Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | April 4, 2007      

Another group avalanche tragedy is in the news. In Canada, a guided party with two dead and several injured. I can’t say I’m immune to exposing more than one person at a time to avalanche hazard. Sometimes it hard to split your group up enough to always follow the “one at a time” rule to the letter. On the other hand, I still think way to many avalanche accidents involve more than one person from the same group. Makes me want to do a better job of minding my own menagerie, I hope others get the same inspiration.

Also in Canada, environmental groups opposing skiing are apparently stirring up some chuckles. According to a pithy article, one group (ForestEthics) accused Victoria’s Secret of raping caribou habitat to print its catalogues. By bringing the popular Victoria babes into the picture, the group generated a good buzz and raised lots of money. The question remained, however, of how much the catalog really affected caribou. Probably not much.

Continuing on the skiing environmental front, it’s said that many ski resorts continue to reinvent themselves as 4-season recreation centers. This article about the trend doesn’t mention climate change, but one can only wonder if some resorts are actually acting on the common consensus that the climate is warming and that lower elevation ski resorts may experience a shortened snow season as a result. In the ski industry, probably the biggest talker about global warming is the Aspen Skiing Company (ASC), which operates the Aspen area ski areas near here. At this time they appear to think global warming can be stopped by buying wind power and doing political activism. In my view they’re sadly mistaken, and should prepare for the inevitable. Thus, it’ll be interesting to watch and see if ASC ramps up their year-around resort emphasis and starts dumping significantly more money into non-snow use of their mountains. Alpine slide, anyone?


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13 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. wolfy April 4th, 2007 9:39 am

    Funny line about fact-challenged urbanites. I know of a lot of enviro/liberals who know nothing about getting themselves opted out of direct marketing mailings. It is possible and if more of us did it we’d be better off. But it’s easier to make a donation and set the catalogs out with the New Belgium bottles. You have to jump through hoops, but start with the Direct Marketing Association @ But even PataFREAKINGgonia mails out a flashy catalog, and not a half naked twiggie to be seen! Local papers usually send out coupons to non-subscribers, and will take you off the list at your request. Valpak and Shopwise are tougher nuts to crack, but it can be done.

    Anyone who reads a blog probably doesn’t need to be getting that stuff.


  2. skiakl April 4th, 2007 12:25 pm

    The article about Jumbo is full of critical omissions, and twists the truth about this issue to the point of having no credibility. It totally ignores the long-term local opposition to Jumbo resort, and it doesn’t mention that one of the key reasons for that opposition is loss of very critical grizzly habitat.

    And, regardless of what p.r. campaign style this or that organization uses, the fact of the matter is that logging in B.C. is having a significant impact on mountain caribou survival. Those caribou require the lichen that grow in old growth forest for feed, as well as the protection old growth canopy cover provides that does not exist in second growth plantations.
    You can do your anti-enviro, global warming questioning, rants if you want to, but before you comment about credible issues in British Columbia, I’d recommend doing some research rather than blindly cheerlead for the pro-development movement. There’s more to these stories than you seem able to accept, Lou.

  3. dave downing April 4th, 2007 1:32 pm

    “Thus, it’ll be interesting to watch and see if ASC ramps up their year-around resort emphasis and starts dumping significantly more money into non-snow use of their mountains. Alpine slide, anyone?”

    Snowmass has been building up their summer programs and activities heavily for the last few years at least.

    As for the alpine slide, YES!

    and remember everyone: LOU FOR PREZ!

  4. Lou April 4th, 2007 3:14 pm

    skiakl, where in today’s blog do I question global warming? Get your head out of the clouds, most everyone agrees the climate is warming, including me. Just because I enjoy questioning the PC view doesn’t mean I can’t be practical.

    I’m getting tired of people assuming the argument (or “conversation” if you will) is about “questioning” global warming. It’s moved past that. What I enjoy writing about is what do we do about it, and what are ski resorts doing about it? Is that not something we need to bring up now and then?

  5. Chris April 5th, 2007 1:39 pm

    Lou, seriously, when have you ever addressed what to do about global warming other than to say “prepare for the inevitable” or some version of “there’s nothing we can do about it, so why bother?”

    its your blog, write what you want, but “questiong the PC view” is worth a hill of beans if you can’t suggest an alternative course of action.

    And if carping about those who ARE”do nothing” is your course of action , than

  6. Ryan April 5th, 2007 2:10 pm

    Lou, your right Aspen cant single handedly stop global warming but if they help to inspire others to think globally as well they can make an impact. Way too many companys/consumers out there have the same out look as you “prepare for the inevitable” and are just wasting away are envirment in order to save afew dollars.

