Them On Us 3.6.13

By on March 6, 2013
Corbet's Couloir CREDIT: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Corbet’s Couloir
CREDIT: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

At the mouth of Corbet’s: it’s OK if you just peed a little

Sure, there have been a zillion stories written on the toughest run in North America. Every winter, another publication trots out the same tired piece by some skier-journalist on how rugged Corbet’s Couloir is.

The Casper Star-Tribune ran Benjamin Storrow’s coming-of-age conquest over his fear by hucking himself into “America’s scariest trail,” as he called it. Only he didn’t. He stared into the abyss and froze.

In that way, Storrow’s piece was at least real and identifiable. He began brashly: “I’d like to think I’m an above-average skier. Growing up in New England, friends and I made a habit of shouldering our skies, climbing the nearest hill and descending the maze of maples, oaks and pines.”

And ended humbled: “[Teton Gravity Research co-founder Todd] Jones says that if you look at Corbet’s for 10 seconds you won’t do it. I gawked for at least that long. I knew I wouldn’t be skiing this trail. It hurt my pride then. It hurts even more to admit it here.”



This changes everything

A study released this month flies in the face of everything we thought we knew about the pine beetle and its effect on our forests. Basically, by fighting the beetle, we are creating worse wildfire conditions.

Research published by Natural Areas Journal suggests that bark beetles do not increase the risk of forest fires in Western pine and spruce forests. Instead, the culprit is climate change and lousy forestry management.

Co-author Dominick DellaSala of the Geos Institute in Oregon was shocked to find that not only do thinning trees not seem to prevent future fires, but it may exacerbate the problem.

“If you do logging after the bug kill or after a forest fire you can actually intensify or magnify the severity of damage to these forests,” DellaSala told Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo, referencing the soil compaction and damage done to roots of healthy trees by heavy logging equipment.

Instead of thinning forests, DellaSala suggested forest managers focus on protecting roads, homes, and urban areas, and allow nature to take its course elsewhere.

Take that, Washington bitches

ABC News wrote it: “While Washington, D.C. squirmed this week over the impending federal government spending cuts, Wyoming lawmakers in Cheyenne — some 1,500 miles west — went about business as usual, wrapping up a legislative session that saw them vote to continue salting away hundreds of millions in the state’s already bulging savings accounts. Knocking Washington is almost a sport in Wyoming.”

After visiting the D.C. zoo that is Congress, Gov. Matt Mead had this to say to ABC, “There was disagreement among the Democrats and the Republicans over whether that was the right amount of cuts or more cuts needed to be made. But what there was agreement on was that by setting up something that they all say that they don’t want now, and doing it on the 11th day, the 11th hour, that’s no way to run a business. That’s no way to run a railroad. I think that’s one of the fundamental things that’s wrong with Washington, D.C. — that they won’t make those tough decisions.”

Wyoming still near top in jailing juvvies

The numbers are trending down, but Wyoming still ranks number two in juvenile incarceration. Only South Dakota locks up more kids.

Wyoming is imprisoning fewer young people than it did 15 years ago, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, but some experts, like KidsCount director Marc Homer, believe the state has a long way to go towards implementing effective reform. “In Wyoming, when we look at it, after South Dakota, we still have the second highest rate of incarceration of all the states in the nation, and we are in the nation with the highest rate of youth incarceration of all industrialized nations.”

Homer also says Wyoming should expand its restorative justice programs. He says it is less expensive, promises better outcomes for youth, and increases public safety by keeping youth within their own communities and giving them meaningful ways to better themselves.

“We’re talking about the average sundry youth offender who does some petty theft, who skips school, gets caught skateboarding, gets drunk and tips a cow over, that sort of thing,” Homer says. “These kids can be dealt with more effectively within their community. In fact, the states that showed the greatest improvement in the nation, they actually have had an increase in public safety.”

Homer says he wants to see more youth treated in their homes and communities and the creation of a system for evaluating the effectiveness of existing state-supported institutions.

Author kindles writing career after repeated rejection

Author Rod Pennington could paper the walls in his office with rejection letters. In fact, he did. Not easily discouraged, Pennington began self-publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing at and is now enjoying success with his first book, The Fourth Awakening. Now in its fourth year of release on Kindle, the novel has sold more than 100,000 units and has enjoyed extended runs at the No. 1 bestseller spot in the U.S. and U.K. at various times.

Pennington followed up with six more releases in the past two years and was recently featured on Amazon’s homepage. Pennington is Carrie Boynton’s father. Boynton is the executive director of the JH Ski & Snowboard Club.

About Jake Nichols

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