Kiitella Awards: The American Alpine Club Annual Benefit Dinner

Custom designed and fabricated awards for the American Alpine Club by Colorado metal artist Lisa Issenberg of Kiitella (Finnish v. to thank, applaud, praise), the plaques are a sleek fusion of hand-polished stainless steel, natural wool felt and laminated bamboo.
For the Robert Hicks Bates Award recipient Margo Hayes, Issenberg created a hefty & bold 5″ diameter jet-cut steel medallion, hand-polished with high-shined highlights, a riveted AAC logo, and finished with bright accessory cord.

On February 23-24 Boston will host the 2018 Annual Benefit Dinner for the American Alpine Club (AAC). The AAC’s most prestigious yearly event honors those making outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing and mountaineering.

This year’s honorees: John Roskelley is receiving an Honorary Membership, which is one of the highest awards the AAC offers; Alex Honnold is awarded The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award; Ellen Lapham is honored with the Heilprin Citation; Margo Hayes wins The Robert Hicks Bates Award; And former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and accomplished climber Sally Jewell is the recipient of the David R. Brower Conservation Award. Learn more about the awardees.

Patagonia National Park Chile ~ Tompkins Conservation

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Photo: Linde Waidhofer

Dear Friends,

As you may have already heard, January 29th, 2018 was an historic day for Chile and for Tompkins Conservation. On a clear summer afternoon, we welcomed President Michelle Bachelet to Patagonia Park headquarters to sign the decrees creating the network of Patagonia parks, solidifying the pledge we both signed in March 2017 to create five new national parks and expand three more. I was proud to represent TC on behalf of Doug and our team members and partners around the world. After 25 years of work, we can hardly believe this day finally arrived.
The collection of land and infrastructure we donated for Patagonia National Park Chile alone took 14 years of work and many partners. Supporters from Hong Kong to Laguna Beach, from schoolteachers to investment banking executives, employees, volunteers, and partners of Conservacion Patagonica and The Conservation Land Trust have made immeasurable contributions to this shared endeavor – This grand donation and parks creation, the largest of its kind in history, would not have been possible without all of your help. The one million acres given by Tompkins Conservation, combined with nine million acres of federal land designated by the government, will expand Chile’s national parklands by over 10.3 million acres. The signing of these decrees cements Chile as one of the global leaders in conservation today.

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President Michelle Bachelet and key ministers sign the national park decrees, January 29th, 2018. Photo: Linde Waidhofer

The one million acres given by Tompkins Conservation, combined with nine million acres of federal land designated by the government, will expand Chile’s national parklands by over 10 million acres.

In an era filled with very discouraging news about the daily destruction of our beautiful planet, we hope this day is a reminder to everyone that there are still ways to fight back. After the announcement, The New York Times published my op-ed “Protecting Wilderness as an Act of Democracy,” which may serve as a reminder that the continuing degradation of wilderness is not the only path forward.

Doug and I have always been firm believers that a country’s natural masterpieces are best held and protected by the public for the common good. National Parks are the gold standard of conservation—they belong to everybody. They remind us that we are part of something larger than ourselves. National Parks, monuments and other public lands remind us that regardless of race, economic standing or citizenship, we are all part of the community of Life.

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Kristine Tompkins and President Michelle Bachelet visit the Patagonia Park cemetery and the grave of Douglas Tompkins just before the donation ceremony. Photo: Dani Casado

The story of the creation of these parks, this wild legacy, belongs to us all. I am forever grateful for your involvement, the work we have done together, Doug’s incredible vision, and this spectacular commitment by the government of Chile. We hope you can all take a moment to enjoy this unprecedented step towards the protection of wild nature.

In congratulations,

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins
President, Tompkins Conservation

Snow-Making For Skiing During Warm Winters Comes With Environmental Cost ~ NPR


Snow-making has been called a Band-Aid to the bigger problem of warming temperatures.

Patrik Duda / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm


In the height of ski season this year, blades of grass and patches of dirt still dot cross country ski trails in Aspen, Colo. Conditions like this present a conundrum for professional skiers: Their livelihood relies on snow and cold temperatures, but essentials like travel and snow-making come with an environmental cost.

Simi Hamilton is one of the fastest cross country skiers in the world, and before the snow fell this season, he hit the pavement in his hometown of Aspen on roller skis. Training without snow is something Hamilton is getting used to. Year after year, he watches the snow line move further up the mountains.

“We would be in the high Alps at 6,000 feet trying to train in mid-January and we’d still be training on just, like, a two-foot deep platform of man-made snow and there’s just green grass next to the trails,” Hamilton said.

Olympic cross country skier Simi Hamilton trained on roller skis in his hometown of Aspen, Colo., last fall.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio


A missed turn on this ribbon of snow means skiers get grass stains, and that’s the new reality of cross country skiing. Warming temperatures mean a later start to winter. Even after winter hits, more precipitation is falling as rain rather than snow. The lack of snow means ski areas have to fill in the gaps.

“There’s not a whole lot ski resorts can do other than buff out snow-making,” said Auden Schendler, vice president for sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company.

Most of the snow that cross country skiers race on is artificial. Resorts and cross country race venues across the world blow huge piles of man-made snow. They truck it across the landscape to create ski trails, and some resorts are even storing manufactured snow through the summer months to be sure they can provide skiing early in the season.

