Summit Lift access could be controlled, and what’s the issue with soft bumps? |

Summit Lift access could be controlled, and what’s the issue with soft bumps?

Paul R. LuckeLondon

Thanks for a very interesting and well-presented article about an interesting dilemma regarding the proposed Summit Lift at Breckenridge.I shall be reading the Summit Daily News on the web from London on a daily basis now. The T-Bar at Breckenridge is an example of using low tech to limit access by keeping the capacity down. Introducing a surface lift to the top of Peak 8 instead of a chairlift would work the same way, but halve the number of rides. The total number of rides per day would be easy to control automatically if the operators want to limit the number of skiers and snowboarders on the upper snowfields.When the ride count reaches the predetermined limit, the pole release mechanism is disabled. The number can be set on a daily basis. From a technical perspective, I believe Breck already has wireless-linked readers connected to the ticketing system so it would also not be a big step to add a personal daily repeat limit for access lifts to special areas rather than just having a blanket count of lift rides. I am not convinced that completely untouched snow is always such a blessing. Deep, virgin powder is everyone’s dream but it doesn’t hang around too long if there is a lot of sun on it followed by cold nights.The next thing you get is a three-quarter-inch breaking crust and it takes a good few skiers following the same trail to break up crusted areas and make them comfortable to ski. If you can achieve the same effect by a gentle grooming why not? You could groom a part of it – which most users would choose to ski – and leave the rest untouched for the crud enthusiasts.That is the way it is done in the Alps. Most of the off-piste skiing I do there is within a few hundred meters of a defined piste. And what is wrong with nice soft bump fields anyway? Skiing steep bump fields is part of the fun of skiing and more so when they are soft and forgiving.I have crashed down a good few steep bump slopes in my time and once they get chopped and icy, I really don’t enjoy it and I would just as soon someone groomed them flat and we started all over.

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