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.
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.