What is stopping new ski areas from being built?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Miller, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    @pais alto -- thanks for clarifying, i read it prior to your edits and was confused. I agree, the FS owes no such thing. How they manage the land sustainably is a broad question far more than current "capacity" needs in the front range during a population explosion.
     
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  2. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    I was just shooting a big ol’ hole in tball’s argument.
     
  3. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Out on the slopes Skier

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    If you have a patrol and mitigation work then it’s no longer back country skiing. It’s a ski area without a lift.

    Heck, statistically speaking taking selfie photos is a lot more dangerous than skiing on Berthoud Pass.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-45745982
     
  4. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    I agree its no long bc skiing -- its human powered skiing.

    As someone who is a professional statistican...that is a wildly inappropriate interpretation of that statistic. Rates matter, not just total fatalities.
     
  5. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    You missed it in several places on the Forest Service website, starting with the first Chief of the Forest Service:

    Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the mission of the Forest Service: "to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."
    https://www.fs.fed.us/about-agency

    And from the current Chief of the Forest Service:

    Our mission is varied and complex, but the concept of doing our best for the largest amount of people is much simpler. We will always strive to do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.
    https://www.fs.fed.us/blogs/greatest-good-0
     


  6. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    Politicians and bureaucrats can say what they want, as can you, but none the less, the actual, and directive, mission statement stands as I quoted it.
     
  7. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Yes, thanks, I should have said safer and not safe. We are all painfully aware skiing is not a safe activity.

    As per increasing demand, yes, there are lots of people like me who would love to ski and ride Berthoud Pass but are not willing to risk our lives to do so.

    But, the supply of skiing up there is limited by the parking, and the parking is currently full on weekends and powder days. Certainly more full than it typically was in its last decade as a ski area as I've observed driving by to Mary Jane forever.

    So I don't believe conducting avalanche mitigation on Berthoud Pass would net many more users. They would just be safer. And, you could require full gear and training. I'd be all for that.

    I just don't think the greatest good of Berthoud Pass is limiting its use by those willing to put their lives at substantial risk.

    There's plenty of true backcountry skiing in Colorado where folks can do that if they choose. Berthoud is 1200 acres of a former ski area on a mountain highway pass where the majority of the vertical is "earned" by internal combustion engines.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  8. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Out on the slopes Skier

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    You don’t have to risk your life to earn turns in the backcountry. What you need is education and experience. That’s something you earn with dedication and time spent in the field. There are safe cycles, even in Colorado but you have to be patient and understand that it’s not an instant gratification activity.
     
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  9. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Out on the slopes Skier

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    I know, I was just trying to be funny.
     
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  10. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    It sure doesn't feel that way with the seemingly continuous stream of sad stories about backcountry experts dying in avalanches in Colorado. Add to that the very steep terrain and huge snow that Berthoud Pass receives and I long ago assessed it will never be safe enough for me unless it's professionally controlled. Even then, it would be at the limits of my personal risk tolerance. Everyone is different, of course, but I think I'm more in line with the views of the typical skier in Colorado who enjoys and is capable of skiing terrain like Berthoud.
    Here's the Forest Service mission statement as you quoted it:

    "To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations."

    Forget the "greatest good" standard, can anyone explain how 1200 acres of a former ski area on Berthoud Pass meets needs of backcountry skiers that aren't met by the millions of available acres of backcountry skiing in Colorado?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  11. John O

    John O Getting on the lift Skier

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    Just to be clear, it also doesn't mean they didn't. The fact is that none of us on the outside have a clue as to the financials of any ski area.
     
  12. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Out on the slopes Skier

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    Oh boy......*face palm and shaking head back and forth.
     
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  13. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    I think you’re overlooking a lot of things because of your single-minded obsession with building a ski area at BP.

    The first is that the Arapaho Forest has a forest management plan that they develop and follow. Have you looked at that plan? It’s a public document, and gets public input. Attended any meetings? The FMP outlines and directs overall and specific management goals and action, and I’m gonna guess that a ski area is way low on priorities.

    Speaking of priorities, did you know that largely because of budget cuts, past management, current management, and climate change, the FS now spend over half it’s budget on fire suppression. Priorities.

    Also, you would do well to get familiar with the Friends of Berthoud Pass organization that works closely with the FS on BP management. They are going to meetings and representing their interests, not complaining on Internet forums.
    https://www.berthoudpass.org/

    Your lack of interest and profound ignorance of backcountry skiing is something of a hindrance here, because there are very few, if any, bc skiing locations with the highway access that BP has - that is hugely significant. Name one that has the highway access BP has.

    Lastly, and then I’m done, the FS doesn’t develop or manage ski areas - private sector does. The FS permits them, it does not operate them. The FS doesn’t provide ski patrols - private sector does. If you want avy control and patrol at BP, form a company, talk with the FS, figure out a business plan, and do it. But you better be more familiar with the Friends of Berthoud Pass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  14. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Two Colorado avalanche deaths in just the last year were backcountry experts.

