Posts by Manon Verchot

Controversy Over Resort in Jumbo Valley

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Policy and Economics | 1 comment

Controversy Over Resort in Jumbo Valley

Spread the News:ShareAfter two decades, a proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort in the East Kootenays of British Columbia continues to be controversial among local communities. Now, a documentary about the campaign against the resort highlights the problems the resort could pose to the mountainous landscape. When the Jumbo Glacier Resort was originally proposed in the 1990s, it was approved under the Environmental Assessment Act of the Province of British Columbia. The resort would feature lifts up to 3,419 metres (11,217 feet) and more than 6,000 beds. It would be the only ski resort in North America to be open year round. For the fifteen companies behind the project, the resort could rake tens of millions of dollars into the region annually. But many people in local communities think that the project would be a disaster.There are already a number of ski resorts in the nearby mountains, providing opportunities to participate in the sport. Raised over $500 to help keep jumbo wild over the last two nights. Thank you! @patagonia @FortWhyteAlive pic.twitter.com/9xWstLsigU — Wilderness Supply (@wsupply_wpg) January 8, 2016 “The problem runs deeper than environmental concerns: there’s a real sense that the Jumbo resort will rip the heart from one of the most cherished wilderness areas in the East Kootenays,” Andrew Findlay, a Canadian journalist, wrote in a blog post. Opponents of the project say that it would desecrate indigenous lands  occupied by First Nations long before European settlement, but the issue is complex. The Shuswap First Nations Band, the community that lives closest to the glacier, approved the project for the economic opportunities it could bring, while the Ktunaxa First Nation is against the idea. For the Ktunaxa people, the resort would tear a hole in the middle of grizzly bear territory. Grizzly bears, who hold spiritual significance for the Ktunaxa, are threatened. Environmentalists are also concerned about the effects a large resort would have on the species. Individual bears need as much as 1,000 square kilometers of range, but the resort would fragment that range for many bears. Come to @Alliance_Center 1/20 to see #JumboWild, incredible film on fight for #publiclands! https://t.co/HLlH7U34lr pic.twitter.com/MoveVmMYLq — ConservationColorado (@ConservationCO) January 10, 2016 Environmentalists, First Nations, local communities and skiers say they will continue to fight against the Jumbo Glacier Resort. Last year, Canada’s Environment Minister Mary Polak said the  project had not sufficiently advanced. Glacier Resorts, Ltd., the company behind the project, will have to apply for a new environmental certificate in order to continue, she added. The announcement was a victory for the 90 percent of people from the area who oppose the project. For now, they can continue to visit the Jumbo Glacier — relatively free of human development. “In the midst of Jumbo you feel like a really small person,” said Leah Evans, a skier who has visited the Jumbo Glacier since she was 14, in the Jumbo Wild documentary. “When you tune into that silence, you become part of the landscape. It’s like a part of you is waking up.” Watch the trailer here: Jumbo Wild from Patagonia on Vimeo. Spread the...

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Ski Resorts Seek Alternatives

