EDF, Masdar secure financing to build Saudi Arabia’s first wind farm FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is poised to start generating wind power within three years as part of an effort to harness renewable energy to cut local demand for fossil fuels.The renewable energy units of Electricite de France SA and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. completed arrangements with Saudi and international banks to finance the project, according to a statement from Masdar, as the Abu Dhabi business is known. Masdar didn’t identify the lenders.EDF Renewables and Masdar won a contract in January to build the 400-megawatt Dumat Al Jandal facility, which is to begin producing electricity in the first quarter of 2022. The project will be the biggest wind-power plant in the Middle East when it begins producing, Masdar said.Saudi Arabia is seeking to develop new industries to wean its economy off oil. Its sovereign wealth fund plans to invest in renewable energy facilities and factories to make components for solar and wind farms. The country wants to use more natural gas and renewable energy to free up roughly 600,000 barrels of crude that it currently burns each day to generate power.The wind plant is to be built at Dumat Al Jandal city in northwestern Saudi Arabia, a region where state-owned Saudi Aramco installed a single wind turbine in January 2017.The energy ministry has pre-qualified 60 companies to bid for 12 renewables projects it plans to tender this year, starting this month, with a goal of adding 3,000 megawatts of capacity.More: Oil giant Saudi Arabia set to build first wind-power plant
Leading investor group pushes major emitters to back net zero emissions goal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:A group representing investors that collectively manage more than US$47 [trillion] in assets has demanded the world’s biggest corporate polluters back strategies to reach net-zero emissions and promised to hold them to public account.Climate Action 100+, an initiative supported by 518 institutional investor organisations across the globe, has written to 161 fossil fuel, mining, transport and other big-emitting companies to set 30 climate measures and targets against which they will be analysed in a report to be released early next year.It is the latest step in a campaign by climate-concerned shareholders to force business leaders to explain how their targets and strategies will help reach the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.The targeted companies are responsible for up to 80% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. They include mining giant BHP, which last week promised to reduce emissions from its operations by 30% over the next decade on a path to net zero by 2050 after sustained pressure from activist shareholder groups. Others on the list include Exxon Mobil, PetroChina, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, BlueScope Steel and major Australian energy companies AGL, Santos, Woodside and Origin.In a statement on Monday, the Climate Action steering committee lists “indicators” on which the businesses will be measured, including whether they have strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner and reduce the “scope 3” emissions released by customers using the companies’ products. It says some companies have made significant progress, but stresses the need for stronger action on emissions to help limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and prevent “the devastating impacts of otherwise avoidable climate crisis”.Companies involved include QBE, Suncorp, Insurance Australia Group, National Australia Bank, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, HSBC Australia and Munich Re. The scientific guidelines were developed by scientists from the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and leading universities.[Adam Morton]More: Investors that manage US$47tn demand world’s biggest polluters back plan for net-zero emissions
Yes, it’s sexy to run through town in your underwear. It’s also good for the kids. This Valentine’s weekend, hundreds of people in Washington D.C. will strip to their underwear…and run down Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s the Cupid’s Undie Run, a Beltway tradition since 2010. Even though the sexy run looks like a college prank, or maybe a bizarre protest rally, it’s actually a highly successful fundraising event that’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Okay, it’s also an outlandish party with a pre- and post-race bash where participants strip, drink, run, then drink some more, but mostly, it’s a charity run. And organizers may have finally discovered the secret to getting the masses involved in an important cause. Invite them to get PG-13 naked.“We put the first run on in such a short amount of time, we thought we’d get 50 runners,” says run founder Bobby Gill, a biomedical engineer and ultra-runner living in Maryland. “On race day, 650 people showed up. We raised $8,000 just through the registration fees. It was the greatest day of my life.”Last year, Gill and his fellow organizers tweaked the fundraising options (runners can now raise money outside of their registration fees), expanded the run to six cities, and raked in $300,000 on a single day for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, an organization that’s dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow along nerves.In 2013, Cupid’s Undie Run will expand to 13 cities, and Gill hopes to raise $1.5 million for research. It’s an astonishing success story that has been accomplished through one simple philosophy: less is more.“There are a lot of novelty runs out there, which shows people are looking for something different,” Gill says. “They’re tired of the same old 5K. They want something memorable. Running through your city in your underwear in the dead of winter is memorable. That’s something you talk about a year later.”College campuses across the country have hosted undie runs for years, mostly because college kids are looking for any reason to get together in their underwear. The cardio is just secondary. In Salt Lake City, runners ditch their clothes to help clothe the homeless in the annual Undie Run 5K. It drew 3,300 people this year. A totally respectable turnout that earned the Guinness World Record for “Largest Gathering of People Wearing Only Underpants/Knickers.”Bravo, but they ran in September. These Valentine’s weekend events add an extra layer of difficulty to the race. Not only do you have to contend with potential public humiliation (if you’re like us, you’re still carrying a lot of “holiday weight” in February), but you’ve got frostbite to deal with. And perhaps shrinkage. Last year in D.C., it was 37 degrees. It started to hail shortly after the run was over. One of the newest cities to host a Cupid’s Undie Run is Minneapolis, a city with an average high temperature of 29 degrees in February. Those people really want to get half naked and run.“We have requests from runners from all over the country asking us to bring a Cupid’s Undies Run to their city, but we have to make sure we’re not biting off more than we can chew,” Gill says.Southern exhibitionists/runners have three options in 2013. You can run the D.C. run, a 1.5-mile course down Pennsylvania Avenue that passes in front of the Capitol Building, or you can run through the Virginia Highlands in Atlanta, or Nashville, Tenn., one of the newest additions to the Undie family.Regardless of where you run, the real question is how will you dress. The Cupid Runs are relatively short (under two miles each), so chafing shouldn’t be a concern. As a general rule, sexy is good, but keep it PG-13. For dudes wearing boxers, apply safety pins to any openings. Ladies, keep the girls harnessed. And no thongs. Superhero undies are great, but capes are a copout, as they cover too much.“The first rule is to make sure your underwear is clean,” says Gill, who runs the course carrying a bullhorn and spends much of his time trying to keep people from taking photos on the steps of the Supreme Court. “After that, think about your accessories. You don’t have a lot of clothing to work with, so it’s hard to be creative. That’s where accessories come in handy.”DC Undie Run ’12, BY THE NUMBERS1.5 – miles37° – Fahrenheit$300,000 – raised for the Children’s Tumor Foundation13 – cities participating in the Cupid’s Undies Run in 2012, up six from last year$1.5 million – amount organizers hope to raise in 2013Do It!Three cities in our region are hosting official Cupid’s Undie Runs. The D.C. run sells out every year, so register early, or look to Atlanta or Nashville, which will have better opportunities for new runners. It’s not a race, there is no clock. Think of it more as a parade with light cardio. Register for any of the runs at cupidsundierun.com. If you can’t make one of the official runs, go to the site to donate money, then run 1.5 miles through your own town in your underwear.
