The beauty and brawn of Bear Mountain - Calgary Herald - Canadanewsmedia
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The beauty and brawn of Bear Mountain – Calgary Herald



The Valley golf course at Bear Mountain features wide and satisfying fairways.

Supplied / Postmedia

As the sun dips below the horizon, the day’s last rays skimming over Goldstream Provincial Park, you can bet that Linda and Justin Rumpel will be on their second-floor patio admiring the warm colours in the western sky and sipping a glass of wine.

“The sunsets here can be quite spectacular,” says Justin. “We’ve got a beautiful mountain view and it never gets old.” But, for homeowners at Bear Mountain, enjoying brilliant sunsets is just one of many highlights at this upscale Vancouver Island resort community.

Bear Mountain Resort Community in Greater Victoria, which is owned by Ecoasis Developments, a Victoria-based land development company, has been synonymous with luxury living on Vancouver Island for nearly 20 years. Located just half an hour from Victoria’s famed Inner Harbour, Bear Mountain Resort Community in Langford is a four-season fortress that’s enjoyed by both resort guests (the sprawling Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa has more than 150 rooms and suites) and hundreds of homeowners in the residential community.

The 836-acre Bear Mountain site is rugged and rocky, yet exudes a clean, contemporary, and upscale atmosphere. And, ever since it was initially conceived by British Columbia entrepreneur and former NHLer Len Barrie, it’s been a popular spot for golfers, hikers, bikers, and anyone with a passion for outdoor activities and the fabulous climate in Victoria. (Golfing mid-winter in Canada? This, and perhaps British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, is about the only place in the country where you can do it!)

“We chose Bear Mountain for a lot of reasons,” says Linda. “Its proximity to Victoria, our favourite city in Canada, was definitely important. And, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it when we’re biking and golfing in January, we are still in Canada. And this was also very important for us. The mountain resort ambiance here is truly unique and we just fell in love with it.”

The Rumpels, who spend approximately 75 days a year in Victoria, initially purchased a condo at Bear Mountain 10 years ago. But, as it goes with many couples who start families, their needs have changed.

“A couple of years ago we purchased a home on the golf course as our family has grown and we plan to spend even more time at Bear Mountain,” says Linda. “We enjoy golfing, hiking, cycling, relaxing by the pool, meeting friends on the patio and dining at the hotel or Jack’s Place.”

A popular pub-style restaurant in the heart of the Bear Mountain Village, Jack’s Place is definitely a popular spot for both homeowners and resort guests. The cozy village includes a mountain market, wine shop, and a few other small retail outlets, as well as the Westin Bear Mountain Resort.

However, the resort guests and homeowners are blessed with numerous options when it comes to “play time.”

Unquestionably, the centrepiece at Bear Mountain has always been the golf. The Bear Mountain Golf & Country Club is Canada’s only facility with 36 holes of Nicklaus Design golf. The two courses at Bear Mountain — the Mountain Course and the Valley — are thrilling mountainside courses that are loaded with unique, challenging, and fun-to-play holes.

The original Mountain Course, which has hosted both the PGA Tour Champions and the Telus World Skins Game, is a muscular layout that features rock outcroppings, deep and dramatic bunkering, island greens, and challenging forced-carries to plateau greens. It’s not for the faint of heart … or the newbie golfer! However, the Valley Course is resort golf at its finest. Spacious playing corridors, huge greens, and a friendlier disposition make the Valley Course the obvious favourite for the middle to high handicap player.

A brand new tennis centre — complete with a state-of-the-art, heated, four-court bubble with red clay courts — is another showpiece amenity at Bear Mountain. The bubble is installed every October for indoor play and removed in April for outdoor play.

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World-class mountain biking trails (Bear Mountain is the High Performance Training Centre for Canada’s National Mountain Bike Team) are also woven into the fabric of Bear Mountain. Ringing the golf course, the Canada Cup Trail is one of a number of challenging mountain biking trails that are built to challenge the most skilled riders in North America. Race day is always an exciting time at Bear Mountain.

However, for Justin Rumpel, his “race course” is the roller-coaster roads and the challenging ride up and down the Bear Mountain Parkway with his road bike.

“Unquestionably, one of the biggest reasons why we love coming here is the year-round cycling. For Canadians who love the outdoors, especially biking, the climate here cannot be beat,” he says.

And, of course, nor can those gorgeous West Coast sunsets.


