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Author Topic: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge  (Read 28560 times)
JimD
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Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« on: 01/24/06, 01:22 AM »

Last Sunday the trail up Heather/Skyline Ridge was repeatedly laped by a 4 machine crew of snomobilers ferrying a lazy ass bunch of snowboarders to the top. At least they were well behaved enough to politely pass us, and didn't blast down the slope cutting it up like many yahoo motorheads would, but it was quite a bummer. I wonder what if anything we can do about it. My thought would be talking to the ski area managment about a sign prohibiting unautorized snowmobiles on the access road (if I lived in one of the cabins I wouldn't have appreciated it). I'm more than willing to chip in some $ to pay for such a sign. Of course bone heads like this might not pay any attention. Angry
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altasnob
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #1 on: 01/24/06, 01:32 AM »

Are snowmobiles prohibited up there? If not, good luck getting the forest service to act quickly on anything.
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Skier X
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #2 on: 01/24/06, 05:58 AM »

Backcountry users seem to come in two flavors , motorheads and motorheads in denial. X
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Randonnee
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #3 on: 01/24/06, 09:09 AM »

Dear Jim D:

Most of us would prefer to be away from snowmobiles while bc skiing. But such language and such assumption, presumption, assumed selfish pre-eminence, and preadolescent fit is certainly a bore.

Did you bother to speak to those offending individuals, or did you lack the courage? If you did not bother to speak to them, is your anger justified? Aside from offending you, how were they in the wrong ("well behaved")?

I would suggest don't be such a "lazy...", check your spelling, work on improving your vocabulary and verbal expressive ability, and go hike to a place that snowmobiles cannot go.

« Last Edit: 01/24/06, 09:16 AM by Randonnee » Logged
Skier X
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #4 on: 01/24/06, 10:34 AM »

Eloquent articulation Randonee,apropos.   X
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philfort
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #5 on: 01/24/06, 10:55 AM »

That place is packed with people: skiers, snowshoers, hikers, kids sledding, etc... seems like a dangerous spot for snowmobiles.
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Jim Oker
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #6 on: 01/24/06, 11:26 AM »

Good grammar... err and point, Phil.  Wink

And those who have skied with me know I have no knee-jerk aversion to being around snowmobiles. In fact, I sometimes take great advantage of their trailbreaking and grooming functions.
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sean
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #7 on: 01/24/06, 12:40 PM »

A friend of mine was up there on that day and also told me he had seen snomobiles. I am pretty sure they our not allowed up there on the route, but I could be wrong. I have worked At Stevens for a couple years and have never seen them on the ridge in all the Winters I worked there.
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tdave
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #8 on: 01/24/06, 01:19 PM »

Quote
Good grammar... err and point, Phil.  Wink


Actually..."preadolescent fit" needs an article; and it would still be fairly awkward.
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Jim Oker
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #9 on: 01/24/06, 02:01 PM »

Quote


Actually..."preadolescent fit" needs an article; and it would still be fairly awkward.


That's not Phil you're editing there, but I was referring to him...
« Last Edit: 01/24/06, 02:02 PM by jim_oker » Logged
tdave
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #10 on: 01/24/06, 03:58 PM »

Oops, sorry. You're right, Phil's grammar is good.
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John Morrow
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 Please goRe: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #11 on: 01/25/06, 02:37 AM »

Perhaps JimD's language is a bit inflammatory, but many of us share his feelings.  Skyline Ridge is one of the shortest approaches around.  Perhaps those compelled to use machines to access there ought to stay in the lift assisted backcountry of the ski areas.  
Historically, Skyline has always been non-motorized.  Leave it for those who earn their turns by skinning up from the a parking lot.  There are many other places day touring skiers cannot access that are available for the snowmobile assist crowd.  Some simple map study will reveal thousands and thousands of acres of legal snowmobile assisted terrain out of reach of a day ski tour and outside of the wilderness.  Please go there.
Areas that have historically been non-motorized should stay that way.  We as a community should pursue legal closures with the USFS when courtesy no longer works.  Now is the time for us to make our concerns known.  So far this could be done without a single snowmobile groomed trail mile being lost.  My experience with the progression though is this:
First discovery by a few snowmobiles...
They tell snowmobiling friends...
Groomer councils advocate adding the area to groomed snowmobile routes, effectively eliminating all non-motorized users from wanting to go there.    
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Randonnee
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #12 on: 01/25/06, 03:32 AM »

No snowmobiles in that area would be welcomed by most self-powered users. That would be fine with me. I am suggesting that one needs to take a reasonable and civil approach. It sounds like some are just getting all fired up and have not even discussed their concerns with the snowmobilers. There is no signage to prohibit  snowmobiles, so neither user has priority until something is established. If some of you want to make a change, find out who owns the land and contact them to express your concerns.

