Backcountry Skiing News Roundup — Volkswagen, GW, and winter?

Post by blogger | October 1, 2015      
Backcountry Skiing News

We begin another News Roundup with eulogy, this time for Eric Roner. The exuberant athlete was killed in a sky diving accident just a few days ago. He was a positive face in extreme sports and will be greatly missed. Article here.

It doesn’t happen until March, but you need to buy your tickets for the Alaska Ski Train now. They sell out. Dance in the DJ car, meditate in the quiet car, souse in the ale car. I hear they’ll even have a rolling ski shop this year if you need to upgrade your kit — and it’ll be March so everything will be discounted! More here.

Global warming is always in the news — so we keep it in our ski touring tidings. Last I heard GW was caused by Volkswagen supplying customers with pre-modded diesels optimized for power and fuel economy. Problem is the tricked out engines spew more pollution and are illegal. Yet the question rises, if the bad boy diesels get better fuel mileage, perhaps they expel less CO2 per mile than an emissions-legal engine? The corporate media spin on all this is a sort of collective GASP about how HEINOUS Volkswagen is to do this (it’s actually happened before when GM sold hacked engines, and job-one for millions of diesel truck owners is to “chip” their rig and even tear out exhaust components just as soon as they bring their trucks home from the dealer. Google it.)

At least one infamous talk show host, however, proclaimed something like “Apple should hire the genius geeks who wrote this software!”

Meanwhile, I know people who bought a hacked Volkswagen. Will they return their car to be “upgraded” for less power and more kerosene consumption when it simply does as OEM what diesel truck owners spend hundreds of dollars accomplishing? No way, though they told me they’ll be happy to receive a cash settlement.

I’ll be quite interested in how many people actually bring their Volks in for a recall that’ll make them perform worse. And again, it’s entirely possible that the modded engines actually spew less C02 per mile. So those of you who are conflicted about getting your cars “upgraded,” you might want to find out the facts on exactly how much carbon dioxide you emit now as opposed to what you’ll be emitting as you stutter up that mountain pass with your “legal” engine.

We tried to find the best information source about the Volkswagen emissions squabble. Wiki seems to have the most complete facts, though I still can’t get any solid info about C02 emissions.

More GW: Countries are making agreements to cut emissions, but how much of that will really happen? Perhaps it actually doesn’t matter a whole heckuva lot. No matter what politician oft false promises are made, our planet will warm due to existing gas levels. Despite the media’s fascination with predicting the future, we actually don’t know what the outcomes will be for backcountry skiing or life in general.

But if the outcomes are bad, will we wonder why we didn’t simply climate engineer the problem away? Apparently, it is entirely possible to imitate the effects of a volcano spewing sulfur dioxide by manufacturing and ejecting the same stuff, which would stop GW in its tracks. ANATHEMA! say the rad enviros… but we “engineered” our way into this GW mess, why not engineer our way out instead of fiddling while Rome virtually burns? Your take, dear readers?

An interesting legal jingus is brewing in Colorado. On occasion, skiers are killed by in-bounds avalanches — here in Colorado and elsewhere in the world. In 2012 Christopher Norris died in a small slide at Winter Park resort. His wife is suing the resort.

Our resorts here in the Centennial State are heavily protected from liability by virtue of laws such as our Ski Safety Act, which essentially puts ultimate responsibility for safety on the skier’s individual shoulders, and limits the exposure of resorts to financially damaging torts. While the Act seems on the surface to be a good idea, it’s not exactly an inspiration for resorts to be ultra-careful. But are they careful enough and can the Act be bypassed with a successful legal action? It’s interesting to Google the Ski Safety Act. and check out this brief article about the Norris lawsuit.

It made me sad to find out they identified the human remains recently found stuck in a chimney in Woodland Park, Colorado. Apparently, in 2008 a teenager tried to enter a cabin by climbing down the flue, only to encounter a fireplace insert blocking the way. He couldn’t climb up again and probably died from dehydration. It always amazes me that some of us make it through those years when we did stuff like that and somehow survived. Condolences to the friends and family of Vernon Maddux.

A Colorado life saving note, if you’re here in our state consider attending the annual 1-day pro avy workshop this October 9. CSAW info here.

Lastly, is this punishment for me googling too much? Blimey! ICE MAIDENS of the British Army are training for an unaided crossing of Antarctica. The question is, the skis with blooming 3-pin ski touring bindings shown in their gear layout photo would probably last about a hundred miles of the huge journey before the boot soles crack or the bindings yank out of the skis. Hopefully they’ll figure that out during their first training exercise: “Operation Ice Bambi!” Those Brits, always coining a phrase. More here, if you dare.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


63 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup — Volkswagen, GW, and winter?”

  1. Sam F October 1st, 2015 8:45 am

    No one is saying VW “caused”GW, That is ridiculous and you know it. As for sulfur dioxide ejection that is a very much unproven theory. I suggest you quit spewing mis-information, just because you don’t believe in science

  2. Rudi October 1st, 2015 9:13 am

    I don’t think it is media spin to say that VW acted irresponsibly when they purposely deceived a US regulatory agency. Their behavior is unconscionable and sets a bad precedent. VW must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If there is disagreement over whether spewing less NO2 or conserving more overall fuel is better that’s an argument worth having. But “defending” a company guilty of regulatory fraud is wrong. We must demand accountability and transparency from the corporate world.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 October 1st, 2015 9:27 am

    Rudi, thanks.

    Glad you understand where I’m coming from on the N02 vs fuel conservation. I thought that was a pretty valid point and I’ve seen nothing about it anywhere.

    Mostly, points for discussion.

    Another thing I’m interested in, which will come out in the wash, is just exactly how much of this was outright fraud and by whom?

    And like I said, it’ll be interesting to see how many of these cars are switched over to lower fuel economy. I suppose the ones in places where they do emissions checks will have to be, but otherwise?

  4. swissiphic October 1st, 2015 9:30 am

    Two sides to the VW coin, imo. Obviously, VW bad for gaming the system . knee jerk reaction: gov regs bad for totally useless non real world testing procedures that are “easy” to beat. thinking it through a bit further: no matter what testing procedures are/were in place, smart people could probably figure out a way to program emissions systems to sense and game them too…like by sensing the smell of the test driver’s hair or something. just sayin.

  5. See October 1st, 2015 10:37 am

    How is it not false advertising if a vehicle can’t legally achieve the performance promised at the time of purchase? I’m not sure a “fix” that degrades fuel economy, acceleration, etc. will solve VW’s legal problems. IMO, if VW can’t bring the offending vehicles into compliance with emissions regulations without requiring that owners make sacrifices in other areas, they should buy them back for the original purchase price.

  6. jay October 1st, 2015 12:39 pm

    Just adding my 2 science cents to the discussion.

