An ongoing issue in Southern Colorado is that of massive development near tiny Wolf Creek ski area. Developer Billy Joe “Red” McCombs wants to build commercial space and housing for up to 10,500 people near the base of the resort. The situation seems like something dreamed up by a guy in treatment who missed his meds, but it’s real. In a recent development, a lawsuit between the ski area and developer has been settled. No doubt an important event in this saga, but final outcome still unknown.
As backcountry skiers we’re always interested in climate change issues. To that end, while visiting Crested Butte a few weeks ago I swiped a copy of “progressive” Mother Jones Magazine from my loving — and liberal — mother.
‘Jones has always intrigued me, as they do have some good writing with a left slant. The May/June book I ended up with is their green issue. What I like about their take on global warming is it differs from other progressive rags in being, in my opinion, much more intellectually honest (if you ignore the tiresome anti-corporate whine). Good example is a piece covering nuclear power.
In “The Nuclear Option,” Judith Lewis asks “…can nuclear power rescue our warming planet? And if you answered quickly, answer this too: Are you for or against because you know the science, or because someone said you should be?”
Lewis goes on to really line things out, including the facts about what nuclear powered France does with their waste (answer: they process some of it, store some of it, and dump quite a bit of nasty stuff in the ocean — all with associated and serious problems.)
But my favorite article in the Mother Jones green issue is ‘7 Myths of Energy Independence.’ Here you’ll find a nicely detailed take on how changing our energy economy to domestic supply (with emphasis on renewables) is actually dependent on oil — specifically foreign oil. More, you’ll also find a realistic view of just how incredibly difficult and tricky this change is (which is one reason I always question it as the “solution” to climate change.) Worth a read.
Hey, what’s happening with our friends up in the Great Northwest? For the answer, check out their snowpack. Roadtrip?
Big backcountry skiing news here in Colorado is 10th Mountain Huts, after learning their USFS special use permit for a new hut would doubtless be denied, has chosen to withdraw their application for for a proposed hut. Main issue appears to be locating the hut in Lynx habitat, but area residents opposed the hut as well and had an influence.
We’re of the opinion that this result is flat out bogus. We believe non-motorized non-industrial recreation is essential to the fabric of Western life, even at the expense of what’s really just an experiment in Lynx biology. But Lynx worship is the law of the land, and it seems if you live near public land you somehow get to decide how the rest of us will use it. So there you go. That said, beyond possibly helping Lynx it sounds more like the nimbys got their way by playing the enviro card. Sad. I hope the residents who opposed the hut enjoy their own residency on former lynx habitat… Or perhaps they’ll scrape their houses and donate their land to the Nature Conservency for a Lynx preserve?
Meanwhile, 10th Mountain has vast financial and human resources for hut building, but they seem to be having a problem finding locations.
Is there a solution for 10th Mountain’s dilemma? First, they probably need to forget using National Forest and look for private parcels they can buy and build. Thus avoiding much of USFS and nimby power you open yourself up to when going for a special use permit on public land. More, to avoid restrictive land use regulations perhaps they need to think outside the box in terms of design. For example, how about huts on wheels?
More news from west of here involves USFS use permits: A Boise Idaho man wants to do private helicopter skiing in the Sawtooth National Forest. His application was denied and he’s appealing — for the third time. Has the guy never heard of Dynafit ski bindings? Or, with the money he’s spending on lawyers he could easily hire a couple of Exum guides to tow him uphill on shortrope, throw in a ski lesson, and even make lunch! But then, he’d probably need a special use permit for that too…
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.