Your outdoor news for March 20, 2013:Walking Off the WarA new program created by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is helping veterans heal through the power of nature. “Walk Off the War” will provide 13 military vets with fully funded scholarships to hike the Appalachian Trail and “reconnect with the United States in a uniquely physical and psychological way.” These soldiers will not have to thru-hike exactly, but basically just take in the nature the trail affords and hopefully return to society with a “greater opportunity for success in their personal and professional lives.” The A.T. has always beckoned those that are troubled; the distance, time, self-reliance, interaction with other hikers, and the trail town friendliness have a way of washing away what ails you. This is truly a great program that hopefully will be around for years to come to help our heros recover from the harsh realities of conflicts around the world.A full list of sponsors and participants can be found here.Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent RetiringPhil Francis is hanging up his wide-brimmed ranger hat and retiring. Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway since 2005 – only the sixth in the BRP’s history – Francis presided over the parkway’s first ever general management plan and was awarded the Department of the Interior’s Superior Service Award. Since joining the National Park Service in 1972 – DAMN! – he has worked all over the map including Yosemite, Shenandoah, Chattanooga, and GSMNP. He is a native of North Carolina, and will settle back in WNC in April. In these lean times, a NPS player with the experience of Francis will be missed.Fought the Law, and the Law WonFrom the “Is this really happening?” file comes a story about the Ogeechee River in Georgia. A judge has denied the shutdown of a known polluter of the river, saying the benefits of what the factory makes outweigh the negatives it causes to the environment. Humph. In May, 2011, the Ogeechee was the site of a fish kill that claimed 38,000 fish, all down river of the King America Finishing discharge pipe which was apparently dumping chemicals without a permit. The order states: “The legislature and the Director are both authorized by law to make these ‘guns or butter’ economic decisions, balancing the externalities of pollution – our innocent children will swim in an ocean we are allowing to contain some small quantity of formaldehyde and other pollutants — against the benefits of industry — the parents of these same innocent children have jobs and out workers including brave firefighters have fire retardant clothing.” The whole thing STINKS, and the comments section of the Savannah Now website tell most of the story.
If like me, you spend much time camping, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion that campers for the most part are pretty respectful and friendly people. Whether we’re tent, hammock or RV campers we all have one thing in common, we love the outdoors and enjoy the time we spend camping. So if everyone is so respectful, why is it some campgrounds have so many rules? The obvious of course, not everyone is so respectful. There are always those few bad apples which require a set of rules to ensure they don’t infringe on those around them. I’ve stayed in campgrounds which had a lot of rules and those that had very few and honestly, I’ll take the campground with a lot of rules any day. I remember years ago my wife, son and I pitched our tent in a privately run campground in Southwest Virginia. When we checked in we weren’t given a list of rules and none were posted that I could see. Our first (and last) night the campers next to us had a few visitors over, I counted 12 cars. Their music, hooting and hollering sounded throughout the park and the party didn’t simmer down until 3:00 AM. If they had been in one of the many beautiful Virginia State Parks, that wouldn’t have lasted 30 minutes before a Ranger would have broken it up. Now it’s not always so blatantly disrespectful and in fact, even some of the friendly, respectful campers don’t realize their actions are annoying and disrespecting those around them. So we can all get on the same page, here are 8 simple etiquette rules we should all follow to help make everyone’s camping experience a happy one. 1. Pets – (Specifically dogs)I’m a dog owner, dog lover and I know I’ve broken some rules when it comes to my pet. An occasional bark isn’t a problem; however the yapping dog that won’t stop is definitely an issue in a campground. I remember last year staying at Douthat State Park near Clifton Forge Virginia we had our newest addition to the family with us, a 5 month old Border Collie named Charlie. Now Charlie wanted to play with everyone who passed by our camp and let he them know by aggressively barking at them. By the end of the weekend everyone in the campground knew what to expect when they walked passed our camp. I imagine we were the topic of a few conversations. A few other rules to remember related to pets, (1) keep them on a leash at all times, (2) when they potty pick up after them, (3) if you are just going to keep them locked up all day while you are gone maybe you should consider leaving them home. 2. Children I love children, but I’ve raised mine already. Please continue to raise yours while in the campground and not allow them to have free reign. Not only can children be intrusive but it isn’t safe to allow children to run free and unattended. I’ve had little children come up to me in my camp and want to hang out. I’m pretty sure if someone asked them to get in a car to go get ice cream they would. Be smart and safe. 3. Privacy Consider each person’s camping area their own property and give them the same respect you would if it were their home. Don’t take shortcuts across their land, don’t hang out on their property or let your children do so. If you just want to be friendly and say hi, do so when they are outside and make it short and sweet. If they are enjoying your company they will invite you to stay. 4. Speeding It is very unsettling to see someone speeding though a campground. Please drive very slowly; remember there are children with free reign playing. 5. Smoking Oh My Gosh, this is my pet peeve. I wanted to write this article for this issue alone. I don’t care if you smoke; it’s up to you if you do so. However, I don’t want to walk into the bathroom or shower room and smell your cigarette smoke. I get it; you enjoy sitting on the toilet and smoking. Sounds like it could be relaxing but please save it for home. I also don’t want to walk through your cloud of smoke to get to any of the facilities. 