This sets up a tricky situation: a warming climate is undeniably detrimental to the ski industry. But Schendler said the man-made snow solution is just a Band-Aid, and one that actually aggravates the problem.

“You’re using a very energy-intensive fix to deal with a changing climate and the fix cannibalizes the very climate you care about,” Schendler said.

As global temperatures rise, researchers have tracked an upward trend in both the number of resorts that are making snow, and the number of acres they cover with the artificial stuff. Elizabeth Burakowski studies changes in winter climate at the University of New Hampshire.

“It is a challenge for professional athletes to say, walk the walk when it comes to carbon emissions,” Burakowski said.

But snow-making technology is becoming more efficient, according to Burakowski. In terms of global greenhouse gas emissions, the industry is “probably a drop in the bucket.”

Nonetheless, athletes like Olympic cross country skier Noah Hoffman are aware that every drop counts.

“We see the changes to the climate on a yearly basis, and yet, we’re burning huge amounts of fossil fuels flying from venue to venue, and then the snow that we ski on is incredibly energy intensive,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman tries to offset the harm caused by his Olympic skiing dream by speaking out on environmental issues.

“I don’t know how to settle those two sides of the coin in my own mind,” he said.

But he thinks it starts with acknowledging his own role in contributing to the problem.


San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast ~ Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 09:06


Blue skies and warm temps (10-15 degrees above normal) today with another storm on the way arriving on southwest flow with increasing clouds and wind throughout the day. Tonight through Tuesday the San Juans will see steady & intermittent snowfall with a cold front arriving late Monday/early Tuesday that should increase precip rates, but it’s all timing … Wednesday dries out then the unsettled pattern continues into the weekend with hopefully another storm (southwest flow) on the way.

A large trough of low pressure birthed in the Gulf of Alaska has moved south into the Great Basin and has stretched/elongated west into the warm subtropic Pacific entraining good moisture. This is a slow moving storm with all the dynamics necessary for good snow production. Convection, orographic lift, vorticity, supported by a 120 kt jet all converging Monday afternoon/evening & hopefully performing like the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

This storm looks similar to our last storm with the elongated trough reaching back into the warm Pacific waters along with the NW cold front which helped create decent snow especially to southwest aspects above TL.  If all dynamics pan out we should see 8-12″ on the average above 11,000′ with higher amounts possible, up to 24″ in those special places we all dream about.  This storm and the next week potential may put a small dent in our H20 starved southern mountains.


GFS – US – 500mb – Loop




The forecast below is for Red Mountain Pass, and Wolf Creek looks similar. Most lines (forecast models) agree on a forecast of about 20 inches.


Telluride AIDS Benefit: Metal Artist Issenberg Honors #25 ~ by Susan Viebrock/Telluride Inside… and Out


The Telluride AIDS Benefit continues to wave its “Fight.Fund.Educate” banner on high – and with good reason. With regard to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, today’s political environment is, at best, a giant question mark; at worst, toxic. On the scientific front there may be cause for optimism, but to date there is still no definitive cure for the virus. The Telluride AIDS Benefit is celebrating 25 years of community involvement and dedication to the cause: raising money to help HIV and AIDS clients of its beneficiaries, literally hundreds of individuals and families of all demographics living with HIV/AIDS from the Front Range of Colorado to Africa. TAB also remains laser-focussed on prevention through education.

Join in TAB’s week of events, beginning Friday, February 23, 6 p.m., with the Student Fashion Show at Telluride’s Michael D. Palm Theatre and culminating with the Gala Fashion Show at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. All happening between March 1 – March 6.

To honor TAB’s silver anniversary, artist Lisa Issenberg’s uber cool cuff is now on sale for $75 at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art. The Gallery has represented Lisa’s work, primarily her jewelry, since 1992.

~ See full article in TIO with Telluride AIDS Benefit ticket information ~

Elise LeGrow’s ‘Playing Chess’ Honors Blues And R&B Greats


Elise LeGrow remakes blues and soul classics for her full-length debut, Playing Chess.

Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist


Chess Records is an American institution. Founded in Chicago by Phil and Leonard Chess in the 1950s, it became the label that launched Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Watersand Bo Diddley. Now, Canadian singer Elise LeGrow is taking on the label’s catalog on her debut album: Playing Chess features covers of songs made famous by Chuck Berry, Etta James, Sugar Pie DeSanto, The Moonglows and more.

“Etta James has been one of my favorite singers for a very long time and, of course, I was aware of Chuck Berry’s hits. But I didn’t realize that the common thread there was Chess,” LeGrow tells NPR’s Scott Simon.

The album features guest appearances from the Dap-Kings and, on the track “Long, Lonely Nights,” Questlove and Captain Kirk Douglas from The Roots. Questlove’s father, Lee Andrews, co-wrote that ballad back in 1965.

As she put together the track list, LeGrow says, old memories collided with some new surprises. Now 30, she’d heard Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” for the first time as a child, playing behind Uma Thurman and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction‘s iconic dance sequence. When she put the song on her covers shortlist, her producer revealed he had written an original melody for the lyrics 40 years ago. Their combined efforts resulted in something all LeGrow’s own: “I’ve had some people say it’s completely unrecognizable until they hear the line, ‘C’est la vie,’ ” she says.

LeGrow is already looking ahead to her next release, but she says she’ll still want her sound to stay in the tradition of the greats she emulates on Playing Chess: “a live band and a girl in a room.”

Playing Chess is available now from S-Curve Records. Listen to the full interview at the audio link.