As anticipated by ‘front country” skiers, Mount Bachelor announced their new uphill access policy (www.mtbachelor.com) last Friday. And as predicted back in December, the policy, while considered a positive step, is still a problem for many skiers because of its time constraints. In short, being able to access the summit only during ski area operating hours remains a major sticking point.
Speaking to the new policy, a long time uphiller offered: “Mount Bachelor made a good start, primarily because of its commitment to keep working with the ski community. However, the new plan will result in a huge drop off in the number of responsible and safety minded uphillers. Most people I know choose to ski up before or after lift operations. At those times of day, it’s the quiet, the sunrise, the sunsets which make the uphill effort worthwhile.
“I think we can also improve access which is as safe or safer. So hopefully Mount Bachelor will come up with a plan that is based on education and outreach, not on containment. A plan where violators rather than the entire uphill community are sanctioned. We need to find a good balance between safety concerns and a less restrictive policy which invites cooperation.”
A female skier added: “I'm glad to see more vertical up the mountain than was allowed before. As a working woman, I can't skin up mid-week during operating hours. Therefore, I hope skinning hours will be extended.”
As far as I know, the vast majority of avid uphillers are pre area opening and post area closing hours skiers. Both times of day are when they have the time to get out and enjoy a quality skiing experience.
It’s also apparent to me that uphillers are in it for the exercise and the experience not to avoid paying for the priviledge of skiing the area. Most uphillers are pass holders and when they have the time, they ride the lifts.
So what happens now? Are there more policy negotiations to come? The avid uphillers certainly hope so.
Talk about restrictions, the popular backcountry ski areas off the Sea to Sky corridor from Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia have been declared off-limits during the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. The reason? Security concerns and the prospect of crazed militants launching attacks from the backcountry.
Bottom line- don’t even think about skiing the close-to-the-Games backcountry or be prepared, according to a VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee) spokesperson: “to encounter a member of the security workforce.”
And finally to the funky weather. While we’ve got early spring here, a Norwegian friend writes: “we're enduring record cold here, and we've been sent photos taken on the Mediterranean coast of France that show the foothills of the Pyrénées on the skyline all snow covered for the first time in nearly 100 years. Although northern Europe shivers now, according to recent scientific forecasts, 2010 may be the hottest year on record - as reported in the Science and technology section of the 9 January 2010 issue of The Economist (www.economist.com). “