It's been an unusually deadly year for Sierra Ski Resorts:
Ten skiers have been killed in California since late January, a string of deaths the likes of which resort officials and accident investigators say they haven't seen in decades.
The national average of 39 deaths on the slopes has remained about the same over the past 10 years, according to the National Ski Areas Association. During the 2003-04 ski season, 41 people died. That's compared to 43 people who were killed by lightning in 2003.
But there has been an increase in serious injuries at Sierra ski resorts over the past year, said Dr. Myron Gomez, the chief trauma surgeon at the Washoe Medical Center in Reno, which handles all the major injuries from Sierra ski resorts.
In recent years, the hospital has seen an average of 250 ski and snowboard trauma patients. That jumped to 309 patients during the 2004-05 ski season, and similar numbers are expected this winter, Gomez said.
"In 2005 we did see more cases than we've ever seen before," Gomez said. "It's difficult to know whether that is statistically significant.
What was that about there being little impact if we drilled in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge? From the Rueters:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Alaska officials said on Friday that up to 267,000 gallons (6,357 barrels) of crude oil poured out of a pipeline at the Prudhoe Bay field, making it the largest oil spill ever recorded on the state's North Slope.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation estimated that a minimum of 201,000 gallons (4,785 barrels) spilled at Prudhoe Bay, the largest U.S. oil field.
The spilled oil spread over 1.9 acres of snow-covered tundra and the environmental impact remains unknown, according to Leslie Pearson, on-scene coordinator for the Department of Environmental Conservation.
"Although it is a significant spill and it is a large volume, the footprint, being just under two acres, is small," said Pearson.
Alaska's biggest oil spill was the 11 million-gallon Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989. Crude oil from the grounded Exxon tanker spread to 1,300 miles of coastline, including sites in the Chugach National Forest and in three national park units.