Letter: Keep machines out of the backcountry | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Keep machines out of the backcountry

I read with dismay and disbelief the article in Feb.16 Steamboat Pilot & Today, “Forging a new path.” This story is rife with ironies.

From his youthful support of Dian Fossey’s Gorilla Fund to the closing quote, “I think we’ve lost sight of what skiing is all about,” the engineer seems to have lost sight of his earlier inclinations to preserve what is rare and struggling to survive on the planet and perhaps in Colorado as well.

In Colorado, and my home in New Hampshire as well, the friction between motorized and non-motorized vehicles in the outdoors continues to ramp up in both places, and others too numerous to mention. The resolution often seems beyond reach. Nor does this “conversation” often include the consideration of climate change.

While I cannot speak for other backcountry skiers, I think it’s safe to say that the peace and quiet and effort it takes to reach a desired and untrammeled downhill run is to a great extent what it is about.

Even as I applaud the ingenuity that this project has encompassed, I would suggest that turning it loose without consideration of the above-mentioned issues would be totally irresponsible. If the resorts want to use these clever conveyances in place of the current 14 person snowcats that, at least, does not alter the balance elsewhere in the backcountry.

I am only a visitor to this magical place, but it is a magical place. The fewer machines in the backcountry, the better. I can’t help but think Dian Fossey would agree.

Lucy K. Wyman

Lancaster, New Hampshire and briefly North Routt

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