Thoughtless complaining, name calling, and swearing is not helpful. Similarly, neither are sideways chicken comments similar to the manner of Beavis and Butthead.

As far as I know, that is not USFS land nor is it owned by the ski area. It is likely that there is an established easement through the ski area cabins property. There is no precedent, I snowmobiled up there a few times to ski tour about 15 years ago. That is a summer road, I have driven it in summer for a rescue, and snowmobiles have been used there in winter for rescues. The road goes to the lake. I do not plan to snowmobile up there again, nor do I plan to cry and whine if I see a snowmobile there since I have no greater right to be there than that person on the snowmobile.

At times it would appear that some self powered bc users assume a selfish, superior, arrogant attitude. A disrespectful bc skier is no less annoying that a disrespectful snowmobiler. The joy of being self powered is that one can travel away from snowmobiles, other people, noise, etc.- I can easily travel out of hearing range of all the whiners rather quickly.

Snowmobilers (where allowed), those walking in a skin track, etc. all have an equal right to use that land.
« Last Edit: 01/25/06, 06:25 AM by Randonnee » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #13 on: 01/25/06, 05:21 AM »

Quote
A direspectful bc skier is no less annoying that a disrespectful snowmobiler.  

That is true, for sure. When I ski around bilers, I strive to interact positively with them. I've shared my food on ridgetops (and politely turned down offers of their beer). Other than perhaps the original post, I'm not seeing disrespect toward the motorized users in this thread (discussion as to whether use of a given area is appropriate is of course not in and of itself disrespectful). My quick take is a blend between Randonnee's and Phils - BC skiers have plenty of other options, and even w/o the biles that hillside is above an interstate and across from a busy ski area, but on the other hand it seems like a very short bile ride and at least moderate risk to mix them in with all the kids and such that are on the access trail most of the time (I have worried about my own metal edges being a hazard on that trail at times).
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Randonnee
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #14 on: 01/25/06, 06:29 AM »

Good one. That uppity Randonnee should check his spelling, as well!

User groups sometimes make negative assumptions about other user groups. Those assumptions are sometimes accompanied by name calling. Name calling is a lot of fun, but does not accomplish much.

Oh, please- don't drag the kids into this. I tend to keep my six year-old daughter away from hazardous areas or activities.
« Last Edit: 01/25/06, 06:31 AM by Randonnee » Logged
David_Coleman
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #15 on: 01/25/06, 07:06 AM »

Randonnee - as if you should be talking.  Coming from a fellow that ACCUSES Amar of Fraud simply because of a difference in the reported gas price at a station & what it said on his receipt! I think you need to work on your vocabulary with the assistance of a Thesaurus. Huh
« Last Edit: 01/25/06, 07:08 AM by David_Coleman » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #16 on: 01/25/06, 07:12 AM »

I didn't notice the typo until you pointed it out. I'm not intending to call anyone names, if "bilers" is an offensive term, let me know and I'll cease and desist. I certainly am not trying to paint you as "uppity" Randonee - sorry if you truly took my post in that light, though perhaps you're reading more into it than was there? I meant what I said about striving to interact positively, as I do ski around them a fair bit, and see no point in inflaming the us/them divide. I sometimes choose to ski in "their" terrain, and it's my own choice. The only snowmobilers that bug  me are the ones who violate closed areas or that accelerate as they pass at about 50MPH in such a way as to spray us with snow, but these are the rare exceptions. Mostly, they're just good family folk out for their own brand of fun.

Fact is, there have always been tons of kids on that path whenever I've gone there (about a decade of infrequent trips), so someone is dragging the kids into this, and it's not Phil or me. I doubt their parents are reading this board. Seems to me that both snowmobilers and wilderness cravers have plenty of other options than that one location. I don't go there enough to get my knickers in a twist or lobby the FS one way or another, I just found the discussion interesting and found some value in both your and Phils' points, and thought I'd say so.
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JimD
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #17 on: 01/25/06, 08:54 AM »

Dear Rando,

Sorry to bore you with my poor writing, selfish pre-eminence, and preadolescent fit. You are right on all counts - I'm afraid this incident brought out the worst in me. I admit to being a cranky old timer (with preadolescent tendencies when worked up) who does believe that muscle powered sports are better for both the practitioner and the environment than motorized. Of course the use of a car to get up there negates my ecological superiority, and why should I care if they get a good cardio work-out? I also admit to being selfish - I dislike the noise and smell of an ORV passing me - especially when seeking peace and quiet in an area that is traditionally machine free.  

I fully understand that it might be legal for them to be there, which is why I did not talk to them. Given the fact that they were blithely motoring up and down a trail being heavily used by skiers and snowshoers didn't lead me to believe it would do much good to argue that this was a traditional muscle powered area and their intrusion was unpleasant for others. I assumed their response would be, It is a free country, and they would be right. My partner and I tried to come up with an approach that might work, but decided it was better not to not rile them up (might cause snow rage) and make the situation worse.

