Beautiful, but hardly pristine 

Signs an eyesore; Highway guy humbled; Hydrogen follies; Our dangerous experiment

Beautiful, but hardly pristine

This letter was addressed to Archie Riddell of the provincial Environmental Assessment Office. A copy was forwarded to Pique.

On April 11th I had an amazing ski into Madley Lake from Alexander Falls on the existing road/trail. The snow was melt/freeze in the morning and a bit chewed up by a snowmobile tour the previous day. After the turnoff to Wood Lake it was perfect corn snow up to Madley Lake. I skied up above the north end of the lake to about the 1,100 metre elevation. This area is beautiful and opens up into sub-alpine glades with lots of potential for ski touring into the alpine area above. I think VANOC has made a good choice in making this one of our legacy trails.

The Whistler Nordic Competition venue has been compared to the previous Olympic Venue in Canmore. One point I like to add is that Canmore receives little natural snow and could not operate without snowmaking. Whereas I measured 270 cm at Madley Lake. There will be good skiing into May this year, go check it out. The view from the competition area is awesome and when people come here for the nationals next March they will be blown away.

Some people may not consider me to be an environmentalist, but I have been skiing and hiking the backcountry in the Sea to Sky corridor since 1984. I know three things about grizzly bears: a) They hibernate in the winter; b) An adult male has a range of up to 200 sq km; c) If you're hiking above Callaghan Lake and you get between a mother and her cub you're in big trouble. I am confident that VANOC can develop a bear management plan to deal with this issue.

The Callaghan is a beautiful valley, but it is not pristine. I skied the logging road to Wood Lake with my friend Boyd because it was groomed for snowmobile tours and was surprised to see a clear-cut of approximately 20 hectares. The road to Madley Lake was originally built for mining. The day I skied in there were 35 private snowmobiles and 12 from a tour operator, and a snowcat.

I totally support VANOC’s plan for the Callaghan to become a non-motorized area and to stop logging after the trails are built. As a taxpayer  I think the $2 million of federal and provincial  funds budgeted for the legacy trails will make a great investment into a world class ski area, one that I hope to ski with my friends and family for next 20 years.


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