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In defence of sleds
I read with a grain of salt the letters to the editor regarding snowmobiles in the April 23 issue of Pique . I first off enjoy your magazine very much and as a professional adventure athlete for over 20 years it has helped me read about the place I have grown up in and I enjoy so much.
The problem I see with these kinds of letters is that they are one sided and also most of the time not very accurate. I know it is great to stir the pot, however as a journalist for a number of papers and magazines on my own personal adventures I find a better way to tackle these issues is to provide both sides equal opportunities.
I have raced at the pro level in many different human powered sports, including being the number one adventure athlete in Canada from 1994 to 2004. I also race dirt bikes and ski tour and sled ski and sled over 120 days in the winter. I am very lucky that I get paid to play and am also keen on the environment in which I use everyday.
The issue for me is not that sleds are great for the planet, however the facts the letter writers are using are far outdated. In fact sleds have to pass stringent environmental laws and they do that with flying colors. Could they be better? You bet and they are each year. I, in fact, have just brought into Canada the first ever electric dirt bikem called the ZERO X, and this thing goes zero to 50 in two seconds and has zero emissions and no noise. Sleds, dirt bikes and ATVs are moving at a far greater pace to becoming silent and emission free.
Each day Whistler Mountain pours 450 litres into each of their 16 groomers to comb the mountain. Blackcomb does the same, and this is just one day and one way they are tied to fossil fuel. I am not suggesting they should stop this as it allows people to enjoy the outdoors and live life to the fullest. For many, sleds provide the same enjoyment.
If these people want to conserve then they should do so by looking at their own life and deciding what is good for them and do it. But where people get off tangent is telling others what they should do.
I really enjoy your paper and I hope you continue to print both sides of this environmental issue. The problem I have with the way you did it this time is that many people have no idea how much gas sleds use or what they are used for and will believe this anti-sled message instead of the true facts which will provide people with the real issues and how we can make sleds better in the future, as they are not going way.