    Mountain Rescue Aspen Crew Member Dies in Avalanche:
    https://www.aspentimes.com/news/joh...teer-skier-who-died-in-maroon-bowl-avalanche/

    Fatal Avalanche Involved Students in Silverton Avalanche School Advanced Course:
    https://coloradosun.com/2019/01/16/avalanche-death-telluride-peter-marshall-report/

    And, there were the five backcountry experts that died on Loveland Pass in 2013. This story tells all you need to know about why I and many others don't ski in the backcountry:
    https://coloradosun.com/2018/10/12/...ry-day-i-will-do-whatever-it-takes-i-have-to/

    Please read that article then give me a good reason there shouldn't be avalanche mitigation on Berthoud Pass.

    I don't care if there are lifts or not. As I said before, I'm happy hiking and do bigger hikes inbounds all the time.

    I'd love to hear an argument against mitigating Berthoud Pass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  15. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Loveland Pass.
     
  16. wyowindrunner

    wyowindrunner Getting off the lift Skier

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    "To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations."

    The diversity is not the "PC" definition. They are concerned with the diversity of the Flora and Fauna.
     
  17. wyowindrunner

    wyowindrunner Getting off the lift Skier

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    Teton Pass. And skier triggered avalanches have occoured there. Don't think the FS gives a rip about your access, honestly. They have plenty of other things to concern themselves with. And I think if the money was available for items like this, It should be spent to re-develope the dying small mountain towns that are losing thier job base due to out of state and area reforestation companies that are hiring migrant and illegal labor. Very few local companies are in this business now having been under bid. This would be entirely more " to the greater good" than any lift served ski area. The money spent and made would be largely spent in the local areas and contribute to the local tax base, not wired back home. High Country News had a very in depth article on this in 2017- don't remember what month.
     
  18. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers Getting off the lift Skier

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    There are a bunch of great highway passes for skiers, but BP is very close to a large population center. Teton and Rogers, for example, are not.
    So BP is accessible for a LOT of people.
     
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  19. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    Ha! True, I forgot about Loveland.

    And I was thinking about CO front country, so, yeah Teton Pass and a number of other places have hiway accessed bc, but Teton Pass still requires skinning and/or booting for access to the goods.

    Should the FS provide avy control and patrol for those areas?
     
  20. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    You are way off base on a number of points.

    Again, I'm obsessed with avalanche control on Berthoud Pass, not lifts.

    On the Forest Service: they are the bozos that shut down the ski area that many of us loved for no good reason.

    There were proposals coming forward to restart the area and the FS was dead set on not allowing a ski area on Berthoud Pass. They were so determined they did everything they could to destroy the ski area infrastructure. That's after 60 years of a ski area up there. Their logic made no sense then and even less now with the growth of the Front Range and inadequate capacity of I-70 to meet skier demand.

    How did shutting down the ski area on Berthoud Pass "meet the needs of present and future generations" or "provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run." You pick the Forest Service mission statement and explain.

    Rumor back in the day was the Forest Service was in bed with nearby Winter Park and wanted to eliminate the competition. That and the bureaucrats were too lazy to oversee small ski areas and it made their jobs easier if they shut them down. I have no idea what the truth is, just that is was very shortsighted and each year that goes by we pay a bigger price for their bad decisions.

    And yes, I did write letters to the Forest Service back when they were shutting down the ski area.

    I'm also very familiar with Friends of Berthoud Pass. I recently talked with one of their representatives at an event they held at a Denver brewery.

    I think FOB has done great work maintaining access and educating on avalanche awareness. I don't think it's enough. There needs to be avalanche mitigation on Berthoud Pass and I believe they should be moving to make it happen. They are not.

    It's because Berthoud is a mountain road it's so dangerous. It's too easy. Backcountry skiing isn't supposed to be easy. The easy access makes it a dangerous honeypot. The hikes are short and the majority of vertical skied and ridden is gained by vehicles. A tiny effort puts one in deadly avalanche terrain.

    There is true backcountry on Berthoud Pass. It's accessed outside the old backcountry access gates up top. That's not where most are skiing and riding. Most are in a closed ski area with extreme terrain and no avalanche control. How does that make sense from a public safety perspective? How does it meet anyone's needs?

    FOB needs to get a permit if they want to lock in the current use on Berthoud. That permit should require avalanche control or be guided, as is required by other similar permits. I'd be more than happy if FOB did control work and patrolled within the bounds of the ski area. I'm more than willing to hike.

    It's just a matter of time until somebody comes forward with a permit proposal that will lock in the future use of Berthoud Pass, most likely Alterra. They operate nearby WP/MJ and need another Front Range ski area. If they don't end up with A-basin, I'd look for them to move on Berthoud. It just makes too much sense in terms of economics, public safety, and the Forest Service mission.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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