Precious powder stashes spark anger
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Even in Jackson Hole, untracked powder snow is at a premium, especially in the area adjacent to the highway that crosses Teton Pass. Each year more and more backcountry skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers are found in the backcountry there, leaving less quiet and less untracked powder.There are also seems to be a potential for more people willing to pay guides to take them to what remains of the stashes of untracked powder. The ski area operator, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, has a permit from the U.S Forest Service to take guided groups into the backcountry at Teton Pass. The company seems to get little business, but wants a change in its permit that would allow it to use terrain with more vertical drop and also to shuttle clients back to the top.Locals are hopping mad that their best powder stashes will be invaded by commercial skiing, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide. Led by C. Stearney Stearns, who has skied for more than 50 years in Jackson Hole, 17 backcountry skiers called Powder to the People are attempting to overturn the Forest Service decision allowing the changed permit.In considering the changed permit for the ski area operator, the Forest Service was required to conduct a review of environmental and social impacts. The ski area contracted with Park City-based SE Group for the study. The backcountry skiers allege that the consultant promised to deliver a favorable conclusion of no significant impact, in effect prejudging the evidence before it was fully evaluated.A centerpiece of this argument is a letter from the consultant to the ski area that by Powder to the People says illustrates a too-cozy relationship. We believe our approach to completing the requisite NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process will prove very effective for [the resort] in securing approvals for this exciting project.
KETCHUM, Idaho As in many mountain towns, the trails from Ketchum and Sun Valley are getting a bit thick with canine feces. To that end, a group called the Environmental Resource Center has recently installed a dog waste bin at one trailhead in Ketchum, and there are also plastic bags available at many trailheads. The issue is partly one of aesthetics, the groups Ben Mckay told the Idaho Mountain Express, but dog waste can also have E-coli and parasites that pollute streams and rivers.Vail Colorado