    CO2 is thought to be responsible for climate change. Lou, you’re exactly right that decreased fuel consumption indicates less CO2 production and therefore less greenhouse gas. However, as Rudi pointed out, the problematic chemicals produced by VW’s diesels are NOX’s which do not contribute significantly to climate change.

    The problem with both NOX’s and SO2 is that they make strong, toxic acids when they dissolve in water. Since there’s a whole lot of water in our lungs, you do not want to be breathing them. Wikipedia can fill you in on the details if you’re interested.

  7. Bruno Schull October 1st, 2015 1:11 pm

    Hi Lou and others.

    These are all big questions and worthy of discussion. Lou, the way you frame these issues, and your use of sarcasm, seem a little disingenuous. It’s not just that VW pre-modded their engines for performance and fuel economy–they specifically installed software to cheat the test, thus taking a conscious decision to break the law for monetary gain. That software was written and designed for this purpose. There must have been many, many people who knew exactly what was going on. It’s a glaring example of corruption, dishonesty, and theft.

    As to the media hype, of course it’s not the first time this has happened, and VW is not the first company to try to cheat in this way (or other ways), but the scale and depth of their deception is staggering, to me at least, and i don’t consider myself naive. To suggest that their transgression is not as bad as it is being portrayed in the media, because of history and the current corporate and political climate, is an infantile argument (everybody is doing it, or it was done before, so I can do it too). They should be, and I think will be, prosecuted as severely as possible, and it will take a long time for their company to regain trust, profits, and position in the marketplace. As well it should.

    As to the science, I understand what you are saying. It’s an interesting question: how can we compare the relative effects of two vehicles, one with better fuel economy but higher emissions, and one with worse fuel economy but lower emissions? I think the equations would change depending on the vehicle, the speed, and the actual fuel economy and emissions, and so on, but I am sure the data is out there, and it would not be to difficult to model some scenarios. As a larger point, as far as I understand the science if global warming, you are right; even if we could somehow magically cap our greenhouse gas emissions where they are now, global temperatures would continue to rise for decades, because of the time delays built into the system. At least that’s what the models say, and the models have become very accurate.

    However, to use this as an excuse not to regulate emissions, or to dismiss VW’s behavior, is miss-guided. Yes, the emissions that this specific set of diesel vehicles may or may not add to the atmosphere is small, compared to the larger backdrop of global emissions. But the relative contribution of emissions from vehicles, including cars and trucks, is large. As far as I know, transportation accounts for roughly thirty percent of national energy consumption in the US, and, presumably, a similar percentage of emissions in the US and other developed countries. These emissions, I would add, not only contribute to global warming, but have a range of additional effects on the environment, such as acid rain, or negative public health impacts. Regulating tailpipe emissions is thus extremely important.

    As to adding sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere to block solar radiation and reverse global warming, I find that an extremely poor idea. On a purely theoretical basis, these kinds of human interventions almost never work, or, at least, have enormous unforeseen consequences; just think of all of the failed species introduction projects, for example. In this case, some of the questions which come immediately to mind are: how would increased atmospheric sulfur dioxide affect acid rain? How would sulfur dioxide affect oceans and water systems when dissolved? How would sulfur dioxide react with other molecules in the atmosphere? How would sulfur dioxide move through the atmosphere? Would it stay in the troposphere? Would it concentrate at the equator or the poles? What kinds of time delays are built into all these changes? And last, how could we get the “dose” right? After all, if we went to far, we could precipitate a “volcanic winter,” which, in second thought, might be good for skiing!

    I do agree that some kind of engineered approach will be an important part of a solution to global warming, but I lean toward various carbon capture strategies.

    OK, my sermon is over. Thanks for being here and doing what you do, Lou.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 October 1st, 2015 1:53 pm

    Sarcasm, polemic and infantile sophomoric writing on my part, you guys repair the damage with your astute comments (grin). And for the record I have not yet moded our diesel, though I kinda wish I’d bought one of those enhanced VWs. Lou

  9. Bruno Schull October 1st, 2015 2:07 pm

    I think you are just toying with us for your own devious purposes 🙂 By the way, I followed the link to the Ice Maidens…Blimey!

  10. Andy Carey October 1st, 2015 2:50 pm

    Just an aside. Vehicle emissions can cause all kinds of problems. Europe began promoting diesels a few years/decades ago to address some of those problems. An unforseen consequence was increased respiratory dsease in school children–many schools were located near highways or thorough fares. Diesels are highly efficient but operate at very high temperatures and that produces various kinds of emissions but especially soot = particulates of the ideal size for causing respiratory system damage. Once this research came out, many school districts in my State replaced their diesel school buses with ones using other fuels. Europe began increasing its emission standards and as they became more stringent, manufacturers found it difficult to meet them, writing malicious software was the easy answer.

  11. Charlie October 1st, 2015 3:36 pm

    As this is a news post/thread: It would appear that a merger analyst thinks that BD’s sale might not happen. A “mergermarket” tweet appears to have driven down the stock price by ~8%.

    Sale or no sale, it’ll be interesting to see BD is headed.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 October 1st, 2015 3:52 pm

    Charlie, thanks! I wasn’t tracking that this time around. Lou

  13. DavidB October 1st, 2015 5:16 pm

    Must admit it’s fun pulling up next to a VW diesel at the lights and pretending to be choking from their fumes.
    Getting some interesting looks. Try it, it’s fun.

  14. XXX_er October 1st, 2015 6:18 pm

    IME leaving a VW TDi at the trail head in northern BC and having it start at the end of a weekend was a maybe proposition, as for the TDi being cheaper to run it really depended on being a road warrior who was driving lots of kms and the price of diesel being much cheaper than RUG also with only 4″ of GC you won’t be getting far off the highway

    so maybe with some sober second thot you are better off with a gasser, in any case … do the math

  15. Scott Diamond October 1st, 2015 7:25 pm

    I don’t understand your math Lou on possibility of pollution being less. From what I read on Wikipedia the current VWs exceed emissions standards by 15-35 times! Fuel efficiency doesn’t help this. Take a couple of examples:

    A) Current VW – drive 50 miles at 50MPH in 1 hour and consume 1 gallon of diesel

    B) Compliant VW – drive 50 miles at 50MPH in 1 hour and consume 1.3 gallons of diesel

    If we believe what we are told, case A spews 15-35 times more emissions in the atmosphere than case B. Yes it is also more fuel efficient but I don’t see how fuel efficiency helps the math. Am I missing something in your logic?

  16. See October 1st, 2015 9:12 pm

    As to whether those cheater cars are “enhanced” would seem to be a question of whether you consider being a driver more important than being a breather.