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Sports | 0 comments

Ski Resorts Seek Alternatives

Spread the News:ShareAs snow rapidly disappears from high mountains, ski and winter sport resorts are looking for alternatives to keep their struggling businesses alive. The world’s skiing industry is worth $60 to $70 billion, some estimates say. About 44 percent of ski-related travel is in the alps, while 21 percent is in the United States. In just 30 years, ski resorts in the Alps have seen 30 percent less snow, according to regional authorities. At the same time, temperatures have risen by 1.6 degrees Celsius since the 1960’s and glaciers in the region have lost 26 percent of their surface. For professional skiers, who train on glaciers, this could be bad news. If temperatures rise to 2 or 3 degrees higher, glaciers below 3,000 mertres will melt away, experts from the Hydrology Transfer and Environment Research Laboratory in Grenoble say.   Mont Ventoux ski resort – definitely no snow here #climatechange pic.twitter.com/Txc8T5fWkT — Ute Collier (@Ute_Collier) December 28, 2015 Already, Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe in Savoie, France, has closed off its glacier to skiers. But the resort continues to trigger avalanches on the glacier to replenish its slopes below, depleting its glacier. “Before we trained at a very low elevation, around 2,400 meters, even in July,” French Ski champion Fabienne Serrat, who won two golds medals at the World Championships in 1974, told AFP. “Today many youths who compete go to South America [to train].” Instead, resorts are investing in dog sledding, snowshoeing and sledding to keep tourists coming. Franck Vernay, first deputy mayor of Biot, a small village in Haute-Savoie, in the Rhône-Alpes region, said the ski season in his commune has been closed for three seasons because no profits were being made. “We haven’t given up on skiing but we’ve got to try to lure people in other ways. Otherwise its certain death,” he added.   These Depressing Ski Resort Photos Show The Awful Impact Of California’s #Drought http://t.co/LD0pDIgbAu via @stephemcneal #climatechange — Green Bean (@iamgreenbean) March 24, 2015 In other parts of the world, like California, ski resorts are looking into other high mountain sports, like biking and rafting. Ski seasons have been shortened, so many resorts are now open year-round so they can stay afloat. They are also developing ropes courses, zip lines and disk golf. “It’s not just the tourists going to ski or mountain-bike in these elite destinations, but there are also entire communities relying on hotel jobs, rafting jobs, working at a ski lift,” Diana Madson, executive director of Mountain Pact, an organisation that empowers mountain communities, told the Los Angeles Times. “There are a lot of people who are vulnerable to these impacts.” Spread the...

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Helicopter Crashes in New Zealand Glacier

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Helicopter Crashes in New Zealand Glacier

Spread the News:ShareA helicopter flying over the Fox Glacier in New Zealand crashed during bad weather last weekend, killing all seven passengers. Four of the victims were British tourists and two were Australian. The pilot, who had 3,000 hours of flying experience, was from New Zealand. The main body of the helicopter was found crushed between blocks of ice the size of houses and debris from the crash was spread across 100 meters. Rugged conditions made it difficult for rescuers to retrieve the bodies. The region has experienced bad weather since the beginning of the tourist season, with low hanging clouds and rains. A local official, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, told the Telegraph, a British newspaper. Fox Glacier crash: Four British tourists killed in New Zealand helicopter accident https://t.co/ZlxYsWAhbRpic.twitter.com/Ky9lGuPOm6 — The Telegraph (@Telegraph) November 21, 2015 Glaciers on New Zealand’s Southern Island have retreated in recent years, forcing tourism companies to fly tourists to glaciers by helicopter, Kokshoorn added. Tourists typically take a ten-minute flight to the Fox Glacier and walk around for half an hour before returning. Since 2008, there have been seven plane and helicopter accidents on glaciers in New Zealand. Earlier this year a helicopter crashed on the Poerua Glacier in Westland National Park. The three people on board survived. Four tourists survived when their helicopter rolled on the Richardson Glacier in 2014 and in 2013 11 people were rescued when two helicopters collided on the Tyndall Glacier. 7 feared dead in New Zealand helicopter crash: https://t.co/OvOKPr24llpic.twitter.com/pyiOEqNvUW — CNN International (@cnni) November 21, 2015 “We’re hurting. It’s a real tragedy today,” Rob Jewell, chairman of the Glacier Country Tourism Group, said in a statement. “We’ll just do what we can to make this as easy as we can for everybody, and obviously our thoughts are with those who lost their lives today and their families and friends.” Questions have been raised about whether the helicopter should have been allowed to fly under bad conditions. Officials have been sent to the scene to investigate the incident. Spread the...

