something brown pounce off a mossy knoll behind him.
“The next thing I know, I’m crashing off the trail,” explained Dean Linnell. “I think it missed me and got the back of my bike.”
It was a mountain lion, also called a cougar, and obviously, not of the older woman eyeing younger men type. Linnell did what all wildlife experts say people should do if confronted by a cougar: he got aggressive, picking up his bike. But the cougar, only a few feet away, didn’t retreat very far.
Soon, his riding buddies had caught up to him. They threw rocks, one almost nailed the lion in the head. The cat didn’t flee. It just casually left.
“The main thing is to make sure in that situation you don’t run away or show the cougar your back,” said Linnell. He told Pique Newsmagazine that he believes the cat was 8 feet long, from nose to tail’s end.
Study: pair butts, bikes, & beds
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Bicycling seems to be on the rise, and several Colorado mountain towns are seeing a particularly big bounce in visitors this summer resulting from two big tours, the annual Ride the Rockies mass pedalthon sponsored by The Denver Post and then the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August.
In Steamboat Springs, an effort called Biketown USA Initiative has been plotting how to make bicycling a bigger part of the summer menu. In doing so, it has looked at Whistler, which installed an innovative mountain bike park some years ago. A 2008 study found visitors at Whistler drawn by the mountain biking spend an average $133 a day.
In Steamboat, a typical summer visitor spends $73 per day.
Festival a sign of good old days
ASPEN, Colo. – While doubts remain about the strength of the recovering economy, note that the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen this summer has had to turn away significant numbers of people willing to pay top dollar to taste wines and hear from top chefs talking about their craft. Few rooms were available last weekend, reports The Aspen Times.
“People are in disbelief, so I hope they realize that they can’t wait until the last minute next year, as this could be signaling a slow return to the old days,” said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass. It was, he said, the first time since 2008 that guests were turned away.
No circus atmosphere
KETCHUM, Idaho – The big top was scheduled to arrive in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area last week, and one local resident contacted the Idaho Mountain News to urge a boycott because of the abuse of elephants and other circus animals.
A representative of the circus, Carson and Barnes, denied any abuse. “There are bad people out there, but it doesn’t mean everyone is bad,” said David Rawls.
The newspaper also talked with Ted Friend, who leads an animal well-being program at Texas A&M University. He and several students traveled with Carson and Barnes and four other circuses over the course of two years.
“There was nothing different than what we would do with horses or show dogs. It would be illogical to condemn circuses if you didn’t also condemn kennels and horseback riding with trailers,” Friend said.
Pitkin asks DEA for cooperation
ASPEN, Colo. – The story about the cocaine drug bust in Aspen gets ever more interesting, with new evidence that the local sheriff attended a birthday party for one of the accused drug traffickers several weeks before the arrests.
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials have alleged that Aspen was the end-stop for a cocaine ring that operated out of Los Angeles and had connections to Mexican drug cartels. They claim that more than 200 kilograms were transported from LA to Aspen over the past 15 years. In May, they arrested six people from Aspen and Snowmass Village – but pointedly did not let the local cops know their intentions.
Why didn’t the feds let the locals know of their plans? Because, according to the DEA team, both current Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo and his predecessor, Bob Braudis, were pals with at least some of the defendants.
Both DiSalvo and Braudis acknowledge knowing several of the defendants, but say that in a smaller community, that’s not unusual. And they deny close relationships.
Federal drug agents and local accomplices from nearby towns disagree. They point to a 65th birthday party in April for one of the defendants, who had been arrested previously elsewhere in Colorado on a cocaine charge.
Both DiSalvo and Braudis attended the party, held at the Hyatt Grand Aspen, but only briefly, 15 minutes in the case of DiSalvo. “I saw Wayne and we shook hands,” he told Rick Carroll of The Aspen Times. “I knew he was going away for a long time, and we shook hands and I left.” Braudis said much the same thing.
Pitkin County commissioners unanimously have asked the DEA to cooperate with local law-enforcement agencies when conducting operations within Pitkin County.
Whistler requires solar readiness
WHISTLER, B.C. – Whistler and 35 other town and cities in British Columbia have agreed to require all new single-family homes built within their boundaries be “solar hot-water ready.”
Pique Newsmagazine notes that solar hot water collectors will not be required. The added installation could cost $6,000 to $8,000, according to one local building contractor.