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Times explores hybrid sport of sleds, skiers



STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Those in the know, says The New York Times, do not call snowmobiles snowmobiles. They call them sleds.

That observation is in a story about the hybrid sport of snowmobiling-skiing/sledding, which the Times states is relatively new, although the Jackson Hole News & Guide was reporting phenomenon 10 to 15 years ago, and papers in Vail and Aspen soon after.

"Not so long ago snowmobilers and backcountry skiers mixed about as well as motor oil and water," writes the Times. "But the rise of ‘sled-skiing,’ also called hybrid skiing or, occasionally, Ski-Doo skiing, has blurred the lines in the well-worn motorized-versus-nonmotorized debate — and in many places it has brought new crowds and new headaches to North America’s increasingly busy winter backcountry."

The epicentre of the trend, The Times believes, is near Whistler, with dozens of skiers and snowboarders driving toward the Pemberton Ice Cap. Sixty machines can be parked at a time near Crested Butte, where the road leads across Kebler Pass. Also mentioned are snowmobile-skier controversies near Aspen, Steamboat Springs and Vail.

The article also explains several causes for the surging use of snowmobiles. Improved skis have allowed average skiers to get into the powder snow at ski areas. Frustrated powder skiers are then heading into the backcountry on snowmobiles that, like skis, have improved markedly in recent years.

But for many backcountry skiers like Kim Hedberg, who heads the Colorado-based Backcountry Snowsports Alliance, motors remain unwelcome. "They don’t understand that their use of a sled is ruining my experience," she says.

Aspen finds it’s part of problem

ASPEN, Colo. — The Aspen community goes to great lengths to be environmentally correct. It has recycling programs, mass transit, and even gets most of its electricity from wind generators and hydroelectric plants.

Still, in what some have called the greatest environmental problem of the 21 st century, Aspen is responsible for twice as much greenhouse gas per capita as the national average.

How can this be?

Air travel is the biggest part of the story. Nearly all of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels, and air travel along comprises 41 per cent of Aspen’s emissions, a new study says. In other words, Aspens’ air travel is comparable in percentage to the industrial emissions in cities that are heavily industrialized.

Cameras go on cameras

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — It sounds terribly narcissistic, even for reality television. In a new series to be called "Destinators," the camera filming spots about travel destinations will be in front of cameras. The story is about the making of a story. The premier episode will focus on Steamboat.