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Mountain News: Sundance boycott likely to fizzle



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Three of the self-propelled were recently removed from the ski area after ascending a trail marked for winch use.

Another problem is the poop left on freshly groomed slopes by dogs accompanying the uphillers.

Climbing mountains is as old as skiing itself, even older. Ski lifts didn’t arrive until the 1930s. Waxes and the “skins” affixed to the bottom of skis to provide uphill traction have been around for centuries.

Fibers and plastic long ago replaced the seal skins originally used for uphill traction. The name remains, though, and has even become a verb, as in to “skin” up the mountain and those who use skins have, says the Summit Daily, become “skinners.”

The special-use permits given ski areas to operate on national forest land give them authority to close sections. But as a practical matter, says Ken Kowynia, winter sports program manager in Colorado for the U.S. Forest Service, the rules depend upon each ski area’s circumstances.

“It’s really on a ski area-by-ski area basis. We could agree to prohibit, but that’s not my first instinct,” he told Mountain Town News. “It depends upon the location, the traditional uses, and what the realistic use is. In places where people have been doing it forever, we are more inclined to try to make it work.

“Basically, we try to accommodate the use in a way that it’s not going to interfere with downhill skier traffic,” he added.

A measure of just how difficult ski area operators find the self-propelled is revealed in a press release issued by operators of the Telluride ski area on Monday. The resort noted that hiking, skiing, or snowboarding on closed areas of the mountain is prohibited, although the opened ski runs remained available to the uphillers. The resort company noted the presence of high-voltage and high-pressure cords and hoses and also the use of explosives by ski patrollers in an attempt to reduce avalanche potential.

In the case of Breckenridge, refinements of the rules governing uphill use are being worked out. There will be no effort to ban the skinners and snowshoers, but only to keep them between the white lines, so to speak.


Coyotes to be targeted in Canmore

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