Fire on the Mountain

The posh ski town of Vail is shaken by an act of apparent ecoterrorism

If it were in Europe, a place like Vail, Colo., would fit the exalted category of "ski circus," a place so sprawling and opulent as to be almost a sovereignty unto itself. But last week that rather complacent empire was startled by a message from a tiny band. Early Monday morning someone set Vail Mountain ablaze. Seven fires spread along a mile-long ridge overlooking the tony ski village, demolishing a restaurant, a patrol building and a picnic shelter and impairing several lifts. No one was hurt, but the damage totaled $12 million.

Investigators were stumped until midweek, when something called the...

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