The 1500ft North face of Mt Roberts is my regular favoured place to ski-tour, with a consistently steep pitch, a great variety of challenging lines and features, and so close and convenient. Brigitte, Cindy and I were making hour long laps today, the snow – a little bit of powder, a little bit of wind-pack, but mostly untracked and all fun.
Red Resort are begining to take commercial advantage of Roberts, with the recently completed Freeskiing competition and talk of some Red Bull sponsored extravaganza in the works. Given it’s close proximity to Red, it’s probably unrealistic to expect that it could be kept pristine, but I have issues with the way they’re (as usual) ignorantly comprimising the experience for the rest of us.
- Explosives should not be used for cornice removal, as it removes all the acumulated skiable snow. The entrances to Centre Chute (the most popular line), the Knife’s-edge (also decimated by the large number of competitors – which should be limited) and most of the lines between the Hour-glass and the Dog’s Leg are currently unskiable. Manually controlling the venue during the lead-up to the contest has been shown to be effective in preserving the snow we all want to ski.
- The cat-road pushed to within a couple of hundred feet of the summit, and now being used for towing people up on sleds (we observed this today) is completely insensitive to backcountry users (I also wonder what the private land-owner thinks?). It also encourages unprepared people to wander up the road, without adequate gear or knowledge, and to get into serious and uncontrolled terrain.
- The cat-road zig-zagging up the bottom section of Centre Chute, destroys the whole bottom section of the run, and creates an unmarked drop-off onto a road in the middle of the run-out from the lower cliff-band. I nearly creamed myself on it today.
I’m sure I’ll keep finding great turns no matter what, but Red’s capacity to fuck things up seems boundless, so I’ll be doing whatever I can to contain the damage.