  17. ptor October 1st, 2015 11:28 pm

    We should all be driving around in anti-gravity cars by now. The VW thing is another red-herring that’s suckered all you guys into getting all riled up about outdated ‘climate change’ debates. We should be alot more concerned about the ongoing weather/climate warfare and modification of clandestine(yet obvious) metallic oxide aerosol deployment and the use of ionospheric plasmafying electromagnetic antannae.True environmentalists should be lobbying to end this, free the patents hoarded by the military/industrial complex and dismantle the war machine (the biggest polluter of all). This scrimping and saving of the public and ongoing illegal taxations is nonsense when the real problem/threat to planetary wellbeing continues with impunity.

  18. Jernej October 2nd, 2015 12:50 am

    It’s actually quite simple… either you optimise for fuel efficiency and CO2 (what VW did for normal operation) by running leaner mixtures or you optimize for NOx (what the “defeat device” did when triggered by test procedure). You can’t really have both.

    Either way, this isn’t something that happened last week and I seriously doubt it caught VW by surprise. They just couldn’t stall any more. The original study was done last year and judging from this link it probably wasn’t a secret to any regulatory agency either:—is-this-of-interest-

    Is any of it a big deal? Legally yes, they should be accountable for cheating rather than innovating (or just using existing technology like SCR with AdBlue like Citroen/PSA in their 2.0l diesel). But the public reaction in general is utter BS. I bet each owner would rather have lower fuel consumption than lower NOx emissions they know nothing much about.

    I will happily continue to drive my diesel (oh the horror, it’s even pre-DPF!) because it gives me 2-3 l/100km lower fuel consumption compared to the petrol option (that’s about 10-14 MPG in US) for as long as it runs or my needs change to driving only short distances where the petrol/hybrid/electric engines win hands down.

  19. Bruno Schull October 2nd, 2015 5:33 am

    @ptor–that was a marvelous post. Please don’t ever change, and keep fighting the good fight!

    @jernej–I agree that this certainly was not a surprise for VW. They have known about it for years (indeed, since they designed and installed the defeat devices) and have lied at every step, until it was impossible to so so any longer. I also think many people in the industry, as well as the regulators themselves, knew about the problem, and only now have the circumstances changed to create the public awareness and political environment where a response occurred.

    You suggest that VW decided to optimize for fuel economy and carbon dioxide, as opposed to NOx emissions, as if they were choosing between two equally viable options. I would say that VW chose to present their vehicles environmentally friendly as a way to generate sales, dominate the market, and access tax exemptions (to make money) when they knew that their vehicles emitted high levels of pollutants. That’s corrupt, dishonest, and illegal. That’s why I think the consequences VW will face are justified.

    As to the public and media reaction, which you describe as BS, I guess that depends on your values. You wrote, “I bet each owner would rather have lower fuel consumption than lower NOx emissions they know nothing much about.” Thus, you assume that most owners would rather pay less for fuel and have a more polluting car, than pay more for fuel and have a less polluting car.

    I don’t think all consumers would make this choice. For example, I drive a VW, and I bought a gasoline model, knowing that it has lower fuel economy, and that I would pay more for fuel, but that it would emit less pollutants.

    My wife studies public health, in particular, the affects of air pollution on mortality and morbidity, mostly in urban areas. I have seen the data: more pollutants = more death and disease. The fraction of particulate matter that has the strongest affect on human health are the gasses, and the fine and ultra fine particles, generated by combustion processes. These effects are not limited to the respiratory system; there are also systemic effects, which produce cardiovascular events (strokes and heart attacks). There is usually a small time lag between increased levels of pollutants and health outcomes. For example, if air pollution levels rise, a few days later there are more deaths and hospital emissions. It’s very clear, and well documented in the literature. NOx is a significant part these effects, to say nothing of the role that it plays in producing acid rain, smog, and other environmental problems. So I am happy to pay more for fuel, and have a car with less harmful emissions. It’s worth the money to me.

    Basically, if I read your post correctly, you are “happy” to drive your old diesel vehicle because it saves you money over long distances, even though you know that it emit high levels of pollutants. In this sense, you are just like VW. You value money more than clean air.

    I know that sounds preachy and superior, but that’s how I read your post. And of course, I do things every day that are bad for the environment (plastics, energy consumption, international airline travel, paper consumption, food choices, waste, and so on). I’m not trying to take a “holier than thou” attitude, but I do want to try to point out the essence of what you are saying. If I have not interpreted your words correctly, please enlighten me.

  20. Jack October 2nd, 2015 8:08 am

    Lou’s engine chipping and exhaust modifying comments, along with the fuel efficiency argument prompt me to make two comments. First, diesel engines are great if and when they are honestly tested for emissions (for example urea systems used in Europe aren’t in common use in the U.S., might be used more if the testing were better.) Second, diesel mileage has to be discounted by about 30% vs. gas engines when estimating CO2 emissions, as there are more bonds broken and more CO2 emitted per gallon than in gasoline. Third (hahaha), on the road spot checks of tail pipe emissions would yield more accurate emissions estimates and give drivers an incentive to keep it honest. Fourth (of two), the media seem to turn every story into a good guy/bad guy morality play. I guess global warming is just too boring to attract eyeballs.

  21. Bruce Baker October 2nd, 2015 9:20 am

    Lou, I love this blog and you have been a hero of mine since I arrived at Colorado College forty years ago. But this post bummed me out. Caustic, sarcastic, provocative, and erroneous. Please stick to skiing news. It’s why I come here and enjoy your posts so much. I’ll give you a pass on this one. Everyone deserves a second chance, eh?

    It’s a tough time of year for skiers. Please bring the stoke!

  22. Bruce Baker October 2nd, 2015 9:35 am

    My civil, honest comment was censored. Please explain.

  23. Bruce Baker October 2nd, 2015 9:36 am

    Oops. Operator error. My bad.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 October 2nd, 2015 9:54 am

    Hi Bruce, I guess I was having a little too much fun at the keyboard (grin), I’ll take your feedback to heart.

    Your concerns about “censorship” got posted just before I put up this comment. I’ll leave up your comments as responding is a good way to clear the air for everyone about how we run our comments. As you noticed, you simply got held in a moderation tank and were published in just a few minutes. Yes, you were too fast on the draw.

    But everyone, you should all know that quite a few of our legit comments end up in moderation tank due to our aggressive filtering for spam comments. False positives are just the name of the game, as opposed to our comment threads getting attacked. We attempt to be diligent about this and have several people who watch the website nearly 24-7 so your comments don’t get held up too long, but it happens.

    As for comments that are not spam, all you guys are so civil and nice we hardly ever have to block or delete a comment due to profanity or personal attacks. We appreciate that so much, and receive feedback all the time about how useful and pleasant our atmosphere is here at

    In case you guys are curious, what has Lou been up to this morning?

    This morning the issues have been installing more information about our website security, check out our new security info page:

    And I’ve also been on the horn with folks about the Fritschi Vipec Black, which as another commenter mentioned did receive TUV certification. Due to the vagaries of international business, we’ll be testing the Black in December and covering them in detail soon after. They appear to be an excellent upgrade of the Vipec.


