Three cheers for the arsonists at Vail

  Dear HCN,


In its single-minded pursuit of ever-increasing profits and greater market share, it seems Vail has finally stirred some resistance from folks not overly concerned with such niceties as the legality of their actions, and who exhibit a downright healthy disdain for the property of large corporations. Well, God bless the Earth Liberation Front! The pious outpourings of shock and anger from the tourism and ski industries are to be expected, but the expressions of disapproval from the mainstream environmental groups seem a bit strained. They need to distance themselves from these acts to maintain their respectability, especially a venerable old dinosaur like the Sierra Club, no matter what spark of joy some of them, as individuals, might feel in their hearts and share in private. Of course, there are political realities at work, and maybe these fires weren't the wisest acts. But then again, who really knows? A little sabotage against the corporate state and in defense of wilderness is a healthy thing. It adds spice to the political stew and lifts the spirits of those of us who value solitude, simplicity and wild places over the noisy clamor of industrial recreation.


Vail Resorts will press forward with its plans to expand into the Two Elk Creek area. And, ironically, this bloated monster crouching in the mountains above Gore Creek and the Eagle River, sucking in money and increasing the wealth of the already wealthy while giving back low-wage jobs, unaffordable housing, pollution and habitat fragmentation, will spin this sabotage to elicit maximum sympathy.


Now, I'm not opposed to skiing. I've spent countless days in the backcountry, sleeping in snow caves or tents, making tracks far from the sounds of civilization. I've skied and enjoyed many of Colorado's small resorts: Eldora, Loveland, Monarch, Purgatory. It's really a matter of scale. The Vails and Aspens of the world are the Wal-Marts and Home Depots of the ski world: Big machines for funneling capital into the hands of a wealthy few in exchange for low-wage jobs, habitat destruction and huge increases in demands on existing infrastructure that lower the quality of life for almost all who live in the community. Meanwhile, the money goes elsewhere, out of the area, out of state, maybe even out of the country. The modern colonialism: Smile while you say "Would you like fries with that?" and make your $7/hour; be grateful for whatever job you have while you're making the treacherous one-hour-each-way-when-the-weather-is-good commute from Leadville to Vail.


The small resorts generally keep more of the wealth within the community, and contribute positively to the lives of residents. It is this type of development that should be encouraged; any further growth of the big gorillas of the industry should be discouraged in every way possible.


I can only imagine that the ghost of Ed Abbey is looking down on this little act of protest from the canyon and rimrock, scorpion- and rattlesnake-infested heaven I hope he's living in, and smiling while he drinks his whiskey and eats his beans around the celestial campfire.





Michael E. Adams


Lafayette, Colorado
High Country News Classifieds
  • COMMUNICATIONS & DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position Type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman, MT Compensation: $42,000 - $47,000 Benefits: Major Medical Insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k, PTO, flexible...
  • PARTNERSHIP & COLLABORATION DIRECTOR
    WEST REGION WILDFIRE COUNCIL- RIDGWAY, CO The partnership & collaboration director will provide leadership and/or assistance with all initiatives that create and enhance connections between...
  • 2 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • WATER STEWARD
    The Blackfoot Challenge is seeking a full-time Water Steward to coordinate and deliver a variety of partnerships and projects aimed at conserving and enhancing water...
  • SMALL FARM AT BASE OF MOUNT SHASTA, CALIF.
    Fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm in the mountain town of Mount Shasta. Small home, 2 barns (one with apartment), and more. Famously pure air and water.
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • POLICY & PLANNING SPECIALIST
    Position Type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman, MT highly preferred, remote negotiable Compensation: $50,000-54,000 Benefits: Major Medical Insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Illinois Valley SWCD is offering an incredible career opportunity in beautiful SW Oregon. .8+ FTE, plus benefits. Visit our website for full details.
  • DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
    Formed in 1980, Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action brings people together to build grassroots power through community organizing and leadership development. The Alliance works...
  • LITIGATION ASSISTANT, NORTHERN ROCKIES OFFICE - FULL-TIME BOZEMAN | REMOTE OPTION
    Visit our website to apply: earthjustice.org/about/jobs
  • BUFFALO NATIONS GRASSLANDS ALLIANCE SEEKING AN ASSESSMENT CONSULTANT
    ASSESSMENT OF THE SCOPE OF CONSERVATION PLANNING AND ACTIVITIES IN NATIVE NATIONS IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Rural Community Assistance Corporation seeks experienced CFO.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, the official philanthropic non-profit partner with the National Park Service Southeast Utah Group, is seeking an Executive Director....
  • GRAND CANYON MANAGER
    Application deadline: May 9, 2022 Anticipated start date: June 15, 2022 About the position Are you passionate about building authentic relationships, supporting tribally led initiatives,...
  • LAND CONSERVATION PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) is seeking a Land Conservation Program Director to join our nationally accredited land trust. This is a full-time position based...
  • OUTREACH AND COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
    Reports to: Communications and Outreach Director Location: Ashton, Idaho (partial remote schedule possible) Status: Full-time, 40 hours per week Timing and Duration: Position open until...
  • CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
    The Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) was founded in 2012 by landowners and managers to increase the wellbeing of working lands in the American West and...
  • WILDERNESS STEWARDSHIP CREW MEMBER
    The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) wilderness crew members work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to monitor wilderness characteristics, conduct trail work, and...
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (TEMPORARY, FULL-TIME POSITION)
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill a temporary, full time, Assistant Director position in the Outdoor Program. The Outdoor Program provides professional outdoor recreational and...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    We find groundwater, reduce excavation costs and determine your IBC site class for a fraction of drilling costs.