16th Annual Backcountry Bash Fundraiser – Colorado

| October 1, 2008

A few years ago, I gave a slideshow at a Backcountry Snowsports Alliance (BSA) meeting and had a chance to talk to the Directors and see what the program is all about.  In a nutshell, BSA organizes human-powered backcountry users into a single voice to help preserve non-motorized areas in Colorado’s public lands.  I think this is an excellent idea, as more often-than-not, he with the biggest motor wins at the expense of the human powered experience. 

The Myth: Cute, fuzzy, innocent, quiet, law abiding citizens…

Unfortunately, rogue snowmobiliers can’t be relied on to police themselves, so it is up to groups like BSA to help them be better people by bringing land use issues to the table.  This is a growing concern in the Wasatch Mountains and when I asked a Swiss friend what they did about it  in Switzerland, he said “Oh, they have been outlawed for recreational use for quite a while.”  

Reality: Loud, wilderness poaching, law breaking, smoke belching, rebels.

The BSA fund raiser bash is being held in Golden, Colorado on November 8th and will feature a showing of the latest PowderWhores production, The Pact.  More details are below.

For Immediate Release:

 September 16, 2008

 16th Annual Backcountry Bash ushers in winter at American Mountaineering Center

The 16th Annual Backcountry Bash, a benefit for winter backcountry preservation, will take place on Saturday November 8, 2008 at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado.  The Backcountry Bash, the largest annual fundraiser for the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance, will feature complimentary hor d’ourves and drinks, silent and live auctions, gear giveaways, and a special screening of Powderwhore Productions’ The Pact.

The 16th Annual Backcountry Bash will feature more than $10,000 in auction items from leading outdoor industry manufacturers and retailers, as well as lodging and services from around Colorado.  Items for auction will include hut stays in numerous Colorado locations, avalanche safety equipment, and technical apparel.  As always, this year’s event will also feature giveaways for high quality outdoor gear.

Admission to the 16th Annual Backcountry Bash is $30 and will be available for advance purchase at the REI Denver Flagship and Boulder stores, Bent Gate Mountaineering, and online at www.backcountryalliance.org. 

The Backcountry Snowsports Alliance (BSA) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Since 1992, the BSA has represented skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, and all human-powered winter recreationists in preserving non-motorized areas across Colorado’s public lands.  The organization currently undertakes projects at Vail, Red Mountain, and Rabbit Ears Passes, as well as Peak 6 near Breckenridge Ski Area, Richmond Ridge near Aspen, and Hahn’s Peak in north Routt County.  The BSA has worked with a diverse range of user groups and land agencies to create quiet recreation opportunities at Wolf Creek, Buffalo, and Vail Passes and supports the services provided by Colorado’s backcountry hut operators.

More information will be found at www.backcountryalliance.org when available.

For more information, contact:

Brian Holcombe
Executive Director,
Backcountry Snowsports Alliance

What:              16th Annual Backcountry Bash, a benefit for winter backcountry preservation

Who:               Presented by the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance and Powderwhore Productions

When:             November 8, 2008, 5:30 – 10:30pm

Where:         American Mountaineering Center
                       710 10th Street
                       Golden, Colorado


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Category: Events

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

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  1. Stupid Rain « Dongshow Productions | December 9, 2008
  1. Randonnee says:

    “The Myth: Cute, fuzzy, innocent, quiet, law abiding citizens…

    Unfortunately, rogue snowmobiliers can’t be relied on to police themselves,

    Reality: Loud, wilderness poaching, law breaking, smoke belching, rebels.”

    Hmmm. Labeling all snowmobilers, Andrew? Obviously the law breakers and inconsiderate or destructive snowmobile users deserve derision or arrest, but your words sound like a broad brush. Are self-powered recreationists morally superior to others? If so, why?

    That finger pointing, thing…rhetorically, I would ask, ‘how much jet fuel, or gas for the car, have you and your companions burned in order to fly or drive to pristine and exotic wilderness locations in order to ski on high tech gear made from resins, plastics, etc…?’ I find it interesting that snomo-haters, often from over in the city, drive their cars for hours through the mountains then speak derisively about snowmobile riders as if the snowmobile alone, but not their car, is destructive. Oh, I forgot, carbon emissions from certain hybrid cars make one morally superior also.

