Summit Daily letters: Fat bike feuds and continued carnage on the ski slopes
January 8, 2017
Will the carnage continue?
On the second day of Ski Safety Month, a boarderbrat attacked a ski instructor on a marked slow zone at Keystone and then left the scene, in violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act. The victim was seriously injured.
The resorts will respond to this tragedy by holding avalanche dog demos and handing out safety brochures. They will continue to make only token efforts to control the reckless skiers and boarders who straight-line the slow zones, frightening and even colliding with parents helping their young children and beginners trying for their first good wedge turn. The few passes they pull, they give back in a few days. The offenders react as one I heard talking in a lift line with his friend: "I've been yelled at three times today!"
Until the resorts pull at least 10 times as many passes and, important, hold for at least a month, the carnage will continue. Ski Safety Month will accomplish nothing.
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Fat bikes on the Peak Trail
A nice cross-country ski with friends from Peak 7 to Frisco was interrupted frequently by a rutted mangled mess. Fat bikes had left their mark.
I can understand the appeal of fat biking. The ability to extend the biking season. A fairly smooth trail to leading to more remote areas. A good cardio workout.
The problem is what the fat bike does to the trail in the wake of its passage. The reality is that most of the areas frequented by people on fat bikes are also trails that are primarily packed out by people on skis. These trails are fairly narrow by function and design. Easy for those on skis but not so much on bikes.
Staying on a trail with narrow packed confines with sometimes icy conditions can obviously be very challenging. This becomes obvious as you explore backcountry areas and find the ruts and deep post hole telltales.
After descending through an area that looked like it had been trampled by moose that had treads on their hooves, we encountered more people on fat bikes. I commented that fat bikes sure "did a number on the trails." One gentleman responded "not really." The fact that all of them were standing ankle to knee deep in post holes with their bikes stuck in ruts did not support his response.
I remember the days of encountering snowmobiles on trails primarily used by skiers and people on snowshoes. I also remember giving them the "stink eye" hoping to convey how much I did not appreciate their smelly exhaust or the damage done to the trail. I don't want to give the "stink eye" to friends on fat bikes we encounter on the trail and hope that a way can be found were all can enjoy the trail without leaving it a rutted, mangled mess.
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