6. Arriving after darkOne year we went to Sherando Lake family campground in the Jefferson National Forest near Waynesboro, Virginia. We didn’t arrive until after dark. You can be the most experienced camper in the world but setting up camp in pitch black is challenging for anyone. I remained respectful for a full 15 minutes before I decided I was tired and wanted to get into my tent. On came the truck lights shining directly into the camper’s tent across from me. They didn’t say anything but I got the message when they exited their tent cursing and throwing things around their camp. Of course I’ve been on the receiving end of those lights shining into my tent and it isn’t nice. Always do your best to arrive before sundown with plenty of time to setup camp.7. NoiseSound usually carries across campgrounds pretty well. So even when you’re not making a lot of noise it still may be heard by your neighbors. Keep this in mind when you have company and everyone is getting excited and talking at once. Another consideration is for generators in primitive campgrounds. Just because they are permitted doesn’t mean you have to use one all the time. I was camping at North Creek Campground in the Jefferson National forest about a mile from Buchanan, Virginia when I experienced a neighbor with a loud generator. We were enjoying the solitude that comes with primitive camping when all of a sudden we hear this loud generator start up next door. We looked over at our neighbors and they politely smiled and waved. I on the other hand was considering the possibility of cutting their gas line. The noise completely ruined the camping experience.8. VisitorsSome of our best times camping is when friends come over for a cookout and get together. While enjoying your company make sure you share the rules and ensure your visitors are being respectful to other campers. Most campgrounds have visiting hours, so make sure you adhere to those times. Camping should be fun and relaxing. For a lot of families camping is a time to teach children about the great outdoors and instill a since of adventure and respect for their environment. For many of us it was during our own childhood that we got hooked on camping and why we still camp today. Remember if you are being disrespectful to those around you it might not just be someone’s camping experience you are ruining, it may be someone’s first camping experience you are ruining. If you adhere to these eight simple rules you’ll increase the likelihood of having a good time as well as contribute to the overall, positive experience of those around you. Happy camping!
The future of your favorite trail, river, or open space is being decided right now, it’s time to protect your National Forest.The 1.1-milion acre Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina boasts the highest mountains in eastern North America, one of the most biodiverse temperate ecosystems on Earth, and is the source of many mighty rivers and the drinking water of millions of people.Every 20 years, the Forest Management Plan is revised. This is the most important time the public can participate with National Forests, because the Forest Plan dictates what can and can’t happen on Forest Service land for about two decades.Despite this fact, most of you have not been participating in plan revision process so far. I know, because there are hundreds of thousands of BRO readers out there and I’ve only seen about 20 of you at the eight meetings held so far.Much better represented at meetings have been hunters that want to see more logging to boost deer and grouse populations in the mountains. Vocal people speaking up for the importance of logging have been very well represented. Folks valuing natural areas, old-growth forests, ecosystem services, and backcountry recreation have not been participating in proportion to their actual numbers.The Nantahala-Pisgah plan revision will span at least three years – the process is more a marathon than a 5K. It’s important for folks to get involved early – to become familiar with the content and jargon of forest planning – and stay with the process to the finish to ensure a quality product.Concerned with the resilience of the forest? Concerned that the current recreation infrastructure may not be up for the growth of the next 20 years? Want a plan for adaptation to climate change? Want a loop evaluated on your favorite trail system, or boating access evaluated on your favorite stream? The Assessment Phase is the time for all of that, and it runs through October.It’s followed by a Planning Period in which specific plan alternatives will be crafted an evaluated, with many more opportunities to advocate for the values you love on the forest. Sometime in late 2015 or beyond, a specific Forest Plan will be chosen and then implemented for up to 20 years.When you participate in public meetings or provide written comments on the forest plan, there are a number of ways you can advocate for the health of the forest and for the recreational experiences you love. Some of the critical issues to address in this forest plan include:Ensuring that enough of the Forest Service’s resources are directed towards providing and maintaining the outdoor recreation infrastructure that is the heart of our region’s tourist economyMaking ecological restoration of the natural communities of the forest a priority in the planMaintaining and increasing riparian area buffers to ensure water quality and an enjoyable experience while swimming, wading and paddlingCreating protected corridors along longer distance trails like the Appalachian, Bartram, Art Loeb, Chunky Gal, and Mountains-To-Sea Trails to help provide migration corridors for wildlife and knit together protected areasMaking sure the plan considers and addresses present and future threats like non-native organisms and climate changeFind information on the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan Revision at wnca.org. Got a story to tell? Send submissions to [email protected]
Blue Ridge Outdoors is based in Carolina. Our sister publication, Elevation Outdoors, is headquartered near Denver. Not surprisingly, there’s been some chatter between the two offices over this weekend’s Super Bowl matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.The Broncos have won the Super Bowl before; John Elway led them to back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. Once again, they’re in the Super Bowl with an experienced, Super Bowl champion quarterback: this time it’s five-time MVP Peyton Manning. Everybody knows, him. Everybody loves him.Meanwhile, the Panthers are hoping to win their first-ever Super Bowl, led by electrifying young QB Cam Newton. Everybody is cheering for Peyton Manning, the sentimental favorite who is likely playing in the final game of his storied career. Meanwhile, everybody is criticizing Cam Newton for his endzone celebrations and playful, fun-loving antics.Peyton has a Super Bowl ring. He has the numbers, the stats, and the experience to solidify his place in the Hall of Fame. Cam is the underdog, the emerging star fighting for respect.But there’s something else going on here, too. Cam Newton himself hinted at it when asked about the lopsided criticism: “I’m an African-American quarterback. That may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.”I’ll go ahead and say it out loud: People don’t like Cam as much because he’s black.Though only one black quarterback (Warren Moon) has been elected to the Hall of Fame in 50 years, Cam Newton might be the next. And we’re excited about that possibility. Here in the Carolinas, we have a helluva a lot more diversity than the Front Range of Colorado. And we’re pretty damn proud of that.Mainstream fans may