  25. Darren Jakal October 2nd, 2015 10:01 am

    Why no outrage over GM faulty ignition that has killed over a 100 people? They knew about this for over a decade.

  26. Bruce Baker October 2nd, 2015 10:08 am

    Thanks Lou, for you thoughtful reply. I’ll back off on the coffee before posting next time!

    Speaking of the Vipec 12 Black: my pair are on their way. Can’t wait to mount em up on my Carbon Converts and share my impressions. Cheers!

  27. George Hayduke October 2nd, 2015 10:36 am

    Whole world runs on diesel, and for good reason. My big old Dodge Cummins 4×4 gets 25+ mpg, and runs like a top with the fuel tank half full of used motor oil, no modifications. Diesel engines can run on all sorts of things (and do well, it’s what they were designed for by Rudolf Diesel whose original ran on peanut oil). My wife has a VW diesel wagon, and it runs great on used veggie and bio, and is a phenomenal vehicle all around. All vehicles are evil planet-killers, no question. But if you can run yours on the inevitable byproducts of our industrial world, so much the better. And if you actually want to be green, don’t EVER buy a brand new vehicle, even (perhaps especially!) an electric (coal-powered) car. The Cummins motor in Dodge pickups regularly go 500k miles, with plenty out there that have gone over a million miles. That longevity, by default, makes them more environmentally friendly than most any other vehicle (at least that one can purchase here in the states). Think of all the inefficient, built-to-fail-SUV’s that will pile up in the junkyard, in those decades while your diesel just cruises along, getting great mileage and running on….whatever.

  28. Jack October 2nd, 2015 11:58 am

    Speaking of heroes, I’m not much of a hero-worshiper and I do, at work, have a b&w plain paper print of Lou descending Denali up on the wall in the “Hall of Heroes”. Its a startup thing. We also have a “Corner of Mediocrity” and a “Wall of Shame”. I’m not in any of those locations and work to stay above mediocrity.

  29. Lou Dawson 2 October 2nd, 2015 1:11 pm

    Hey Jack, thanks! I’ve been under the diesel truck all day putting in the rear winch mongo electrical cable. Nice to be reminded that skiing exists (grin). Lou

  30. Jernej October 3rd, 2015 5:34 am

    Bruno I agree with most of what you said (coincidentally my wife is also in the air polution field) 🙂 but in the end you do what you can with what you have. I had a 92 toyota carina (petrol engine) that I ran until 2 years ago when my wife got crashed into. I would still be using it if I could. I then switched to another toyota (09, pre-DPF diesel) and I will use it for as long as possible. The choice for diesel was obvious. My normal commute/trip is about 100 miles one way with 95% of motorway driving. Under those conditions neither fuel consumption or (possible) emissions advantage favor petrol/hybrid/EV. In the end I believe it is still better, from an environmental point of view, to run a properly maintained older car than buy a new one every few years. But as I said, if my daily drive eventually turns into short distance city driving I won’t hessitate to change to a more suitable car as such conditions kill a modern diesel engine in a very short time.

  31. Eric Steig October 3rd, 2015 9:46 am

    Lou: The “fix climate by injecting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere”, is actually an idea that some in the mainstream scientific community take seriously. I think they are crazy, and it’s an excellent example of the arrogance that scientists can have about their understanding of the complex system our planet is. There have been some excellent recent publications demonstrating that although the basic idea is sound (we can probably cool the planet this way), the risks are huge. The consequences include ocean acidification, ozone depletion, and the likelihood that if we ever run out of the money or will to keep injecting sulphur (which we’d have to do essentially FOREVER), we’ll have sudden warming that will blow your socks off.

    Here is a link to a good summary paper (by an expert):

    and a couple of amusing write-ups about it by the current leader of NASA’s climate division, Gavin Schmidt:

  32. Lou Dawson 2 October 3rd, 2015 10:03 am

    Thanks for chiming in Eric. Yes, I was not joking about the climate engineering. I’ve studied up on it quite a bit as well. I know it’s old news but it still resonates.

    In my opinion much of the resistance is due to the “oh my God we can’t do that!” point of view but you are correct in there are valid arguments against it. It’s actually a classic moral dilemma to some degree as well.

    Thing is, all this stuff about international “agreements” stopping or even slowing down global warming to any significant degree is a bunch of B.S., so what else do we have? I guess you and others are saying we just need to adjust to the consequences, all possible solutions be danged. But what if there was the political will and all these extra-legal “agreements” to drastically halt or slow down GW gas emissions did work? We still get a planet that warms up drastically for a number of years, due to existing gas levels.

    So, since GW is inevitable and might even make ski touring obsolete, how about some climate engineering as an interim solution? As for scientific arrogance about understanding the the complex system of our planet, my gosh, you think there might be a little of that going on with our understanding of climate change as well!? Or are scientists perfect, until they’re not (grin)? I’d also offer that we engineer our planet constantly, in hundreds if not thousands of ways. Hydro power is a pretty good example. As is agriculture, or the eradication of diseases through vaccination and pest control. The way I’m hearing this: it’s ok to get rid of malaria and polio, but we should go ahead and flood New York City even if we have some ways we might prevent that from happening. Or, to really bring it home, how about we (as in us, China and everyone else) dam every river in sight to substitute hydro for coal, and thus climate engineer our way out of this? Or might there be other ways to do climate engineering? Lou

  33. Mike October 3rd, 2015 10:37 am

    It’s blogs like this that make societal changes surround climate change and pollution nearly impossible. When people who have a pedestal to speak from, write extremely ill-informed opinions others take it as educated facts, and these fallacies are perpetrated further.

    The premise of your support of VW is that by increasing NOx emissions, they have reduced the CO2 consumption, and thus made a more environmentally friendly car. CO2, while the major culprit of global warming is not the only greenhouse gas. NO2 for instance, is 298 times more potent than CO2!

    EPA regulation limits cars to NO2 emissions of 0.07g/km travelled. Most cars emit between 150 and 300g CO2/km travelled. Essentially this means that CO2 contributes 10x more than does NO2 to global warming. By having NO2 emissions of 35 times the legal limit, VW would have to make their car get ~3 times better gas mileage to make your argument viable. VW cars are not 3 times more efficient that other non-moded diesel cars.

    In regards to “climate engineering” you can think what you will, but climate is a dynamical system that is extremely sensitive to boundary conditions. What this means is that the slightest difference in variable (temp, humidity, GHG composition) can cause very unpredictable events. The stochastic nature of climate makes it very hard to model accurately, (how often have do you see inaccurate weather forecasts?!?!). The fact that we cannot accurately predict what the weather will be like 3 days from now with decades of previous data to develop models with indicates that developing a model to predict if dumping SO2 into the atmosphere will have beneficial effects will be non-trivial to say the least!

    All of this information took me about 10 minutes to dig up from fairly reputable sources online. When your job is providing content for readers, it is pretty unacceptable to just present your internal musing as potentially being correct when there are very clear, scientific reasons why they are not.

