By on April 26, 2016

Priceless powder

JACKSON HOLE, WY – In honor of Earth Day last week, and in consideration of computing the monetary value of snow to Jackson Hole, Teton Gravity Research crunched some numbers to come up with a price tag for creating a ski day sans Mother Nature. If global warming trends continue and folks at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort were forced to rely solely on what manmade snow they could produce to eke out a ski day, what would that look like?

Let’s just say, thank goodness we get the natural stuff. Ski.curbed posted the story on April 25 with the headline: “A Manmade powder day at Jackson Hole would cost $59M.” That’s right, it would take $59 million worth of 2,723 snow guns pumping out 108,900,000 cubic feet of snow to blanket the entire mountain with 12-inches of pow.

TGR teamed up with Vermont Energy Investment Corporation to make the calculations.

Still crazy after all these years

They were ahead of their time in days gone by. Before any upstart skier even thought to duck a rope and huck a cliff, the fabled Jackson Hole Air Force (JHAF) were carving out the most unlikely lines. The legacy left by JHAF members like “Captain” Benny Wilson and Dave “The Wave” Muccino is brought once again to life in the new film “The New Old-School” (

The 14-minute Locals Project video starts off with time-lapse photography of the valley’s magnificence. It features tons of rad skiing in places the majority of JHMR skiers never see…and probably don’t want to. Freeskiers Sam Schwartz and Morgan Mcglashon shred the crags and cliffs where JHAF members once laid first tracks.

JHAF pushed the limits of how far and how big some freeskiers were willing to go. Now, new-schoolers carry on the tradition, tracking out areas even JHAF crazies never thought possible.

The story and video is in Freeskier’s latest post.

Sheriff switch OK

Over the hill, the contentious political season hasn’t escaped Teton Valley voters, but it’s not Trump, Sanders, and Clinton that have dominated headlines of late. It’s their county sheriff, Tony Liford, who has made the news in Idaho papers like the Post Register and Idaho Reporter.

Liford switched his party affiliation at the filing deadline after serving as Teton County, Idaho’s sheriff for eight years as a Democrat. County Clerk Mary Lou Hansen struck Liford’s name from the Republican primary ballot after discovering an obscure 1997 law which required incumbents to file for party switches at least five days before the deadline.

Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst agreed with Hansen’s decision to remove Liford but a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction last week that would put Liford back on the ballot.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale said, “…it sounded like strained logic” in her 23-page ruling. The judge commended Hansen for a commendable job attempting to interpret the law but ultimately she said, “[Hansen’s] interpretation must yield in favor of the Constitutional rights at issue.”

Sex-Ed speaker stirs it up

School district trustees are currently embroiled in a controversy over the cancellation of noted Christian abstinence speaker Shelly Donahue after some in the community protested her upcoming talk at the high school.

Objection over Donahue’s qualifications and affiliation with religious factions prompted several vocal community members to pressure the board to cancel Donahue in the interest of maintaining a separation of church and state.

Donahue appeared last year at Summit High School without issue. TCSD No. 1 board of trustees will discuss the matter at their regularly scheduled meeting tonight. The story played out in local papers and appeared on Wyoming Public Radio.

Jobless rate jumps in Wyoming

Wyoming’s unemployment rate continues to climb as energy extraction companies are facing increasingly tough times. Massive layoffs at Black Thunder and North Antelope Rochelle coal mines, along with the announcement on April 13 that the nation’s largest coal mine, Peabody Energy, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, spurred another jump in unemployment.

The state’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.2 percent in March—a 1.3 percent increase compared with last year and the highest jobless rate in Wyoming since 2012. Last month’s report marked the first time since 2000 that the Cowboy State’s unemployment rate was higher than the national average.

Casper Star Tribune also reported that April’s numbers may be worse still. PJH

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