prefer the proven winner, the traditional, stay-in-the-pocket QB Peyton Manning —not the young upstart, the unpredictable scrambler who can run and throw. For a lot of reasons, Cam is dangerous.And like it or not, right now Cam Newton is a better quarterback than Peyton Manning. While he doesn’t yet have the experience or the numbers, he already has far superior skills. Cam is a more multi-dimensional, dual-threat QB than Peyton ever was. A decade ago, Peyton may have been as good as Cam, but in 2016, Cam kicked Peyton’s ass. The stats back it up: Newton threw for over 3800 yards and ran for 600 yards (and became the first NFL player in history to throw 30 touchdowns and run for 10 in the same season). Manning had the worst statistical year of his career, throwing for only 2200 yards and nearly leading the league in interceptions.That might be hard for folks in Colorado to swallow. They worship their QBs like gods (Exhibit A: Elevation Outdoors Magazine, which does not even cover football, has had a special department called “Elwayville” in its pages since it first rolled off the presses 7 years ago.)We here in the Carolinas like our quarterbacks, too—even when they celebrate with dances instead of pump-fists. We also like our quarterbacks playing the game straight-up, without performance-enhancing drugs. Listen, I want to cheer for Peyton. I, too, am an aging athlete in the twilight of my career. I can certainly relate to his story line. But the Peyton story soured for me last month when the human-growth-hormone scandal broke. Though one source has recanted, other sources stand by their statements, and the NFL is continuing its investigation. Meanwhile, Peyton has tip-toed around the accusations with even more acrobatics than a Cam Newton dab dance. Though he calls the accusations “complete garbage,” Peyton is unclear about his wife Ashley Manning’s involvement. He has not denied that his wife has been receiving shipments of performance-enhancing drugs. His reply: “That’s her business.” Ashley Manning has been completely silent.More people are bitching about Cam Newton’s touchdown celebrations than Peyton Manning possibly cheating his way to the Super Bowl. If Cam Newton had been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, it would be dominating the headlines this week. But Peyton Manning has hired Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s press secretary who masterminded the propaganda campaign that led us into the war in Iraq, to manage the doping crisis public relations. Among Fleisher’s previous clients is steroid slugger Mark McGwire, who denied PED allegations for years before finally confessing. If you think that Peyton Manning isn’t using his wife’s PEDs, then join my colleagues at Elevation Outdoors in cheering for him.But if you want to root for a guy who earned his way to the Super Bowl fair-and-square—and, yes, with a bit of flair—join Blue Ridge Outdoors in pulling for Cam and the Panthers this Sunday.[divider]about the author[/divider]Will Harlan is editor in chief of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and an award-winning journalist. He has written for National Geographic Adventure and appeared inSports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Gatlinburg, TennesseeYou don’t need a vacation to the Alps to get the mountain tram experience. Ober Gatlinburg’s 2.1-mile cable car is one of just a couple dozen tramways in the country. The tram starts in the quaint yet vibrant downtown sector and rises above the treelines, allowing guests to witness first-hand the sheer scale of the Great Smoky Mountains. While some of the bigger resorts out west have long hauled their guests up the mountain via tramway, Ober’s cable car is the only one of its kind in the Southeast. Looking for resort fun this winter? Check out these top downhill destinations in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.Best Place to Ski Back in TimeLaurel Mountain Ski ResortLigonier, PennsylvaniaSituated in Laurel Mountain State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, this one-lift wonder was just opened last year for the first time since 2004. Everything about the resort pays homage to the ski area’s storied past. Enlarged vintage photos from the early 1940s hang in the one-room lodge. The Midway Cabin, an original structure, still stands along the ski runs. Though Laurel Mountain was at one time an exclusive resort for wealthy Pennsylvania families, it has been available for public use since 1964. Come for the cozy feel, the grand mountain setting, and the steep skiing found on Upper and Lower Wildcat. This combined run drops nearly 1,000 feet of vertical pitch, making it the steepest run in the state.Most Comprehensive Adaptive Sports ProgramWintergreen ResortWintergreen, Virginia When Wintergreen ski instructor Michael Zuckerman agreed to give above-the-knee amputee Vince Fiore a lesson in 1984, little did he know that he would pave the way for more than four decades of on-site, specialized instruction tailored to guests with disabilities. Wintergreen Adaptive Sports (WAS) is currently in its 21st year of operation as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit and is housed in its very own facility at Wintergreen. The highly trained and dedicated staff work with students suffering from a wide variety of ailments, both physical and mental, such as multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, hearing/visual impairment, and traumatic brain injury. Each winter, WAS and Wintergreen Resort host a Wounded Warrior Weekend in honor of our country’s wounded veterans and their families. Outside of the snow season, WAS also offers warm-weather adaptive activities like whitewater kayaking and canoeing.Best Place to Ski the TreesSnowshoe MountainSnowshoe, West VirginiaSnowshoe Mountain receives an average of 180 inches of fresh pow a year, and at 4,848 feet, backcountry skiers will feel right at home in the spruce-cloaked forests that dominate the resort’s runs. Silver Creek is the most popular spot for skiing the trees with ample moderate terrain and natural features that rival those found in the area’s Mountaineer parks. While the groomed runs might be sparse in freshies, even after a good dump, the tree stashes are often knee-deep throughout, a rare treat in the Southeast.Best Place to Drop KneesTimberline Four Seasons ResortCanaan Valley, West VirginiaTimberline didn’t set out to be a Mid-Atlantic hotbed for telemark skiers when it opened back in 1982, but that’s just what it’s become. The vast majority of its ski school staff and patrollers have been skiing tele since the very beginning, which made Timberline the obvious choice for hosting the annual West Virginia Telemark Festival. The resort even has its own telemark department, with a Facebook page run by the “Nords of Timberline.” The resort, much like its eclectic free-heelin’ patrons, is a destination unto its own. There are no faux Alps-styled houses here, no in-lodge Starbucks or overrun shopping villages. What the resort does have is affordable lift tickets (especially if you’re a local), 1,000 vertical feet, a detailed backcountry trail system that links Timberline with