    I normally enjoy your content immensely, and I hope that in future you will put a bit more thought into your posts about such sensitive topics.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 October 3rd, 2015 10:43 am

    Ok, Mike, I’ve been lectured, now, what is your suggested viable actually-will-happen solution to GW? And no equivocation. I want to hear what we can actually get done as a planet community. I want my snow, and I want it 10 years from now. Lou

  35. Bruno Schull October 3rd, 2015 12:14 pm

    Well, I guess this issue certainly generated a lot of comments, mine included. I am going to think about Lou’s question, what can we realistically do right now about GW, and try to formulate a cogent response. But for now two few simple points.

    @ jernej–thanks for your reply. I am somewhat embarrassed by the preachy tone of my comments to you and to Lou. I agree that driving a used car, and taking the time to keep it maintained and going strong, is probably one of the best car-related things you can do to limit your general impact. Good work. I wish I knew more about how to take care of my own car. I sometimes think to myself about what I would be wiling to give up to reduce my environmental impact, or how far I would go to participate in some kind of re-distirbution of wealth to address the great disparities in income and standard of living around the world. New car? Don’t need that. Plasma TV? Don’t have a TV. And so on. Just when I start to feel superior, I think about all the superfluous climbing gear and skis in my basement. I buy too much new stuff to preach to anyone.

    @ Mike. I would be very careful making assumptions about what Lou does or does not understand about science and social issues…I made that mistake once about English grammar, much to my chagrin. Equally, I would be careful discounting the merit or worth of what he has to say. I think Lou could probably teach many people about much more than skiing…to that end, as I said, I will try to come up with some realistic things that we could do, right now, to combat GW.

  36. Bruno Schull October 3rd, 2015 2:44 pm

    I promised an honest response to Lou’s question. Here goes:

    Lou wrote, “…what is your suggested viable actually-will-happen solution to GW? And no equivocation. I want to hear what we can actually get done as a planet community. I want my snow, and I want it 10 years from now.”

    I don’t think there is anything we can do to reverse the trend in GW in the next 10, or probably even 20 or 30 years. We have to think long term. At the same time, I’m not sure that there will be no snow in 10 years…there may just not be snow where there is now. As the atmosphere warms, snow and ice melt, water evaporates, and so on, all that moisture has to go somewhere, and it’s going to build up in the atmosphere. And presumably, in the winter, a portion will fall as snow. Cold areas will probably shift toward the poles, perhaps producing higher snowfall there than at present, and, while it may be warmer and drier for most of the year at lower latitudes, more frequent and intense storms (one of the predictions of GW models) may bring record storms. So there may be lots of snow in certain places or at certain times. But, Lou, I would have to say, I think ski touring is going to look different for our children, and their children.

    OK, but what could we do? Below I tried to offer some conventional ideas, and some crazy ideas. To be honest, they all seem unrealistic to me. But I maintain hope.

    Relevant quote:

    “Talking about the problems of the world without talking about some accessible solutions is the way to paralysis rather than progress.”
    Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

    –Campaign finance reform
    I think it’s integral for any real change to happen to de-link the influence of powerful industries and lobby groups from the political process. This is probably the most unrealistic suggestion on this list, and also perhaps the most important and fundamental.

    –Invest in and support independent media, as above, distanced from economic and political pressure as possible.

    –Invest in basic science education.

    –Preserve the planet’s natural ability to absorb CO2
    Protect forests, particular tropical rain forests
    Protect ocean, particularly open ocean
    (these two ecosystems have the greatest global NPP)

    –Increase the ability of the planet to absorb CO2
    Invest in carbon capture technology
    Grow more pants and trees
    Develop large aquatic “photosynthesis reservoirs”

    –Reduce CO2 emissions
    The easiest things we can do involve improving efficiency with standard technology.
    Raise prices of fossils fuels to reflect environmental impacts and associated costs.
    Invest in renewable energy technology such as solar, wind, hydrothermal, and so on
    Invest in modern and/or alternative energy technology in parts of the world where the population, and thus the energy demand, are projected to grow the most, notably, in Africa, India, and Asia.

    What else could we do?

    Add SO2, or other molecules, to the atmosphere, to block solar radiation. I think this is a bad idea, as I explained above, but it’s an idea, and it deserves consideration.

    Add iron, or other molecules, to the ocean, to encourage the growth of photosynthetic organisms. I think this is also a bad idea, largely for the same reasons listed above, but some people take it seriously.

    –Here in Switzerland, they wrap some glaciers in large silver sheets to prevent summer melting. Maybe that could be expanded to more and larger glaciers. Ha, ha, ha….

    –Likewise, perhaps we could identify parts of the earth with the lowest albedo (that absorb the most heat) and wrap them with reflective material, at least during the times of the year with the highest solar radiation.

    –Dam inlets and waterways at high latitude to present the outflow and subsequent of sea ice, thus maintaining ice cover, and the heat reflecting capability, of the poles.

    –Stabilize ice shelves and calving glaciers at the poles with hard engineering, to accomplish the same goals as above.

    By now, I hope you are falling out of your chairs laughing at these absurd ideas.

    But that itself is an important point; it’s hard to think of realistic solutions.

    Nonetheless, if I, sitting at my computer, in a little over thirty minutes, could list these ideas, how many ideas we generate, collectively, if people were focused on the issue?

    And that would just take a concerted media and education campaign, followed up with a system to test ideas, and fund those most promising.

    So I come back to my original points: politics, media, and education.

    I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

    “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
    Linus Pauling

  37. Jim Milstein October 3rd, 2015 7:38 pm

    Clearly the most effective thing you can do to reduce your effect on the world in general and global warming in particular is to die. Try not to get cremated.

    But seriously folks, my attempt to help was to design and build a 100% passive solar house (in ski country!). Design is key. Every new building could incorporate some level of passive heating and cooling in its design. Buildings use more than forty percent of America’s energy budget. That could be much less with a little attention.

  38. aemono October 3rd, 2015 7:46 pm

    Try not having a’ll feel a good deal less guilty about the ski-climb gear.

    Winston Churchill (not a guy i admire especially) early in the twentieth century said something like: “the car will be the curse of the twentieth century”..

    I know a lot of people feel they need a car, to get to work/kids to school etc, and maybe some people really do need a car..but let’s face it, most of us don’t.

    Humans have some rational capacity..but are not especially rational beings.

    We don’t even need to go as far as AGW..just in terms of immediate health-damaging pollution, cars are unacceptable. In a single day an average car will pollute more than a smoker may do in a lifetime. Over the last twenty years we’ve banned smoking all over the supposedly advanced Western world (and elsewhere) what about cars? (thanx to for the simile)

    Lou’s sharp neighbour up the road, MrMoneyMustache, has been spelling it out to middle-class America for years hilariously caustically and brutally in terms of math and finance just why it doesnt need a car..but middle-class America doesnt get it. Assholism.

