If you are a backcountry skier, you can’t help but notice the brouhaha surrounding Paul Poulin and Alan Ritter’s alleged illegal trail cutting near Jay Peak ski area. What they are said to have done appears to have definitely gone overboard. Yet while looking at the news reports and chat room comments I can’t help but notice a rather shrill condemnation of their actions. This considering the fact that ski areas cut down trees all the time, not to mention the long-standing Northeastern tradition of skiers “cutting” trails on various mountainsides. More, anyone remember where most of our older ski resorts came from in the first place? Answer: Locals went out and cut trails, with or without “official” sanction. It appears Poulin and Ritter simply took the tradition a bit too far and don’t deserve to be lynched. They’ve pled not guilty, so perhaps the whole thing is a tempest in a tea pot?
Perhaps I’m a lone voice crying in the vast wilderness of trees on Jay Peak, but I’ve got sympathy for these guys. News reports.
|The latest iteration of Chris Davenport’s new 14er book just came in for our perusal. Above is another sample to whet your hunger — shot on Long’s peak during one of Dav’s attempts at skiing the ever elusive one. Publication is still scheduled for around Christmas.|
And whew, how many ski films can you watch? In the tradition started years ago by the likes of Warren Miller and his predecessor John Jay, all the footy masters are “hucking” their wares in fall premiers. Meathead Films (quite the active website), Matchstick Productions (their website design is over the top!), Powder-non-pc-explicatives, (boo hoo, no Masterpiste Theater this year), TGR (rulerz of the universe), and of course those ubiquitous climate change apologists KGB Productions. (defunct Thrillhead Productions link removed 2015)
For some reason, web community culture is on my mind (too much time in the office?). As far as I’m concerned there are three top backcountry skiing forums out there: Teletips, TGR, and Backcountry World (formerly Couloir Mag). Of late I’ve noticed a marked differentiation in each of these place’s style.
Teletips has gone berserk in their level of chatty off-topic stuff, meaning it provides a nice place for vociferous folks to hang their hats. (Though one wonders how the forum member’s spouses or kids are doing while said posters are online in endless chat. Perhaps the family is online chatting too? I’m waiting for that ultimate chat post: “Honey, isn’t it time to pick up the kids at school?).
If it hadn’t already, TGR has also gone over to an amazing amount of off topic, and frequently off-color spew. More, any web savvy person knows that rowdy chatrooms such as TGR may be populated by thousands of user clones, e.g., aliases, e.g., people posting under different names for various reasons. Low and behold, that recently became an issue at TGR. Can’t say I was surprised. You can find a few good backcountry skiing posts now and then at TGR, but the cost of hot water for the showers afterwards tends to mount up.
Then we have little old Backcountry World, where I’m one of the moderators (ol’ Iron Hand) and we have a mission to be the “focused” forum where chat needs to have some tangible relationship to skiing or backcountry activities. Those of us who manage Backcountry World know that more banter could get us the traffic and is perhaps what some people want. But Ttips and TGR provide plenty of that, so we still aim to be different. Just as with any other online chat, look at Backcountry World as a social experiment — perhaps a long running one, but nonetheless of value. After all, is not diversity the end-all be-all?
We’ll that’s it for today’s broadcast from a sunny Colorado fall morning. High clouds are kissing the Rocky Mountains near here, I think I smell snow…
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.