neighboring Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge and Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, and a slopeside pub. It’s a tele skier’s paradise.Most Epic Snow Tube ParkCanaan Valley Resort State ParkCanaan Valley, West VirginiaDon’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Flying down a snow-covered hill in an inflatable tube will bring out the kid in anyone, especially if that hill comes in at a whopping 1,200 feet long. Canaan Valley’s snow tube park is one of the resort’s newer additions and ranks as the longest snow tube in the Mid-Atlantic. There’s a magic carpet that effortlessly hauls you back to the top of the hill, and an outdoor fire ring outside the warming hut should the elements start to take their toll. It’s everything we love about skiing the mountain, but with minimum coordination required.Most Like a European ResortOber Gatlinburg Ski Area Best Resort for Beer LoversBeech Mountain ResortBeech Mountain, North CarolinaWestern North Carolina’s craft beer scene has exploded in the past five years with Asheville in the limelight, but about 100 miles northeast of that southern metropolis, Beech Mountain Resort is quickly making a name for itself as one of only a few resorts brewing its own beer on-site. Beech Mountain Brewing Company started in 2014 with enough capacity to brew 100 gallons per day. This season, the brewery is doubling that capacity and revamping its slopeside taproom to include a viewing area where customers can watch the brewing action. The brewery’s flagship beers include the Beech Blonde Ale, 5506’ Pale Ale, Patroller Porter, and Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Grab a beer after a long day on the mountain or make a midday pit stop at Skybar 5506’. For now, the resort is the only location where you can indulge in Beech Mountain’s beer, but the beverages should be making their way off the mountain in the years to come.Most Student Friendly ResortAppalachian Ski MountainBlowing Rock, North CarolinaJust five miles from downtown Boone, N.C., and Appalachian State University, Appalachian Ski Mountain can feel a little bit like a frat-boy party come spring break, but it’s that youthful atmosphere, social media savviness, and smokin’ good deals that make this resort such a success with the younger crowd. App Ski Mountain offers $10 Sunday night lift tickets the first Sunday of every month, starting in December, and $20 night sessions for students Sunday thru Thursday (tip: buy online for an extra hour of slope time). If there’s a snow day and you’re a student or teacher at any school system in North Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia, head to the mountain and pay only $10 for an eight-hour ticket. All you need is a report card, school ID, or paystub to prove your school affiliation. Best Resort for Post-Work LapsWolf Ridge Ski ResortMars Hill, North CarolinaWhen townies from Asheville or Johnson City are jonesin’ for a weekday winter escape, they need only drive 45 minutes to Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, the little ski area that could. Its central location off I-26 is a low-key haven for western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. When the snow falls, the runs here are some of the South’s steepest and finest. If you “dare to ski the Wolf,” lap The Bowl till your legs burn.Best Resort for the KiddosCataloochee Ski AreaMaggie Valley, North CarolinaEven though nearly a quarter of Cataloochee’s terrain is considered expert level, this resort knows how to get ski newbs schooled up and on the slopes in no time. Each January, Cataloochee offers a $59 beginner’s deal, Monday through Friday, which covers the cost of a lesson, lift ticket, and rental. For parents with young children, the resort sweetens the pot even more with kid-specific full-day ($125) and half-day ($95) programs as well as four-week afterschool sessions ($125 for four 180-minute lessons). Once the kids are older, they can take part in the resort’s active middle and high school racing program, which hosts races every week.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]NEWS ON THE SLOPESResort updates and developments for the 2017-2018 snow season.Fourth And Fifth Graders Ski For Free At Pennsylvania ResortsFor the 14th year in a row, any and all fourth and fifth grade students can ski or ride for free through the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA) Snowpass program. The program costs $40 upfront but then allows students in these two grade levels to ski or snowboard for free throughout the season and at any one of PSAA’s 19 resorts when accompanied by a paying adult. Kids can visit each resort a maximum of three times and their pass include lifts, lessons, and rentals.For more information, visit www.skipa.com.Seven Springs Revamps North ParkWith the addition of a 900-foot string of nine snowmaking towers, Seven Springs’ North Park is bigger and better than ever. The area has been undergoing renovations all summer and is now a boardercross-style freestyle area complete with small to medium features and banked turns.Massanutten Puts In A PipelineThe 6,000-acre resort just expanded its water storage by 50 percent, thanks to the construction of a two-mile-long water pipeline. The project has taken nearly a year to complete, but with the additional updates to its snowmaking equipment, the resort is ready for winter.Bryce Resort Gears Up For WinterfestHeld each year on the second Saturday of March, Winterfest is a slam packed weekend full of pancakes, costumes, pond skimming, a polar plunge, and even an ice bar.Beech Mountain Resort To Celebrate 50th AnniversaryBeech Mountain Resort is full of superlatives—it’s the highest resort, located in the highest town, with the highest ski bar in the Eastern United States. This winter, they’ll celebrate 50 years of all of that January 20-28, 2018. Season-long promotions include $9 Ladies Night every Tuesday and $9 Men’s Night on Wednesdays. Couples ski for $24 total on Thursday nights.Lees-McRae College To Offer Ski Patrol Course Through Beech MountainLees-McRae College’s Outdoor Recreation Management program and Beech Mountain Marketing Director and Lees-McRae alumna, Talia Freeman, are partnering to offer a 3-credit-hour National Ski Patrol Certification Preparation course as well as a Ski and Snowboard PSIA-AASI Instructor Certification Preparation course this spring.