Letters, Jan. 16-19: Additional safety measures are needed at dangerous backcountry location near PCMR
Safety measures needed
I was sad to hear the tragic news of another avalanche death on Dutch Draw recently. It is long overdue for Park City Mountain Resort to require avalanche safety gear (beacon, prove, shovel) for every rider who enters sidecountry terrain through a gate and plans to return to the resort. After decades of evidence, why can’t we admit that the scary sign at the top of 9990 does not work?
Riders with no snow science education see many tracks on runs, see many others crossing the gate, see terrain that does not look all that treacherous, and have a subconscious sense that the close proximity to the resort somehow decreases the danger. This cocktail of psychological cues coupled with a lust for powder turns leads thousands each year to make the wrong decision. While a bit of education would fix this problem, the majority of resort riders have none.
An avy-gear requirement accomplishes several things: 1) It ensures those who ride such terrain base their decision on at least a modicum of snow safety understanding (who spends a few hundred dollars on gear with no knowledge?) 2) It decreases the number of tracks for the rest of us to enjoy when safe. 3) It speeds the rescue process in the event of a buried rider.
Such a measure would not impede access to public lands or unnecessarily infringe on people’s right to choose. If a rider leaves the boundary of a resort through a gate and plans to end their run back at the resort, they must have avy gear. Simple. To establish this standard requires at minimum a new sign or could include a gate opened by detecting an avalanche beacon. This will also empower ski patrol to actually stop individuals from making terrible decisions, instead of the current state of being forced to watch them risk their lives. I really hope PCMR will consider such an easy act.
Tax dollars at work
As residents of Park City my wife and I pay the taxes that help build and maintain the city’s streets, therefore I am somewhat amazed to find that to drive on some of them we risk a $145 fine! The city, It seems, has deemed that certain neighborhoods deserve their own private roads, accessible only to its residents, the general public be damned.
If our tax dollars are used to build the roads, repair them and keep them plowed in the winter, what gives the city the right to refuse us our ability to use them? And if residents of the areas that are now being blocked off due, perhaps, to privacy concerns, let them pay for that privacy themselves. Next thing you know progressive governments will be asking us to pay the bill for other people’s college education and using our taxes to paint BLM signs on the public’s property.
Michael P. Mealey
Call Trump’s behavior what it is
The outgoing president, if nothing else, has improved my vocabulary over the last four years. I’ve been required to turn to the dictionary on numerous occasions starting with misogynistic. I’ve gone on to hear new words and have had to research the meaning of (in alphabetic order): autocrat, avaricious, benighted, boorish, gauche, intemperate, kakistocracy, kleptocracy, mendacious. Now the latest, seditionist. As a president who lawfully lost his bid for reelection, his effort to incite a violent takeover of the Capitol and interfere with the Congress and the government process of validating the results of the Electoral College for the 2020 election is by definition sedition. I question why citizens and the other branches of government don’t recognize this and call it for what it is.
Dean R. Lillquist
On Jan. 11, a water pipe broke at the bottom of our driveway. I would like to give a shout out to the crew(s) that worked into the cold, dark night to repair it and get running water restored to us. After 12-plus hours down there, they came back the next day to fill in a rather large hole. Thank you for your persistence and completion of that repair!
Hatred, vitriol have no place in America
Last Tuesday, I skied at PCMR. As I was putting my boots on in the parking lot, a car pulled in across the aisle from me. The car was driven by a veteran and his wife. They had come to Park City to enjoy the day on the mountain. On the back of the car there was an Army Ranger sticker. There were other stickers suggesting that the veteran had served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. There also was a sticker supporting President Trump.
As coincidence would have it, I happened to ride up on the chairlift with the veteran and his wife. I noticed that he was skiing without poles and during the ride I learned why. The man had lost a limb serving his country.
I got off the mountain before the other couple and returned to my car. During the day, someone had defaced the other car and had attached a vile, hate-filled anti-Trump message to the rear window. There is a very good chance that the “brave” person who did this had absolutely no service of any kind to his country that he could claim for himself.
It is pretty obvious that the country is in serious need of healing. Whether you hate Trump or you hate Biden, know that half of America disagrees with you. We are blessed to live in a country where each of us has the right to our own beliefs and we also have the right to express our beliefs peacefully, as this couple was doing.
The act I saw in the parking lot was not only cowardly, but it reflected a mindset of utter disrespect and intolerance — in this case for someone who made a significant personal sacrifice for his country. My hope is that the person who did this reads this letter and feels great shame. More importantly, I hope that others will reflect on the fact that divisive hatred and vitriol, regardless of your political beliefs, will not help out country.
Say no to PCMR lot proposal
I am writing to add my strong personal objections to PEG Development’s new proposed Park City Base Area Lot Redevelopment Master Plan Study that so greatly exceeds the carefully negotiated 1998 Park City Mountain Resort Development Agreement under which PEG and Park City have been operating. I am a member of Responsible Resort Area Development (“RRAD”) and RRAD’s attorney, Nichole DeForge has done a masterful job in her letters sent to the Planning Commission over the past several weeks in articulating why PEG should be held to the strict contractual terms of the Development Agreement just as the Planning Commission would be if it now, at this late date, sought to substantially alter the original agreement. PEG’s proposed changes would violate the most basic principles of contract law.
Park City holds a very dear place in my heart as it does for so many who live here.
I practiced law for over 30 years in Michigan, was appointed by President Obama as commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission where I served from 2013-2018 and served as a 2019 Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow. Currently, I am Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington Law School in Washington, D.C.
I started coming regularly to Park City in the early 1990s and purchased a house here in 2005 where I spend as much time as possible. While I understand that growth is inevitable, some of the development that has been allowed in the Park City area in recent years has really been heartbreaking. It is hard to believe that anyone but the developers are enriched in any way by the massive development at Canyons Village. Park City proper should not follow a similar path. It would be a travesty to allow PEG to breach a negotiated contract to enrich themselves monetarily at the very steep cost of ruining our quaint town.
The decisions being made by the Planning Commission will affect generations for decades to come and should be made with the utmost care and attention to what this town has been, is and will be to so many who love it.
Marietta S. Robinson
A mountain-sized farce
When is this community going to wake up and realize that Park City is no longer a mountain town? What was once a friendly community has instead become overrun with transplants from California, Texas and the East Coast, who have brought their big city attitudes and eroded what was once a place where people actually cared about one another, and a neighborhood was actually a tight-knit community.
This place has become a free for all where the aforementioned don’t even bother to learn trail etiquette, and think they are all of a sudden locals. More posers than locals, but that’s an entirely different discussion. Anyone who believes PC is still a mountain might want to consider getting their eyes checked or get a neurological exam. Or maybe all these people’s vision of a mountain town is one with lots and lots of buildings, no trails and endless traffic like in CA, NY, NJ and TX. Wake up, people. PC has been destroyed by developers and appointed county and city incompetents who can’t say no. Mountain town? That’s the biggest farce of a label west of the Mississippi.
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