    Climate science achieved considerable solidity in the 1980s. James Hansen spelled it out to Congress in 1988. Congress didnt get it. Or rather they did..and a number of Congressmen&women and countless other industry hacks spent the next twenty years and billions of dollars muddling the science and -especially- the public perception of it. Some are still working in this line (see above). Recently a
    Trump fan asked Donald if he was going to meet Francis during THE visit, and the Donald replied “you know this guy believes in global warming..heh heh”.. Even the outside possibility that you might elect this man to be your president in 2016, what does it say about you?

    Can we have faith in human intelligence?

    Even if a couple hundred million peeps stopped driving their cars in Europe and N.America over the next few years, what difference would it make? (Won’t happen, but it might make for a lot of healthier people to begin with..could buy more sets of fancy skis and bindings too). As Lou would tell you, several hundred million Asians are going to start driving cars in the next decade or so..and no, despite major advances in environmental awareness in some Asian countries, where large swathes of population will still pay serious money for tiger penis products and believe that ivory can be harvested from elephants without harming won’t get peeps to pass on buying cars because of AGW, educating them is going to take..a while. If in thirty years many Americans and Europeans have learned nothing..

    Even when information is presented to us very clearly as factual and undeniable – even when we know something to be the case – we are often incapable of making logical and rational decisions based on that information alone. Look at smoking again, the classic paradigm. How many humans have continued to smoke for decades even when they knew it was damaging or killing them? Or how many of us have decided to take a chance on that slope, knowing that it was dodgy? The emotional aspect of human decision-making cannot be underestimated.

    If we had taken action thirty years ago..instead of trying to brush it under the carpet. But we didnt.. Issues of guilt or responsibility aside, where does that leave us now?

    Like MMM, Bill Gates spells out the climate change equation for us very clearly with brutal math. Carbon emissions have to go to zero very soon. (“Innovating to zero” on TED, for anyone who’s interested). At this point it’s really not going to happen because people stop using energy, or drive less, fly less, whatever. Gates is focused on a techno solution, he thinks it can be done. But even if his alternative nuclear solution or some other such comes about, and massive leaps in carbon capture tech as well, we are still committed to continuing GW for, at best, decades.

    I want my snow too, and i would like to have it in ten or even twenty years from now. (And thirty or forty so that my son and millions of others could enjoy it..and so on).

    I also want cleaner air to breathe right now..for me and everybody else. And i dont see anything acceptable about VW’s cynicism. Or that of a bunch of other car companies.

    But you don’t always get what you want.

  39. Al t October 3rd, 2015 10:41 pm

    I stumbled on to this thread after asking a ski question. Oh well, might as well pitch in. I belong to npg (negative population growth). I think they put it best. Nothing we do, not technology, lifestyle changes, nothing, will save us from the coming environmental Armageddon if we do not control our numbers. The u.s. has 322 million people and is growing like a third world country (we’re also the worst contributors to gw per capita). The world has 7.2 billion people and another 2 billion are expected in the next 20 years. These numbers are completely incompatible with long term sustainability no matter how we live or drive or do anything else. Unlimited growth, the mantra of modern civilization, on a finite planet, is not only madness, but in the end will be self limiting. And it won’t be pretty. Hell, it ain’t that pretty now.

  40. Bruno Schull October 3rd, 2015 11:35 pm

    Here are two broad questions to stimulate debate:

    1) What will ultimately work best, or what is more realistic for human nature? A technology solution to fix what we have done, or a change in our behavior?

    2) Which is the bigger problem? Population growth, or the amount per capita impact of individuals? Or, to put it another way, which is the more important issue? Overpopulation or overconsumption?

    Big questions….

  41. Al t October 4th, 2015 12:02 am

    It’s not popular but starting with the numbers is the only honest way to look at this. Half the worlds population lives on less than 5$/day. That’s a Big Mac attack to us. The planet simply cannot support this number of people living even a greatly scaled back American lifestyle. The average person reading wildsnow has more wealth tied up in old ski boots than the average person on earth owns in total. Sorry. We either lighten the ship through an orderly, fair,manner or the ship goes down with all hands. Anything else is just arranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

  42. aemono October 4th, 2015 4:57 am

    I think Al t pretty much nails it..and unfortunately we’ve been busily engaged in arranging the deck-chairs for some time now.

    We talk of internet bubbles, real estate bubbles, chinese bubbles..but the truth is there’s really just one very big bubble..

    You could call it the capital bubble or the technology bubble or the infinite growth bubble or the bubble created by the ape who came down from his doesnt matter very much.

    It will suffer the fate of all bubbles.

    Ironies of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilisation? The fat guy with the funny hair laughs at the guy with the funny lil white hat (and tells him that someone else is gonna “get” him), because the guy with the funny little hat seems to understand some part of the bigger picture that the fat funny-hair guy doesnt get..but at the same time the funny-hat guy is totally against what might be the only solution to the aforementioned bigger problem, birth control. Funny-hair guy has a hundred million fans. Funny-hat gut has almost a billion. Simultaneously the leaders of the planet’s most populous nation, who appear to have recently come round to realising the environmental challenges they face, have just decided to relax their strict population control favour of bolstering infinite growth.

    Is there any way out of this madhouse?

  43. ptor October 4th, 2015 6:33 am

    I guess Al t and Aemono haven’t watched the movie ‘Thrive’ yet.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 October 4th, 2015 7:09 am

    Nice job on this, all of you. Apologies for any comments that got delayed by our agro filtering. Necessary evil… we’re up at WildSnow Field HQ, doing some logging but encouraging nice meadow grass ecology, probably a wash in terms of GW though perhaps a tree without lush grass underneath is better than a thickly grown meadow without a tree above it? And the truck is parked, at least for a little while (grin). I still think the only way out of the GW mess is going to be a technological fix, and the fix will be motivated when dire consequences exceed the civilized world’s desire or ability or money for adaptation. Agree that a change in human nature and behavior is truly best, I totally agree on that, I just don’t think it’s a realistic thing. As for glaciers, I’ve seen them rolling out the white blankets in Europe, apparently it is not uncommon, we saw them doing it at Hinter Tux to preserve their glacier snow. A good example of adaptation. Build industrial tourism that is carbon intensive, then preserve the snow with a blanket! Whatever works, I guess… Not pretty, but reality bites. Focusing on my own little selfish world of skiing, you can bet Aspen is going to wish they’d built more lifts up to the high peaks around town, instead of on the brush hills around town where snow cover has always been iffy, and now is much more so, an easily observed result of GW — we watch it rain on those slopes much more often than it used to, and here at our cabin as well. Lou

  45. Lou Dawson 2 October 4th, 2015 7:20 am

    Politics and religion on, keep it related somehow to snow and skiing, perhaps with humor, seems to work. But we are now dancing on the edge of that guy’s pointy hat (grin). Lou

  46. aemono October 4th, 2015 8:01 am

    Ptor, i did actually try to watch that “movie” some years ago (and if i’m not mistaken it was on your recommendation!) i remember it had some interesting content but i didnt make it to the end..probably because i lost interest in movie fiction many years ago, and there seemed to be a good deal of fiction in this purported document.