    I am a snowmobile rider, it is a tool used to access powder snow for randonnee skiing. I also have worked with USFS to enforce motorized Closure Boundaries. I have met many very considerate and friendly snowmobilers, and have been helped by snowmobile riders several times after my beater sled broke down miles from the trailhead. In fact, on the whole my experience has been that the snowmobilers that I meet when I ride out with skis strapped on are often friendlier and more interested than self-powered skiers, too often with their scowls and attitude as illustrated here. Too bad, I offer tows and rides to friendly skiers to the goods sometimes…

  2. Andrew says:

    I own a snowmobile (Yamaha Enticer), have been towed by them, ridden on them, and like ATV’s, guns and many other controversial items, think they have their place and aren’t an issue when they are used responsibly.

    The key issue is being responsible. Sleds in the backcountry are almost impossible to control as they are so much faster than anything else, and adding more sleds to try and catch the bad sleds is not the answer either.

    My beef with sleds is when they poach wilderness/private property, or when the owners bust out the saws to trim a few trees out of the way on PUBLIC land so they can ram their machines up a ridgeline.

  3. Randonnee says:

    Well said. Thanks.

    I am tempted to rage, or worse, at snowmobile users who ride deep into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It is also frustrating to see lame Enforcement of snowmobile Wilderness trespass. However I will compliment some recent increasing USFS Enforcement near my home. That Enforcement is perhaps in part a result of documentation and complaints form many of us. To their credit USFS was on the ground near here last winter asking questions near a well-known Wilderness trespass cut-trail entry point. I was also told of a Citation issued elsewhere in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, hooray!

    To the credit of mainstream snowmobile riders, the snowmobile Closure signs that I assisted posting for USFS were effective. Last winter I saw snowmobile tracks turning around from recently posted Closure signs where I had seen Closure Violation previously. I decided to help aside from my complaining, and it seems to have had a positive effect. So personal, but civil, involvement seems to be worthwhile.

  4. Terry says:

    I grew up in very rural British Columbia, have used snow machines as a ski patroller, and do recognize their uses. Am not a “city person”. I have yet to meet a snowmobiler who recognizes how they screw up the snow for skiers, or that they make a hell of a lot of noise in what would otherwise be a peaceful environment. That’s part of the reason I prefer to ski in Nat’l Parks. Terrible how many snowmobiles are highmarking up the backcountry around Revelstoke.

    I sure wish there was some enforcement here where I now ski in the California Sierra. Its quite common to see snowmobile tracks crossing clearly posted boundaries, and tracks up fragile ridges.

  5. Dongshow says:

    I occasionally use a snowmobile for backcountry ski use but recognize a good cause, snowmobiles are annoying, and certainly not appropriate everywhere. But I find it hilarious that you had to post pictures from Thompson Pass, which sees more snowmobiles then skiers by a margin approaching 3:1. Regulation is necessary. That being said, painting snowmobiles with a broad brush of being noisy, smelly and unworthy is going to cause more problems then it’ll solve. A more nuanced approach involving parking limits (trailers prohibited) and high gas prices will be far more affective.


  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Dongshow – You know your passes well. I used those photos as they were the only ones I had of snowmobiles, but yes, Thompson Pass is sledder heaven, as is Lamoille (spelling?) Canyon in the Rubies.

    I took those photos last winter/spring during a hill climbing contest (which was pretty cool to see) and in talking to some of the participants, they said attendance was down by about half from last year due to gas prices, which applies to towing the sleds more than actually running them.

    Perhaps it is a broad brush, but it only takes a few bad ‘bilers to ruin it for everyone, and it is that user group that really needs to police itself. For instance, I have a friend who publicly swears he’s a responsible sledder, yet in private he mentions how he cuts down trees, high marks, poaches, etc.. And when sled go 60+ mph on the flats, forget about catching them, let alone getting their registration numbers.

    Fences, signs and barricades reduce the poaching, but are basically mountain litter that has to be put up just to stop other mountain litter from happening. Do we need put “Do Not Cut” signs on every tree, or “Do Not Shoot” on every cow? Aren’t some things just obvious?

    Ideally, sledders would learn the rules and obey them, and if they don’t, they only have themselves to blame when they lose the right to ride two-strokes in places like Yellowstone.

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