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Thank you, Alex & Patrick.  I couldn't have put it any better myself.  I think we all can agree on that much.  ;-)

If I had my druthers, Laura & Guy Waterman's two books, BACKWOODS ETHICS & WILDERNESS ETHICS, would be required reading for all hikers and backcountry skiers.  While they're written from the viewpoint of hikers, they are relevant to all of us who spend time in the outdoors.

--Matt K.

On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM, Alex Friend <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Jay, I think you are missing the mystery. The thrill of discovery when you leave the resort boundary, or the trailhead where you leave your car, and despite all the topo maps, guidebooks, satellite photos, and trip reports, you still have to find your own way. Isn't that a major part of skiing in the woods? In addition to the solitude, the tranquility, the satisfaction of having powered yourself up the mountain, and of course the main dish, the fresh, untracked snow. But a big part of that is the feeling that comes from having gone out there and found it yourself. It's not that hard to read a map, scan the hills for lines, and skin until you find someplace that has room for turns. But you still have to make the effort to do it. And when you do, more often than not you have it all to yourself. It's a magical feeling, and I know that's part of why you are drawn to the backcountry.
 
The problem is the Google Earth plots and the incredible, specific detail you include in your TRs. How would it be if you just said one of VT's 4000-footers, or the highest peak without a ski area on it, or Lion Couchant? I appreciate the work you do in weather reporting, the photos you take, and seeing how your boys love skiing too. How about this: Put the great factual information into the weather reports, and stop there.
 
As has been discussed here, Jay Peak's marketing of their glades has made them a victim of their own success, so that there are now moguls under the trees. That's where we are headed if you keep putting these SKI HERE signposts on the internet. Add in your posts on FTO and AlpineZone, and it's not sustainable. The direction this going is that of Teton Pass, where people fight over spots in the parking lot and trade curses on the skintrack for slow skinners not getting out of the way of faster ones.
 
Part of living in society is abiding by certain conventions. You don't posthole in the skintrack (or take a dump in the middle of the trail, for that matter), so why not this protocol too? Leave a little bit of mystery for the next backcountry traveler, a little bit of untracked too.
 
--Alex
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