    I don’t know if you are aware of it but ten people who are interviewed/appear prominently in Thrive, the movie – all respected public figures, authorities in one field or another including Deepak Chopra, Vandana Shiva etc – have distanced themselves publicly from the final result, going so far as to sign a public statement disassociating themselves from it and classifying it as conspiracy theory.

    If you are interested look here at John Robbins’ very cogent critique:

    The principal people behind Thrive dont exactly come across well.

    Blaming others – particularly a mysterious and evil “them” – for our problems is not likely to produce useful solutions. And at worst it tends to result in “Die Endlösung” (The Final Solution) type of solutions.

  47. aemono October 4th, 2015 8:15 am

    Sorry Lou for spieling on the politiko-religios..and other apparently un-ski stuff. Yeah i’d prefer to keep it to snow and skiing too, but the world’s not that simple i guess..and, as in your expressed desire for snow in ten years, it really is all connected.

    PS i meant no disrespect to Francisco (funny hat “gut” was unintentional, you might change it to “guy” if you want) – in fact i, like Mr T, think this bridgemaker is a real cool guy..even resembling what a Christian was originally supposed to be. The “gut” is all for Mr T..

    i’m outta here!

  48. Eric Steig October 4th, 2015 8:40 am

    Sorry but I have to respond to Lou’s response to my points about geoengineering:

    “As for scientific arrogance about understanding the the complex system of our planet, my gosh, you think there might be a little of that going on with our understanding of climate change as well!?”

    Actually, no. Your completely off base here. There is nothing “arrogant” about having a great deal of confidence in the basic science of radiative transfer, which has been known since the time of Fourier (nearly 200 years ago). The way to reverse this is to reduce carbon emissions. Yes, that’s politically and economically difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Trying to “engineer” our way out of these facts doesn’t change the facts.

    To give you an analogy that might resonate: building the original Dynafit is one thing. Trying to “fix” it by adding rotating toe units, making the pins adjustable, and making it telemark-compatible… that’s quite something else. It might be possible, but you probably should start with having a clue about what you’re doing…

    By the way, you needn’t worry so much; we are still going to have snow in 10 years. And in 50. I just wouldn’t buy a cabin at low- elevation ski area, nor stock in companies that own such areas. (Indeed, this may be why the folks that own the “Cypress Mountain” business up in the Vancouver area are evidently trying to sell.)

  49. Al t October 4th, 2015 9:53 am

    Allow me to try to integrate

    If ur going to wrap something in plastic- make it a male member. It won’t save the glaciers in the end anyway.

    Get rid of religion- worship only the snow gods. A basic tenant of most religions is “outbreed the competition”, subjugation of women, and the planet is here for us to wreck as we wish until the big kahuna comes back. It’s time we dropped the ignorance, superstition and bigotry that has held human kind back for centuries.

    Speaking of women- here’s the corner stone. Empower and educate them. Strong women have a say in how many kids they have, how their $ is spent, what kind of world we live in. Take ur daughters skiing and encourage them to go to college and be independent.

    A study a few years ago showed the biggest difference between blue and red states wasn’t trucks vs Prius, it was early marriage, early kids and early divorce combined with low education of women. It’s true all over the world.

    Here’s some evidence about numbers. I live in central Idaho. I don’t get checked for emissions. The air is clean. Not because I live correctly, but because there aren’t that many of us (although I think it’s packed with Californians). Boise and SLC (where I was a ski patroller for years) test everybody and the air is filthy and always will be. Too many emitters.

    There’s no logical reason for anyone to have more than 2 kids-ever. U will not only take better care of them (more ski trips!) but they’ll grow up in a world that they’ll thank us for instead of one they blame us for. Get rid of all the artificial supports we’ve put in place to encourage people having large families (another vistage of religion and our primitive past).

    Oh yeah, anybody want to tell me if the Denali is a good replacement of my old Manaslus? I try not to buy stuff I don’t need even though that’s bad for the economy and all.

  50. Jim Milstein October 4th, 2015 11:03 am

    To Al regarding Denali skis. Reviews here and elsewhere suggest the Denalis are good skis, but more fragile than average. I have been skiing on Manaslus and like them, but not so much on hard snow. I have considered Denalis but recently sprang for the Dynastar Mythics. I hope Bob Perlmutter and all the others who really like them have steered me well. I’ll be back here to report after I’ve had some time on them, . . . if it ever snows again.

  51. Al T October 4th, 2015 8:30 pm

    Thanks man. I had not considered the dynastar line. Another poster suggested the Cham hm 97, which I had never heard of, but it has good reviews also as a touring ski. Keep us posted as to ur experience on ur model.

    Afa snowing again, I went for a long mtb bike today. It has rained a bunch the last couple days and it was cold. Based on this one data point, I can assure u with complete confidence, that gw is a hoax and this will be a great winter. Party on.

  52. ptor October 5th, 2015 1:47 am

    Sorry Aemono for assuming you hadn’t seen that film. I am aware that those folks, including John Robbins, were taken aback by the final result of the film and renounced their allegiance to it… but so what. They were in the film because they have great things to say and add to our awareness but who ever said that they were the bastions of truth and knowledge themselves. John Robbins’ piece (which the Thrive people happily posted on their own site) very eloquently misuses the notion of ‘personal responsibility’ and not blaming the external world for the ‘worlds’ problems as you also point out..which is actually the worse form of denial. He obviously also hasn’t gained enough knowledge and experience to realize the veracity of the contents of the film. For example David Icke is spot on and anyone that read his books 20 years ago has certainly grokked this by now. Very few people are aware of the research of Nassim Haramein or what has been ongoing in the realm of ‘free energy’ research and suppression. I’ve seen it personally, flying around in the night skies around J-tree and Nevada. Yes there is very ‘fantastical’ stuff in the film that calls for the viewer to take leaps of understanding and rightly so because so much scientific knowledge is withheld from the mainstream. It takes time to know!
    There is a very dark part to our world (the reality of this is well beyond theory for anyone who cares to deal with this and can go beyond that silly new age axiom of blaming yourself for everything) and although we absolutely need to begin changing ourselves first, naivete and denial of the deeper workings behind the scenes must be addressed. This understanding should be the pillar of our own personal actions and impetus for change. Like I said…there are non-democraticly created catastrophies going on with impunity that are extremely grave for ‘us’ and ‘them’ whether people change their lifestyles and have less kids or not. Basing the future of all geopolitical manifestations on a politically correct CO2 THEORY and the false assumption that the planet is warming out of control (that refuses to be publicly debated anywhere but on blogs and especially by ‘high priest’ Gore….and don’t give me that righteousness of the UN crap or that Bill Gates is actually some benevolant philanthropist) is a deliberate hijacking of green hearts to propagate the wrong solution by demanding irrelevant legislation. Problem, reaction, solution.
    An excellent Italian documentary here below worth seeing on the subject of the undemocratic, clandestine yet obvious influence on ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ and the workings of ‘shadow’ government… if you can deal with the translation of subtitles and a rapid-fire style of presentation. How can there be any accurate scientific analysis of ‘climate change’ while ignoring this? I see it regularly in the sky where I live in France and there is actually legal action against the EPA in the US right now on this very subject. So if human actions are influencing winters and the snow we enjoy, we definitely won’t get to the bottom of it all without dealing with this first ….

