storm’s impact hits home

By Jim Stanford on November 2, 2012

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Massive oak overturned by the storm outside the Stanford home on Long Island.

In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, National Geographic ran a cover story about the increasing number and severity of hurricanes. I sent the magazine to a friend whose parents’ home was destroyed on the Mississippi coast.

At the time I was worried about the future of New Orleans — not New York.

The images coming out of Queens and New Jersey this week look a lot like Louisiana and Mississippi post-Katrina. My family was fortunate: Being far enough inland on Long Island, flooding was not a danger. But my mom said her house shook unlike anything she had experienced in her life, and a towering oak fell over in the front yard, luckily away from the house.

My family went without power for nearly four days. Cell service was wiped out for much of that time, but mom had her trusted, wall-mounted rotary phone that allowed her to stay in touch. An oil lamp brightened the nights.

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Posted under Economy, Environment, Politics, Republican Party, Weather

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global warming fells Paul Bunyan

By Jim Stanford on February 22, 2012

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Remains of Paul Bunyan snow sculpture on the Square.

The storm that swept into Jackson Hole, raising temperatures from -6 on Monday to 41 degrees today, has claimed its first casualty.

The sudden thaw and blustery winds proved too much for the Paul Bunyan snow sculpture on the Town Square. Built by a Laramie team in the chamber’s Winterfest contest, the sculpture stood 12 feet tall. Here is what it looked like on Saturday.

There is some real Wyoming wind raging outside right now, gusting to 72 mph atop Rendezvous Mountain, according to JH Weather. Intermittent rain and sleet made for a dreary day of slush around town.

I’ve said this before, and probably written it here, too, but in my first five or six winters in Jackson Hole, we could count on one hand the total number of times it rained. Now it seems to rain five or six times every winter.

Lest light powder someday be an “American legend,” colder temperatures and continued snow are in the forecast, so better hop to it.


Posted under Art, Environment, Weather

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hunkered down

By Jim Stanford on August 27, 2011

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Hurricane Irene hits the North Carolina coast. Click to enlarge.

As luck would have it, I was supposed to be on the East Coast this weekend, first for the nuptials of dynamo blogger, radio reporter and former Jackson resident Lauren Whaley, and then a quick family visit, the highlight of which was a fishing trip off Long Island on Sunday. I pulled the plug once the scope of the storm and associated travel woes became apparent.

For a few days, culminating yesterday, it seemed there was a crazy convergence in the cosmos: smoke from the Red Rock Fire filling Jackson, the prospect of a major cyclone blasting New York, new moon, high tide, Mercury in retrograde. After I returned from cancelling my flight at Jackson Hole Airport, a friend and I were having coffee on the deck at Shades when power lines began to crackle and explode above us at the back of Snake River Grill.

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Posted under Economy, Environment, Weather

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chasing squirrels and saving whitebarks

By Jim Stanford on January 14, 2011

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The 30-foot-high mural of a whitebark pine by Brazilian artist Thais Beltrame towers over the crowd at her exhibit Friday in the ArtSpace Gallery.

Last week an array of conservation groups released a report listing the top 10 places to save for species endangered by climate change. Among those places is Greater Yellowstone, where whitebark pine trees are under assault from a warming-enabled infestation of beetles.

The report underscores the importance of the work filmmaker David Gonzales, founder of The Snaz, has poured himself into for the past year. Rather than sitting idly while the forests wither, Gonzales formed the nonprofit TreeFight and has been recruiting volunteers to hike into the hills and help catalog and protect the most valuable remaining stands of whitebark pines around Jackson Hole. (He also has been recruiting models to show off the group’s T-shirts, proceeds from which pay for pheromone packets that ward off beetles.)

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Posted under Art, Environment, Media

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giving solitude a voice

By Jim Stanford on November 8, 2010

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Winter is back in the Tetons, and it won’t be long before everyone’s fired up to ski the backcountry.

On Tuesday night, Winter Wildlands Alliance feeds the stoke with its signature event, the sixth annual Backcountry Film Festival, at Snow King Resort. The festival promotes the work of grassroots filmmakers who tell compelling and entertaining stories of backcountry, nonmotorized recreation and environmental preservation. All proceeds will benefit the Teton Pass Ambassador Program (via Friends of Pathways) and the Ski Cabin (via the Jackson Hole Ski Club).

Among the films to be shown are TreeFight‘s “Whitebark Warriors,” chosen as best environmental film, and “Deeper,” the latest from snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research, for which no lifts, helicopters and snowmobiles were used. “Deeper” was honored as best of festival.

The festival runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is $10. Snake River Brewing will serve beverages, and there will be raffle prizes.


Posted under Environment, Sports

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