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]THE SKI PATROL DIRECTORGil AdamsBeech Mountain Resort, N.C.What was your first memory of skiing at Beech?My parents came up to Hound Ears, which had a ski resort at the time, and they learned about a development planned nearby for Beech Mountain that would be centered around a ski resort. My parents purchased a lot on Beech Mountain and became charter members to the Carolina Caribbean Club (or CCC, the then-owners of Beech), which included complimentary skiing for the first season. That was the winter of 1967-68.How would you describe Beech during the ‘70s?Beech Mountain at the time was a brand new resort. There was a monorail that circled through the parking lots and came up into the village. The lifts were originally a two-person gondola. It was magical, absolutely incredible, especially as I was just a young teenager at the time.Word on the street is your job responsibilities at Beech have even included delivering babies?That baby delivered itself! Back in the early ‘70s, the administration building now was a 7-Eleven. We were getting ready to close down for the night and someone called me from the market and said there was a woman in labor. Her family had run over a rock with their car and popped a hole in their radiator and they were stuck. I commandeered a sales vehicle and put the expecting woman in the car, slammed the car in reverse, and then heard the girl say, “It’s coming, it’s coming!” I jumped out and sure enough that baby delivered itself. There were no complications.You’ve been at Beech for 47 years now, almost since the resort’s beginning. What’s kept you on the mountain for so long?When I first started ski patrol, I was young and people were always wanting to go to the Rockies to ski patrol. I’ve been there so many times, and it is great skiing, but where we are in North Carolina, it’s just such a beautiful place to be all year long and to me, the ski conditions at Beech Mountain can be as good as anywhere. Every single day I have a view and every single day it’s different. It’s a beautiful place to live, period.THE MOUNTAIN’S BREWMASTERSean McCoyBeech Mountain Resort, N.C.Brewing beer for a living seems pretty dreamy. How’d you land that sweet job?I went to Lees-McRae College and got a bachelor’s in communications arts. I didn’t even like beer until I graduated from college and someone gave me a craft beer. A friend of mine, Billy Smith, was the original head brewer at Beech. He piqued my interest as to how craft beer is made versus regular beer. I started with one-gallon stove top brews, then got a little bit better and started growing, doing three- and five-gallon batches. We’d bounce ideas and techniques off each other, and when he moved to Morehead City, N.C., to open up a brewery down there, I took over.What’s your favorite type of beer?I personally like hoppy beers, so I tend to experiment with a lot of IPAs and pale ales.Have you ever had a brewing experiment go horribly wrong?When I was still home brewing, I had always wanted to incorporate lavender into a beer. I really enjoy that aroma, but I definitely made a perfume bomb. When people say ‘less is more,’ when it comes to using lavender, they definitely mean it. I thought it would transfer well but it was very reminiscent of old lady perfume and needless to say, I haven’t tried that again.When you’re not brewin’ up a new batch of Beech beers, are you skiing or riding?I prefer to board. I tried skiing once as a kid. It was horrible. If you’ve ever seen bloopers on what not to do skiing, yeah that was me. I’m extremely uncoordinated and for whatever reason snowboarding was much easier for me.THE HONORARY LOCALGreg “El Redman” RedelmanCanaan Valley Resort State Park, W.Va.You’ve visited the Valley nearly every weekend of every winter since 1986—what was the experience that got you so hooked?I learned to surf in Hawaii when my family lived there. I was in seventh grade and I wanted to have a remote control car, that was my hobby, but as soon as I saw the ocean, I was hooked on surfing. But then we moved back here and settled in Fairfax. My PE class offered skiing, and that was kinda cool, but I yearned to be on a surfboard. It wasn’t until ’85 when I went to Canaan to go skiing that I saw a lone boarder at Timberline. I rented a board from Fairfax Surf Shop the next year and stayed at a rental at Timberline during a snowstorm. The deep snow kept me from getting hurt and by the end of the first day I was doing White Lightning top to bottom.What’s changed in the Valley since you first started riding here?Well, it used to be 169 miles from my house and it took 3.5 hours. Now it’s 154 miles door to door and the week before last, it took me 2.5 hours. The route now is straight and safe and there are no 10% hairpin turns.Your surfer style of riding has inspired many local Valley kids to pick up snowboarding. So what’s your signature move?Frontside 360 on the wall. There’s a specific spot at Canaan that’s perfect for it and I do it every single run.What’s been your hairiest accident on the slopes?Early on, I was at the bottom of White Lightning (at Timberline) and I hit a patch that sent me sailing into the woods. The board I had was super old and stiff. I slid feet-first in between two trees and my left foot busted through the board but my right foot didn’t. My board didn’t snap and it pushed my femur back into its socket. I spent a month in the hospital in traction.Any memorable shenanigans?Canaan had a pond near where the beginner area is, and it’s a really steep nose section that comes off of there. [Brian] Sarfino and I rode that line and screamed across the frozen pond. Next thing you know, it’s like the small town cop that has someone race by him—donut flies and coffee spills in his lap as he starts chasing down the speedracer. Management flew out of the office and dragged us into the lodge. They gave us the third degree and almost kicked us out. It was kinda funny.THE JACK-OF-ALL-TRADESJohn LutzCanaan Valley Resort State Park and Timberline Four Seasons Resort, W.Va.When did your love affair with winter begin?I was born and raised in Parkersburg, W.Va., and it didn’t snow all that much in Parkersburg but I just loved snow and I loved winter. I skipped school in grade school whenever it snowed. I would go to great lengths to be outside in the winter. The snowier and colder, the better. And even though I loved winter that much, I didn’t ski until I went to Georgetown University for pre-med in 1964.Pre-med? So were you a doctor during the day, ski bum by night?Oh, no, I didn’t pursue pre-med at all. It was obvious I wasn’t going to be a doctor. All I wanted to do was be in the ski industry. I ended up with a degree in economics.You were with Canaan Valley Resort State Park and Timberline Four Seasons Resort from their first years until 2015—what were some of the roles you filled over all of those years?I’ve done everything: snowmaking, instructor, ski school director, race director, certified instructor, level 2 race coach, risk awareness and safety director, director of program events, ski area manager. There’s not a whole lot that I haven’t done in the ski business. I still work at both Canaan and Timberline on a consulting basis.What is special about West Virginia’s ski scene?There is quality skiing in this state and my main goal in life, other than my family, was to make skiing in West Virginia better. Because it’s West Virginia, it’s a unique state in and of itself, but mostly the people make the place. They’re friendly and ready to have a good time and work hard. In the ‘70s it was just a small core of us locals but the energy was tremendous. There wasn’t a whole lot else going on in the area compared to what is available today, but hell we just got by with what we had because we believed in West Virginia skiing and we worked hard to make it as good as it could be.What was skiing at Canaan like back in the early days?Canaan would get really packed. We