  53. Jim Milstein October 5th, 2015 9:02 am

    To Al regarding the Dynastar candidate skis. I think the HM 97 and the Mythic are geometrically very similar if not identical. The Mythic is much lighter than the HM 97, almost the same weight as the Manaslu.

  54. Al T October 5th, 2015 10:50 am

    Hey lou- r u going to look at the dynastar line up for touring? I’m probably way behind the crowd when it comes to knowledge about them (and most everything else it would seem) but on paper they look promising.

  55. cv October 6th, 2015 11:28 pm

    Wow, some well thought out and researched opinions on this topic
    . I just wanna sound out on how cool the ski train sounds. I have never heard of that thing in my life and wow! and a Blaskappele band to boot.
    Ski Heil,

    PS; I gotta stop reading about skiing, the bucket list only grows!

  56. ptor October 7th, 2015 12:35 am
  57. See September 4th, 2016 8:44 pm
  58. Lou Dawson 2 September 5th, 2016 8:05 am

    Terrific link See, thanks.

    It’s always hilarious reading the eastern editorial city take on what the rednecks do out west. OMG!

    Guns were of course mentioned. Can’t leave that out!

    Yes, it’s bogus when these guys drive around the streets, but what they do at competition pulls is about as worrisome as the price of tea in Anchorage.

    A bigger threat out here in flyover land is people who don’t stop at stop signs. The cops can enforce existing laws to shut that practice down, but they’ve given up. They’re probably spending all their time chasing coal rollers!

    I’m serious. We have a weird situation now in that drivers don’t stop at stop signs unless they see some reason to, then they use confusing hand gestures to try and egg each other on through, with no regard to normal 4-way intersection right-of-way laws. If you’re a pedestrian, they’ll gesture to you to go, even when traffic is headed at you and could take you out.

    Meanwhile, the cops are out chasing coal rollers.


  59. Bruno Schull September 5th, 2016 12:23 pm

    Lou wrote, “It’s always hilarious reading the eastern editorial city take on what the rednecks do out west. OMG!”

    Do I detect a small measure of sarcasm and gentle mocking directed at those hopeless editors marooned on the island of Manhattan? Fair enough.

    Full disclosure: I grew up in Greenwhich Village NYC, in the 1970’s and 80’s, in a progressive, democratic, some might say outrageous environment…and then I lived for over ten years in….Berkeley, California, another bastion of liberal thought. It’s enough to make a proud red neck get in his coal roller and head for the high country.

    At the same time, I worked for a while in the Rocky Mountains, in wilderness areas, and I appreciate those places a great deal.

    Thus, I agree with this second editorial from the New York Times about bike access in wilderness areas:

    Reading that article, I get the feeling that the movement to open wilderness to bicycles is at least partly about federal vs. local control, a kind of disguised anti-big government power play. I wonder how many of the politicians supporting this bill actually want to ride bikes in wilderness areas…or whether they simply object to the idea of wilderness…or the idea of the federal government operating in their backyard…or they simply see an opportunity to attack the current government…or they just want to secure some power and support for themselves by making this an issue.

    My view is probably obvious. As I said, I am a product of my environment, a liberal, democratic, downtown, New Yorker, crossed with a West Coast commie hippie 🙂

    Keep that land protected, as much as possible, for as long as possible!

  60. ptor September 5th, 2016 1:19 pm

    @Bruno – Funny how the author (of a seemingly Agenda 21 hit-piece) alludes to the point of protected wilderness as a reminder of pre-columbus times as if nobody was there. Without the greatest genocide in history, the protected ‘wildernesses’ would still be part of somebody’s home, hunting ground, or sacred land. Perhaps if we could time travel with a nice Santa Cruz Bronson back 500 years, the kosherness of mountainbiking along with horses on the same trail could be answered. “America’s disappearing wild heritage” has everything to do with man because man has always been part of nature.

  61. Bruno Schull September 5th, 2016 2:13 pm

    @ ptor–I agree with you in some respects. The “noble savage” myth that Native American Indians (or any other native people) somehow lived in blissful harmony with the environment is demonstrably false; consider, for example, the disappearance of most megafauna shortly after humans arrived on any continent or island. For as long as humans have existed, we have used, exploited, modified, and disrupted our environment. It’s for precisely this reason that I support strict laws that protect habitat, and, by extension, wildlife, and, by extension…the earth. There is little or nothing about human history, or human nature, that leads me to believe we would do a good job of managing any loosening of restrictions on wilderness areas. On the contrary, should the wilderness act be weakened, I anticipate that decisions about land use would generally be dominated by the loudest, richest, most powerful or politically connected individuals or groups, in any area, and that the land, and the wildlife, and the “wildness” would be gradually weakened, and eventually destroyed. In fact, I think that’s going to happen anyway, but I think it will happen more slowly if wilderness legislation remains intact. Ultimately, I think that the earth will be largely composed of heavily-managed, costly-to-maintain, less-diverse, less-robust version of “wilderness” gradually replaying true wilderness, like the land found in much of Europe, including Switzerland, where I live. That’s probably the best we can hope for. A kind of imitation of wilderness, our best attempt to re-create nature, after destroying it. Ourselves, of course, a part of nature. As Lou is fond of saying, it’s nuanced.

  62. Bruno Schull September 5th, 2016 2:17 pm

    @ ptor–forgot to add, the Santa Cruz Bronson is a sweet bike. I have ridden and raced bikes of all kinds–road, touring, track, cyclecross, and mountain bikes–for most of my life. I love mountain biking. My current ride is a full suspension rig made by Transiton, a neat company from Bellingham, Washington. I’m considering ordering a Soulcraft steel hardtail. You can’t have too many mountain bikes in the garage…even if you don’t ride them in wilderness areas 🙂

  63. See September 5th, 2016 6:32 pm

    I wonder what’s up with many aspects of civic life these days, Lou. Out here on the left coast, I see drivers counting on everyone else to stop so that they can blast through intersections without stopping. It’s a symptom of a larger epidemic of selfishness, in my opinion.

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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