Out of Bounds: Corporate Ski Resort Development and the Public Good

Trail Break Radio

Dec 8 2023 • 1 hr 9 mins

The number of people participating in resort skiing is generally on the decline, while the number of backcountry skiers and riders has exploded. And yet we are now seeing a significant spike in proposed ski resort development and expansion onto wild public lands.

What’s going on here? And what can we do to keep things in check? How can we improve both resort-based and backcountry winter recreation?

Speaker Bios:

  • Christian Mears Pitcher is a fifth-generation Colorado native with deep roots in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, where his family has been actively engaged since the late 1800s. As a dedicated member of the Wolf Creek Ski Area Board of Directors, Chris contributes his extensive knowledge and passion for the region’s outdoor heritage. Beyond his involvement in the ski area, he is a skilled professional engineer and the owner of a successful consulting firm in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, specializing in responsible river restoration projects across the Western United States. Chris has a commitment to preserving natural landscapes and promoting pragmatic practices.
  • Cindy Riegel is serving her third term as a County Commissioner for Teton County, Idaho. She has been instrumental in the adoption of modern zoning and land use regulations, the establishment of a successful Housing Authority, and the implementation of the Teton County Recreation and Public Access Master Plan. Commissioner Riegel has a keen interest in the environmental and socio-economic impacts related to the proposed expansion of her local ski area, Grand Targhee Resort. The resort is located in Teton County, Wyoming but is dependent on Idaho’s infrastructure and services.
  • Erik Lambert started skiing at age one when his dad pushed him around the sleepy woods of Poughkeepsie on some homemade planks. He’s spent the past 10 years as a marketing and communication professional in the outdoor industry. Now he runs his own consultancy and creative shop for outdoor brands and non-profits called Bonfire Collective and co-founded Bluebird Backcountry, the first human-powered ski area in the country.
  • Hilary Eisen is Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Policy Director. Based in Bozeman, she leads WWA’s engagement in National Forest winter travel management and other policy issues affecting backcountry skiers. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana and a B.A. degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College.

Resources:

NEPA

Grand Targhee expansion

Grand Targhee Community Assessment

Bluebird Backcountry

Wolf Creek Ski Area expansion

Wolf Creek Upgrade Plan

National Association of Counties

"Kissing The 'Quieter Side' Of The Tetons Goodbye?" by Cindy Riegel

Sponsors:

Outdoor Alliance, Mighty Arrow Family Foundation, REI.

Backcountry Babes

If you're interested in sponsoring an episode, email Emily at escott@winterwildlands.org.

Transcript:

(click here)

Credits:

Directed by Emily Scott

Hosted by David Page

Edited and produced by Tess Goodwin

Music by Rattlesnake Preachers


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