National Forest officials in Wyoming just affirmed a controversial decision to allow the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to continue guiding clients on Teton Pass, with increased use numbers. Many local backcountry skiers are opposed to the decision. They feel it’s a “foot in the door” deal wherein the ski resort could continue increasing its use level, and thus crowd out the locals. Seems like a question of balance to me, since increased guiding will also employ more locals — and continue the evolution of Jackson as the “American Chamonix.”
Indeed, what ensures the perpetuation of mountain culture and alpinism more than a viable guiding economy? My prediction is that the locals will learn to work with the increased guiding, and a high volume of guiding will become part of Jackson’s amazing alpine ethos (if it’s not already) — and perhaps they’ll build more and better parking on the pass.