  7. skiakl April 5th, 2007 6:54 pm

    “Where in today’s blog do I question global warming?” It isn’t in this specific blog, but if I re-read your “enviro rants” I think I’d come to the same conclusion as have Chris and Ryan. You may not be a deny-er, but you haven’t exactly been supporting reduction of fossil fuel consumption.
    Your right to think what you want, of course, but lots of people see that if each individual citizen does something, we will create positive change. Lots of people are doing it now, not waiting til our kids are adults, like our politicians seem to want to do.
    Otherwise, I still think the Jumbo article stunk because it was full of half-truths and anti-enviro bull. But whatever, it’s my right to think that ’cause I live free too!!

  8. Lou April 5th, 2007 7:09 pm

    So, I’ve redeemed myself as not being a denyer but we’re now playing the I’m greener (holier) than you are game? I won’t go there, but will say we might be less consumptive of a family than you think. As always, this stuff somehow reminds me of religion…

    As for the Jumbo article being crummy, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion and I’m happy you can voice it here.

  9. Lou April 5th, 2007 7:39 pm

    Chris, my view is that we indeed should pursue alternative energy to some degree, be wise in our consumption and so forth. But I feel that the process of global warming can’t be stopped and that adaptation is key. As for Aspen (the city, not the ski company) being a leader — it’s easy to play around with feel-good stuff when you’ve got a $140,000,000 yearly city budget for a population of 6,000 people ($23,000 per person per year, by the way). As for podunk USA looking at that as an example, I don’t think so.

    Let’s put it this way. At least 40 percent of Aspen’s carbon is from private jets (not sure if that’s total carbon or transportation carbon, but you get the point). They’ve done NOTHING to limit the use of private jets, while harassing commuters to no end with parking restrictions and artificial traffic jams. Those facts alone should make anyone realize that Aspen’s “leadership” in carbon reduction is a sham and simply another example of the poor and middle class bearing the brunt of government whims.

    If Aspen was serious and as populist as they seem to see themselves, they’d immediately start buying a few thousand high mileage cars every year and give them away to commuters. Then they would cut private jet travel to and from the town by at least 75%. That would show some leadership.

    Okay, there you go, something concrete from me. Your turn. How exactly is the world going to reduce carbon emission by 50% in just a few years, which as far as I can research is the only way to stop global warming?

    And give us something more than “thinking globally.” Thinking is great, but…

  10. skiakl April 6th, 2007 7:23 am

    It’s nothing to do with “I’m greener than you”, or eco-religion or anything like that, Lou. C’mon, you’re asking for feedback and people are offering it!! Lighten up!

  11. Lou April 6th, 2007 9:44 am

    Okay skiakl, always good advice to lighten up, I’ll do so. It is kind of a grim subject… nice to get out and enjoy life. Along the lines of humor, I was laughing this morning because I never noticed that the title of this post had the word “New” instead of “News.”

  12. Julin Maloof April 6th, 2007 3:55 pm

    The fact that there is currently no “magic bullet” leads to the perception that there is nothing that can be done about CO2 emissions. There was an interesting article published in Science a few years ago suggesting that if instead of waiting for a magic bullet we combined all of our current technology that we could solve the climate change problem for the next 50 years. If true that would buy us some time to really develop a more comprehensive energy solution. Food for thought. I paste the abstract below and link for the full article at the bottom (unfortunately you may need a subscription or affiliation with a University to access the full article).

    Science 13 August 2004:
    Vol. 305. no. 5686, pp. 968 – 972

    Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies

    S. Pacala and R. Socolow

    Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical, and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half-century. A portfolio of technologies now exists to meet the world’s energy needs over the next 50 years and limit atmospheric CO2 to a trajectory that avoids a doubling of the preindustrial concentration. Every element in this portfolio has passed beyond the laboratory bench and demonstration project; many are already implemented somewhere at full industrial scale. Although no element is a credible candidate for doing the entire job (or even half the job) by itself, the portfolio as a whole is large enough that not every element has to be used.

  13. Lou April 8th, 2007 6:54 am

    Julin, indeed, if one does some web research they can find all sorts of proposed grand-scale scientific and industrial solutions to global warming. It’s been interesting to me that these are so infrequently mentioned by folks such as Gore and his fans. If the problem is so serious that it will cause a worldwide disaster of the likes we’ve never seen, one would think we would be looking to do something drastic such as a space shield, rather than muddling around for years with alternative energy sources while, for example, China and India ramp up their C02 production.

    And… not that alternative energy and conservation are inherently bad or anything like that, but solving the problem that way could take decades, and according to Gore we probably don’t have that much time.

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