were doing up to 3,000 skiers a day, which, for a little ski area, that was really busy. There were times it looked like a refugee camp there were so many people there. I remember seeing the overflow from the cafeteria, and there were three people sitting under the payphone having lunch. From then on we always called that a three-top. Some winters, particularly ‘76/’77 and ‘77/’78 , it snowed so much you could barely get around anywhere. People were skiing about any place you could get a pair of skis through.If you had one last day of snow to ski, where would you go?Either White Lightning at Timberline or a pipeline right-of-way with fresh snow on it.THE SKI BUM PARAMEDICTom KotarskyTimberline Four Seasons Resort, W.Va.Most people come to Tucker County for the skiing, but you didn’t. How did you end up as Timberline’s Ski Patrol Director?I started racing mountain bikes and working in the bicycle industry in the late ‘80s. I moved to Davis from Morgantown in 1992 and started working for Matt and Gary at Blackwater Bikes. They were ski patrolling at Canaan Valley in the winter, so in ‘92/’92 I got my ski patrol certification and worked there until I moved to Timberline in ’96. I’m a paramedic for Randolph County, and I think I’m Ski Patrol Director at Timberline basically because I’ve just been there too long.As patrol director, what’s your biggest pet peeve?People running off with our signage. It happens all the time. Stop taking our signs people! I swear when I bought my house there was one of our little plastic discs in there. I was at the Honda motorcycle shop not long ago and, I think it was the owner, but this guy had one of our signs on the front of his license plate that said “not groomed.”What is your on-mountain philosophy?Skiing is an expression of freedom and I don’t think patrol should be pigeonholing people into you can only do this or that. Why? As long as they’re not running into other people, go out and hurt yourself all you want. I’ll pick you up. Just don’t hurt anyone else.What’s the most memorable winter you’ve had?Winter of ’96, Fat Monday. We got 50 inches of snow on a Monday and Canaan shut down. Timberline opened late and everybody was there. I got on the first lift with Chip Chase and, well, you imagine what that was like. The snow was so deep you had to basically track your way to a steep part, then once you got to the steeps you could go down, but it was difficult to even move around in that stuff. I’ll never forget skiing down through the glades and passing deer. They could barely move too, and we would come down through the woods and ski right by them.THE GUEST-TURNED-GMChris PlummerLaurel Mountain, Penn.Do you remember your first time skiing at Laurel Mountain?It was the late ‘80s. I had just started skiing and snowboarding. My family would always go to Seven Springs and Hidden Valley, but one day we ventured over here [to Laurel Mountain] on a whim. I was overwhelmed at the terrain. I was young, maybe 15 or 16, and a decent skier, but it was unlike anything I’d seen in Pennsylvania before.How is Laurel Mountain different from Pennsylvania’s other resorts?The length of the runs and the continuous flow, especially on Upper and Lower Wildcat with almost 1,000 feet of vertical pitch, is something you find in the Adirondaks. In our mountains here in the Mid-Atlantic, we’ll usually have some good steep pitch but then some slower, flatter plateaus. I think that and the atmosphere and history that surrounds it is what makes it completely unique. You’re not getting off an exit on a four-lane highway and passing 1,400 condos on your way to this resort. It’s easy to get to but you’re going up a two-lane road into a state park and the first thing you see isn’t a Starbucks; it’s the big mountain view looking west toward Pittsburgh. It’s a place that really brings you back to the roots of New England skiing and that’s hard to find anywhere in this country I’d say.How did that 15-year-old starry-eyed teenager end up as Laurel Mountain’s General Manager?I lived in Lake Tahoe for 10 years but came back to the area to work at another resort in the Laurel Highlands. I jumped into the industry day one out of college and had always wanted to come back to Seven Springs because it’s home. When this opportunity came up, I personally moved my family to Ligonier, Penn., and we live there now and fully embrace the entire atmosphere and everything that is Laurel Mountain.How is the Laurel Mountain today not unlike the Laurel Mountain of the 1940s?When we started plans for renovation last summer, we looked at the walls of the lodge and everything that went into the craftsmanship of that building and we decided we weren’t going to touch it. We were going to fix it, but not change the bones of that place. We paid 100% respect to the history. The buildings here tell the story. You can feel it. It hasn’t lost that nostalgia for the heart of skiing. There’s a very unbelievably strong community up here that has been a part of the Laurel Mountain culture from the beginning and that still keeps the story alive and detailed and logged.THE MOTHER OF TELETerry PetersonAdventuresports Institute, Garrett College, Md.What was your very first experience with a pair of telemark skis?I was in school at James Madison University, dating a guy that worked at White Grass Touring Center. For my kinesiology class, I had to study a particular move in a sport and take a quarter of the body and tell what every muscle was doing in that move. I decided to do a telemark turn, and I had never done a telemark turn in my life, so my boyfriend would jump up and down doing telemark turns on the living room floor.How did you learn to telemark ski?I come from a cross-country background, so it’s just what I do. There wasn’t anything called a telemark ski back then. They were just cross-country skis in 1983, and you went to the downhill area and fell until the bruises were so big you couldn’t take it anymore. We were in bowling shoes, little leather shoes. You had to be really creative with the gear. We were all just taking the little skinny skis we had, strapping on some old bindings, and cutting plastic cups to give our boots a little bit of support. There were all kinds of homemade high boots back then. Everybody just said, “Follow me. You’ll be a good skier once you stop falling.”Is telemark skiing a dying sport and if so, why continue teaching it?Telemark may have seen its heyday, but I don’t think it’s disappearing anytime soon. It’s grown into an industry of its own with its own magazine, its own equipment, where before it was just a turn that you could do so long as your heel wasn’t locked down. Alpine touring (AT) equipment has become so light and so popular, I think a big portion of that market would have gone to telemark had AT technology not improved so much. But telemark is still one of those things that’s hip, that’s cool. My students at Garrett aren’t going to get a position teaching telemark skiing necessarily, but the class really allows them to build their confidence. I’ve never had to cancel a telemark class due to low enrollment.Hardest part about learning tele?Understanding and being able to effectively use the back foot.
