Let’s find an uphill compromise at Vail Mountain to allow travel with dogs (letter)
Last Wednesday (March 28), we (specifically, a group that includes council members, ex-mayors and miscellaneous locals) attempted to climb Vail Mountain from the Lionshead base area. Hundreds of us have accessed this route every Wednesday night during ski season for some 30 years.
Last week, however, we were met by a zealous security officer who prohibited dogs from hiking uphill (except on a short lease, which can only add danger and injury). We attempted to head up the Cascade lift line, instead, but that proved to be steep, soft and basically unattainable. We are very close to the end of the season, and I am hoping this letter will initiate a compromise between the security crew at Vail Resorts and the “normal commerce” that continues after hours on the mountain.
The history of tele-skiers, snowshoers and splitboard riders marching upward with their dogs is a tradition older than the security department itself. With that in mind, and with all the acreage at Vail Mountain, I would like to propose a compromise route that will not interfere with mountain operations and would provide a safe environment for foot traffic, dogs and employees catching their last run, whether that run comes at 5 p.m. or at midnight:
The pedestrian climber leaves from Lionshead and shoulders the west boundary of the ski area, continuing through “Black Simba” and going westward to Post Road, adjoining Simba for a short stretch and culminating on the old racecourse just east of the microwave tower.
If Vail Resorts would post these directions allowing the above route, it would serve as a shining example of cooperation between the ski company and the community. In addition to cooperation, it would add a dimension of safety by restricting uphill traffic to a predictable, controllable area instead of encouraging ways to beat the system.
You can be assured that the new regulations, complete with policing by the security department, will not eliminate pedestrian and canine traffic on Vail Mountain. It will only encourage creative routes and ways to circumvent and beat the system that Vail Resorts is trying to impose.
Instead, why don’t we try to create a solution? There may continue to be a very few hikers that continue to go up the middle of the mountain. Nonetheless, most of us affected by this issue are only interested in going uphill with our dogs in an effort to get in an after-hours workout. With cooperation from Vail Resorts, both parties can emerge amicably.