Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in December 2008

Ski area report card

The group Ski Area Citizens Coalition has out an environmental impact report on ski areas around the west, with some results Northwesterns may find of interest. (See the site for a description of how the scores were arrived at; individual report cards are posted as well.)

There were 10 best and 10 worst lists. Westwide, the best was said to be Aspent Mountain Ski Report. Bogus Basin Mountain Resort near Boise was listed eighth best, and Mount Bachelor Ski Area near Bend was ninth. Both did well on conservation and effective use of existing ski territory.

The worst overall was said to be Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado. But all but two of the other's in the worst 10 were in the northwest: No. 2 Sun Valley Resort near Ketchum, No. 3 Tamarack Resort near McCall, No. 5 Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park near Spokane, No. 7 49 Degree North Resort in Washington, No. 8 White Pass Ski Area in Washington, No. 9 Brundage Mountain Resort near McCall, and No. 10 Crystal Mountain Ski Area in Washington.

Effective use of land - as opposed to grabbing more and more - was a substantial consideration in the rankings. Take a look at this paragraph from their report:

Since the 1978/1979-ski season, skier numbers nationally have increased less than 2% over 23 seasons, or less than 1/10th of 1% per year. Yet many ski area terrain expansions are being undertaken in an effort to attract the limited pool of skier dollars nationwide. Doing so fuels a cycle whereby other ski areas feel pressure to expand in order to retain their market share and/or lure the limited number of skiers from other resorts. Ninety percent of ski areas in the western United States are on public lands administered by the Forest Service. It is not sound public policy for the Forest Service to continue to approve terrain expansions, which feed this cycle encouraging ski area expansions without regard for public recreation needs. In the White River NF for instance, home to ski resort icons such as Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain, skier numbers have increased 28% since 1985, yet skier acreage has more than doubled (a 107% increase).

Sizemore’s edge

Bill Sizemore

Bill Sizemore

The premier Oregon initiative monger of the last decade and more, Bill Sizemore, has had to rely to some extent - in his campaigns for initiatives - on the idea of being on the virtuous side of the things. That's the whole undergirding of initiatives, conceptually anyway: That these are the good things that the people have to do themselves because their elected officials won't.

To that extent, Sizemore's efforts - and he has continued to be busy on the initiative front up through this year - may increasingly be hamstrung. That process was hurried along considerably during the campaign season when forces opposed to Sizemore's initiatives beat up on him as much as his ideas - he became the bad guy. Now, there's the inconvenient matter of his going to jail.

The reason stems from Sizemore's campaign filings, and what a judge has ruled as their inadequacy, and his management of campaign funds. Sizemore has been in court a number of times on these issues, but today Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Janice R. Wilson had enough, throwing him into jail for contempt of court.

There have been movement leaders over the years who have gained stature from time spent in jail. But you have to suspect that Sizemore won't be one of them.