DEVELOPMENT: Bear Mountain

LOCATION: Bear Mountain is situated half an hour from Victoria’s downtown Inner Harbour in Langford, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

BUILDER: Ecoasis Development LLP

WHAT’S AVAILABLE: There are a variety of real estate options available at Bear Mountain. Gated estate homes, townhomes, single-family lots, and condominiums are all currently available. Prices range from $315,000 to $3 million. Some of the most prestigious view lots are currently available at the Cypress Gates Villas at Bear Mountain. The Real Estate Presentation Centre in the Westin Bear Mountain Resort is the place every prospective homeowner should visit first. Buyers at Bear Mountain should also be fully aware of the B.C. government’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax, which is applicable to some owners.

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Interstellar visitor is reddish, new study finds –




In a new study published in Nature Astronomy on Monday, astronomers are pulling back the curtain on some of the mysteries behind our solar system’s first confirmed interstellar comet.

The comet, 2I/Borisov, was discovered by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov on Aug. 30, though its orbit was unknown.

But by the end of September, the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center confirmed that the comet came from beyond our solar system

Because Borisov is so distant — 420 million kilometres from Earth — it’s difficult to determine a lot of its characteristics. However, this new study, the astronomers were able to determine a few of its interesting qualities.

Using two telescopes, the Gemini North Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the William Herschel Telescope in La Palma, Spain, they were able to determine that the nucleus, or core, is roughly one kilometre in diameter. 

They also identified a short tail and an extended coma, or cloud of debris that gives comets their fuzzy appearance. And they determined its colour.

“We found this colour of the comet is almost the same as other colour of the typical comets in our solar system,” said co-author of the paper Piotr Guzik, an astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. “It’s not red like Mars … it’s just a bit more red light in its spectrum than the blue light.”

In another study, researchers also found that Borisov contained cyanogen, which is made up of a carbon atom and a nitrogen atom that are bonded. It is a poisonous gas to us, but commonly found in comets.

Second interstellar visitor

Borisov is the second known object to come from another star system.

The first was 1I/’Oumuamua. It’s believed that it was an asteroid, however, it’s also been hypothesized that it did have some activity — called outgassing — that is similar to a comet’s.

This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar object, 1I/’Oumuamua. It was discovered two years ago by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. (M. Kornmesser/ESO)

While ‘Oumuamua was detected on its way out of the solar system, Borisov was detected on its way in, which means astronomers will be able to study this one for some time.

“The next year is going to be extremely exciting, as we will be able to follow 2I’s evolution as it zooms through our solar system,” said Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory, in a statement. “In comparison, we had only a few weeks to study ‘Oumuamua before it became too faint.”

So far, the Borisov findings suggest it isn’t very different from our own local comets, something that Guzik believes could shed light on exoplanets, which orbit other stars.

“Such objects are just part of other planetary systems. It was not until, I guess, around 1990 that we found the first planet systems around other stars, and now part of such a system is here,” Guzik said. “So we can investigate some material that left some planetary system and compare it to what we see here and probably learn something about the formation of other planetary systems.”

Though the recent study found cyanogen, Guzik said that he’s hopeful that, as the comet gets nearer the sun, astronomers will discover more about its composition.

“It will be very interesting to find out more, especially what’s driving its activity,” he said.

Borisov will reach perihelion — its closest approach to the sun — on Dec. 7, when it will be roughly 300 million kilometres away. 

Guzik also hopes that, eventually, astronomers will be able to determine its home star system.

“It would be really nice to know where it originated,” Guzik said. “If we could point to the star and say, ‘This is the star.'”

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Asteroid news: Did alien space rock dust cloud spark new life on Earth? –




Scientists have now posited an asteroid disintegration once blanketed Earth with dust millions of years ago. It is thought the cosmic event dramatically cooled Earth, triggering an ice age followed by significant increases of new animals. The work, led by Professor Birger Schmitz of Sweden’s Lund University, provides new insight into the impact of extraterrestrial events on Earth’s evolution.

The asteroid expert told the Observer: “We know about the 6 mile (10km) asteroid that crashed on Earth 67 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs, but this event was very different.

“It occurred about 470 million years ago when an asteroid 3,000 times bigger than the dinosaur-killer was destroyed during a collision with another asteroid beyond the orbit of Mars.

“It filled the solar system with dust and caused a major dimming of sunlight falling on Earth.”

The theory is a reduction in radiation made the planet’s temperatures drop significantly.

READ MORE: Dashcam fireball footage shows space rock hurtle above Alberta

This triggered a succession of ice ages, meaning water froze, ice caps spread and sea levels dropped.

