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Letters to the editor

Regulating sleds not the answer


The tragedies these past few years involving sledders in the backcountry have been unfortunate.

What is also unfortunate is how so many people, many of them people whose opinions I normally agree with, namely Max, are clamoring for mandatory sled registration, licensing and insurance. If I thought those measures would in any way lessen the frequency of tragedies such as the most recent one at Boulder Mountain in Revelstoke, I would be in favour of them.

There is absolutely no correlation between registration, etc. and those incidents. They have all been related to a lack of knowledge, a willful disregard or both, of basic snow safety with regards to snowpack stability, etc. In fact, even if every one of those involved in the tragedy at Boulder had been registered, licensed and/or insured, it would still have occurred as they ignored multiple avalanche bulletins/warnings and basic avalanche safety in organizing their event.

All these increased government regulations on sleds will simply put more money in the coffers of ICBC and do nothing to make the backcountry safer.

If we want more money to go towards SAR, why not provide rescue insurance as it is provided in Europe, whereby you pay a said amount of money a year to defray the costs of a rescue. You don't pay into the plan; you need to get rescued, you pay back the cost. Simple as that.

I realize that we live in a "nanny state" and that no one wants to personally assume responsibility for their actions and expects the government to hold their hand at all times, but this is ridiculous. I can understand and fully expected the knee-jerk reactions from politicians pandering to the outrage and shock of the uninformed public who don't live in the mountains but I expected better from people in the know.

Be responsible for your own actions. Regulating sled access to the backcountry is the beginning of a slippery slope towards straight up backcountry regulations that would surely affect ski tourers as well.

Dave Gheriani



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