Letter: Nope, we don’t need golf balls in the Back Bowls
The valley has experienced a lot of growth in the 15 years I’ve lived here, but I still find it beautiful. The landscapes and open terrain cannot fail to inspire me.
Recently, I was hiking Ptarmigan Loop on Vail Mountain. As I approached Wildwood, I noticed a man tee up a golf ball and smack it off into the distance. I didn’t think that was a great idea. I did not think we need a golf ball in Sundown Bowl. He then proceeded to pull out another golf ball and launch it. There was a group of about six of them, the man I had seen drive the two golf balls walked over to the group and another took his place. Whack!
Incredulous, I approached the group and asked them what they were doing. I was informed that one of the group was getting married the next day and this was a “wedding ritual.“ I told him that in reality, it was just littering. He told me not to worry because the golf balls were biodegradable. Whack! Whack!
Luckily, I noticed a Vail employee a short distance away. Whack! I approached him, told him what was going on, and asked him if he could ask the people to stop. Whack! Whack! He said he would, but he then paused and made a phone call to management.
He did then approach the group and very nicely informed them that driving golf balls on Vail Mountain was dangerous because there was a bike trail just below us. This is true enough, but I thought he really missed the point. Driving golf balls all over Vail Mountain would be wrong even if there was no danger of injuring anybody.
Whatever happened to “enjoy the wilderness but leave only footprints?” I had already seen 15 or 20 golf balls sailed into the bowl, and until the Vail employee came over I don’t think they were even close to being finished.
It would be very easy for Vail Mountain to curtail this practice. People carrying sports equipment, including golf clubs, can be confronted as they approach the gondola and told that we don’t allow that. They could be reminded that leaving anything, biodegradable or not, is unacceptable. This is truly a “wedding ritual” we do not need.