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Norwegian Ice Tunnels Address Climate and Mythology

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in All Posts, Experiences, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Norwegian Ice Tunnels Address Climate and Mythology

Spread the News:ShareAt the heart of the Juvflye plateau in Norway, icy tunnels are carved in the Juvfonne snowdrift. The tunnels attract tourists, who are there to learn about climate change, Norse mythology, history and nature as part of the Mimisbrunnr Climate Park. The park was named after the well of knowledge in Norse Mythology. According to the myth, Odin, father of all gods, gave up an eye so he could drink from the well, which was guarded by Mimir, the wise giant. Melting glaciers in the mountains of Oppland County, where the park is situated, revealed more than 700 ancient artifacts. Under the snow and ice, researchers found a leather shoe, a knitted tunic and hunting tools from the Bronze Age. As visitors make their way through 60 metres of icy tunnels in the park, they discover this history, which spans deep into 6000 year old ice. Visitors walk through tunnels designed by artist Peter Istad and encounter a number of artifacts preserved in ice blocks. The tunnel remains at -2.5 degrees Celsius year-round. Most of the artifacts, however, are kept in a museum 30 minutes away. “The speed of the ice melting is formidable and alarming, but the number of new archaeological objects give a unique possibility for improving the knowledge and for interpreting the story about the early inhabitants and users of these mountain areas,” Norwegian researchers wrote in a recent paper analysing the significance of the park and its potential for raising awareness about climate issues. The project was developed by the National Mountain Institution, private tourist companies, research institutions and public authorities to enhance climate research, but also engage the public in climate consciousness. In the park, visitors are also invited to enjoy an outdoor opera and stunning views at 1900 metres above sea level. Though the park can accommodate 20,000 people, it only received 3,400 visitors in 2014. Most of its funding comes from the public and private sectors and the park itself has yet to achieve commercial success. Still, the park presents opportunities for cross-platform collaboration, Norwegian researchers said. “An important outcome is the fruitful exchange of experiences, between public and private partners, tourism and science interests, amateurs and professionals, and between local, regional and national actors,” the authors wrote. “The network has shown to be quite dynamic.” Spread the...

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Glacier Past Unveiled Through Sediments

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Science | 0 comments

Glacier Past Unveiled Through Sediments

Spread the News:ShareResearchers have long used preserved sediment layers in glaciers as time records to understand the climate of the past. But now, researchers, publishing in Quaternary Science Reviews, have used lake sediments in glacier-fed Lake Hajeren in Svalbard to recreate glacier variability during the Holocene period. The sediments, which were deposited over millennia, have been undisturbed, allowing researchers to develop a continuous and full record of glaciers as early as 11,700 calibrated Before Present (BP). The dates were calculated using radiocarbon calibration, meaning that the dates have been compared to other radiocarbon samples. Atmospheric carbon varies over time, so it does not necessarily correspond to the current Gregorian calendar. By comparing different radiocarbon samples, researchers hope to develop a more accurate dating system. The researchers’ complete record revealed a number of new findings about the advance and presence of the Svalbard glacier. Sediments in Lake Hajeren indicated that between 3380 and 3230 cal BP there was a glacier advance that lasted more than 100 years. The glacier advance had never before been recorded. Researchers also noted that during the deglaciation period before 11,300 cal BP, glaciers in Svalbard remained, and that between 7.4 and 6.7 thousand cal BP, glaciers disappeared. It wasn’t until 4250 cal BP that glacier reformation began. The variability in glacier presence and formation can be attributed to pulses from the melting Laurentide Ice Sheet, episodes of cooling in the Atlantic and reduced isolation during summers. “These findings highlight the climate-sensitivity of the small glaciers studied, which rapidly responded to climate shifts,” the authors wrote. Their research contributes to a body of work looking to better understand the driving forces behind climate variability in the Arctic, the region most affected by climate change. The Arctic also has a disproportional impact on the global climate compared to other parts of the world. Arctic response to climate change can also be used to develop climate models that estimate the impacts of global warming. “The rapid response of the small Hajeren glaciers improves our understanding of climate variability on Svalbard, suggesting that the Holocene was punctuated by major centennial-scale perturbations,” the authors concluded. “As such, this study underlines the value of glacier-fed lake sediments in contextualizing Arctic climate dynamics.” Spread the...

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