River lotteries for nine great white water rafting destinations close todayCalling all river rats! It might be freezing cold outside today but that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to start planning your summer adventures. In fact, today is the last day to enter lotteries for nine in-demand white water rafting rivers including the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Salmon River, Hells Canyon- Snake River, Selway River, Rogue River, Desolation Gray- Green River, Salt River, Dinosaur Green and Yampa River, and San Juan River. Permits allow a visitor to use floating watercraft to navigate the river. To enter the permit lottery for any of the rivers listed above, click here.Runners complete 135-mile ultramarathon during polar vortexThe arrowhead 135 ultramarathon is purposely held in January or February to line up with the coldest temperatures of the year. But no one was expecting what the racers faced this year, temperatures of -30 degrees F. The race course runs from International Falls, Minnesota to Lake Vermillion on the Arrowhead State Trail. One hundred forty six racers toed the line this year in four disciplines: running, cycling, skiing, and kick-sledding. With seven hours left, only 39 bikers and nine runners had finished the race. Four more runners were still out on the course, 43 hours after the start of the race. Those runners ultimately completed the race, the last one coming in after 56 hours and 58 minutes of running. Jovica Spajic of Serbia and Scott Hoberg of Minnesota crossed the line together and snagged the men’s fastest times, clocking in at 36 hours and nine minutes. The fastest women’s time came from Faye Norby of Minnesota who finished the race in 48 hours, 34 minutes.Study shows 11 of Georgia’s 12 coal-powered plants are leaking chemicals into the groundwaterA study released in mid-December by conservation groups that looked at information on Georgia’s 12 coal-powered plants found that 11 of the 12 plants are leaking chemicals into the groundwater. Coal ash contains toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead, which are known to cause cancer and heart disease. Environmentalists hope the study will encourage lawmakers to strengthen Georgia’s coal ash regulations by requiring utilities to remove waste from leaking, unlined coal ash ponds. According to the study, Georgia Power, the state’s largest energy provider, owns 10 of the 11 leaking plants. Georgia Power officials said that tests over the past several years show that any leaking chemicals have not had an impact on the state’s groundwater.
By Dialogo March 23, 2011 The Colombian Army has killed the man “closest to and most trusted by” the FARC’s highest-ranking leader, Alfonso Cano, along with two other guerrillas, in fighting in the locality of Aipe (270 km south of Bogotá), the government affirmed on 21 March. “We can confirm the death of alias Jerónimo Galeano, the guerrilla closest to and most trusted by Cano, and we’re advancing, getting closer to Cano; we’re closing the siege around him, and he’ll be the next to be captured or killed,” Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera told reporters. Galeano – whose original name was Arquímedes Muñoz – was one of the “high-value objectives” for government troops, and his death “means that the FARC loses one of its strategic members,” the minister said at a press conference in Bogotá. “He was not only a member of the FARC General Staff – which comes next after the Secretariat (the FARC central command) in the hierarchy – but also the head of one of the guerrilla group’s seven joint commands,” he added. “He was in charge of extortion in the departments of Huila and Tolima,” he specified. The slain 57-year-old rebel belonged to the FARC for the last thirty-eight years. The Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office issued more than a score of arrest warrants for him, on charges of theft, kidnapping, homicide, personal injury, and terrorism. Colombian military intelligence also accused him of having planned numerous armed attacks on police stations in Tolima (in central Colombia) and Huila (in the southwest) and of having ordered private vehicles to be stopped on the highways of that region in order to kidnap their occupants and ask for ransom in exchange for their release. The operation was successful in the wake of information supplied by a demobilized guerrilla and an operation to infiltrate rebel ranks that lasted six days, he said. The fighting took place in a mountainous region of Huila, on the morning of 20 March. President Juan Manuel Santos affirmed on Twitter that this event proves that his administration has not let down its guard in the fight against illegal armed groups. Military personnel also killed two other noted guerrillas, including a woman, and seized weapons and explosives in Aipe, according to the official account. One soldier died in the operation, Rivera specified. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest guerrilla group with between 9,000 and 11,000 fighters, has intensified its attacks in several localities in recent weeks, according to the authorities.