This created isolated shallow seas which were an ideal breeding ground for generating new species.

Cold water also holds more dissolved oxygen, which would also have boosted speciation.

Scientists are already aware ice ages appeared around this time and life underwent a spike in biodiversity, particularly in the oceans.

READ MORE: This is what would happen if an asteroid hits Earth

The first coral reefs began to grow then and peculiar tentacled predators called nautiloids first appeared.

This is called as the great Ordovician bio-diversification event (GOBE).

Scientists have argued over GOBE’s cause but now Professor Schmitz, who studying space dust particles in seabed sediments, believes it was triggered by asteroid dust clouds.

He said: “The sediments laid down at this time are rich in the isotope helium-3 – which they could only have picked up travelling through space. It is a crucial clue.”

READ MORE: NASA chief reveals nuclear ‘game changer’

Professor Rebecca Freeman, of the University of Kentucky, told Science how she agreed with the idea.

She said: “Other scientists have backed his idea. “It isn’t necessarily the answer to every question we have about GOBE, but it certainly ties together a lot of observations.”

Professor Schmitz’s research has also caused interest for another reason.

As the world warms dangerously, some scientists have proposed spreading a veil of dust hovering in space over the Earth, reflecting sunlight away from our overheating planet.

But the idea is controversial with critics because it could have unexpected side-effects.

Now evidence shows such an experiment occurred naturally 470 million years ago.

The result was a major change in our meteorology and the evolution of life here.

Professor Schmitz added: “It is certainly worth bearing in my mind in coming years.”

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Alien life possibly found on Mars in 1970s, ex-NASA scientist says – Fox News




In a stunning op-ed, a former NASA scientist says he is convinced that the space agency “found evidence of life” on Mars in the 1970s.

In the article, Gilbert Levin, who worked on the Viking missions to the Red Planet during that decade, makes it clear that he believes data from the Labeled Release (LR) in 1976 was supportive of finding life.

“On July 30, 1976, the LR returned its initial results from Mars,” Levin wrote in the op-ed, entitled “I’m Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s.”

“Amazingly, they were positive. As the experiment progressed, a total of four positive results, supported by five varied controls, streamed down from the twin Viking spacecraft landed some 4,000 miles apart.”

This artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about 4 billion years ago when almost half the planet’s northern hemisphere could have been covered by an ocean up to a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep in some places.
(ESO/M. Kornmesser)


He continued: “The data curves signaled the detection of microbial respiration on the Red Planet. The curves from Mars were similar to those produced by LR tests of soils on Earth. It seemed we had answered that ultimate question.”

The LR, which was led by Levin, took samples of Martian soil that contained organic compounds and looked for carbon dioxide. Astonishingly, the results seemed to indicate that the carbon dioxide was “being regenerated, possibly by microorganisms as on Earth.”

Fox News has reached out to NASA for comment for this story.

However, Levin seemed to criticize the space agency for not following up on the LR findings, even if NASA concluded that it “found a substance mimicking life, but not life.”

“Inexplicably, over the 43 years since Viking, none of NASA’s subsequent Mars landers has carried a life detection instrument to follow up on these exciting results,” he continued. “Instead the agency launched a series of missions to Mars to determine whether there was ever a habitat suitable for life and, if so, eventually to bring samples to Earth for biological examination.”

NASA has made subsequent visits to Mars, including the InSight lander, which landed in November 2018. The Curiosity rover, which has been on Mars since August 2012, detected a surprising spike in the level of methane that it has not yet been able to explain.

Last November, NASA announced that it had picked a landing spot for its upcoming Mars 2020 mission, a rover that will not include “a life-detection test,” Levin wrote.

“With our current measurements, we have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology, or even ancient or modern,” said SAM Principal Investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in a June statement. On Earth, methane is produced both biologically and geologically.

Levin pleaded for the space agency to put “life detection experiments on the next Mars mission possible” to be more precise in their hunt for life, but in also keeping “with well-established scientific protocol.” He also wants an independent group of scientists to review the Viking LR data.

“Such an objective jury might conclude, as I did, that the Viking LR did find life,” Levin concluded. “In any event, the study would likely produce important guidance for NASA’s pursuit of its holy grail.”

The newly published op-ed is not the first time Levin has suggested that life was found on Mars. In 1997, he published “his conclusion that the LR had, indeed, discovered living microorganisms on the Red Planet,” according to his website.


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