The obvious answer is to avoid them (which is why I never climb the Easton Glacier on Baker until the trail melts out), but I have never seen snowmobiles here, so I did not think I had to worry about it. I love this little hill, especially on high avy danger days, so I will be very sad if it gets discovered as a snowmobile playground. We were lucky that the crew last week was well behaved; others may run up and down the slopes high marking. Hopefully the ski area can help us keep it machine free. If not I'll go somewhere else. Cool
« Last Edit: 01/25/06, 08:57 AM by JimD » Logged
juan
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #18 on: 01/25/06, 09:17 AM »

I have seen the bilers up there this season too (and no I dont think this is an offensive term- I actually prefer bubblehead).  And yes, I did stop and speak with them, letting them know that I was under the impression the area was non-motorized.  He told me that the front side is usable, but not Heather Ridge and not the backside past Skyline lake, which leaves them only with some pretty flat and short terrain-and fairly lame IMO to deal with the burden of a snowmachine.

I am in the camp that thinks this area should stay non-motorized, due to the high usage.  I've skied near 50 days in this area and only seen the bilers this year.  I have called the Skykomish Ranger district to investigate and the preliminary report is that the entire area is USFS land, and that the front side was aquired in a land swap in 1997.  So if it is USFS, the next step is to find out what uses are permitted.  I'll update when I learn more.
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philfort
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #19 on: 01/25/06, 09:31 AM »

I think it's likely to become a more and more frequent occurrence, give the rising popularity of backcountry skiing, especially sled-assisted bc skiing.
No self-respecting sledhead would go there for the sledding itself - your day would be done in 5 minutes.

I wonder if we'll see them on Arrowhead soon too...
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Randonnee
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #20 on: 01/25/06, 09:42 AM »

Cool, Juan. Non-motorized designation would be good. The area is close to Wilderness.

JimD,
No apology necessary, and the intent was to encourage more productive communication. Don't get offended, as long as we don't swear and name call I say just argue back if you wish. We all get fired up, and sometimes certain language is not helpful.

It is hardly worth snowmobiling up there to ski tour. One point was that if no one told those snowmobilers that they were offensive, how would they know? Apparently they attempted to be considerate.

Hey Oker,
I think it was funny that I had a spelling error after pontificating! Serves me right. You can criticize me in fun or seriousness, I will not cry, but I do like to argue.



I have been a Forest user in about every category, and  I continue to use motorized travel appropriately on the Forest. I tend to react to one Forest user group assuming superiority to another. In my old-age-endless-quest for the elusive fitness of 20 years ago, I usually engage in self-powered travel now on the Forest.

FYI I have considered snowmobiling up the road to Arrowhead since the trees on the bottom grew in too thick to really ski falline up/ down from the RR trestle. But I usually avoid Arrowhead because there are often so many skiers up there.
« Last Edit: 01/25/06, 09:48 AM by Randonnee » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #21 on: 01/25/06, 10:24 AM »

Quote
Hey Oker,
I think it was funny that I had a spelling error after pontificating! Serves me right. You can criticize me in fun or seriousness, I will not cry, but I do like to argue.

I must admit, the humor was not lost on me after you pointed the typo out. Just wanted to be sure you didn't think I was calling anyone names. I like to debate too, as you may have gathered in the past  Wink.
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Scole
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #22 on: 01/25/06, 11:20 AM »


If for no other reason, I'm sure Stevens Pass would prefer it be snowmobile-free since the 'bilers would take up waaaay too much parking area with their trucks and trailers..
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wolfs
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #23 on: 01/25/06, 11:24 AM »

Like Phil points out, snomo assist is really a totally different usergroup than pure snomo (BTW Phil, do you still own that sled? Wink  ) The  Skyline riders probably wouldn't even care if the discrete snomo rider group that represents snowmobiling's public and policy-setting face stated they'd agree to not ride up there anymore. They're either taking turns or trading uptrack for sixpack, the sled is means to end.

I noted this same issue in a Skyline TR from a while back. My concern was more with them crossing the ridgeline eventually (someone will, they always do eventually, lines on the map mean nothing if you know enforcement is nil even in the most egregious cases), and perhaps to a lesser degree the inconvenience and collision risk of snomos on such a heavily traveled foot route.
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Randonnee
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Re: Snomobiles on Heather/Skyline ridge
« Reply #24 on: 01/25/06, 12:33 PM »

Wolfs,

Great point. A closure near the base of the slope would buffer the Wilderness.

Snowmobiles are licensed. If you see a violator, get the number, or take a photo, turn 'em in.

I think that there is a lot more snomo terrain available than close-to-parking ski touring terrain.

I have been skiing Wedge Mtn. above Snow Lakes for over 20 years, sometimes snowmobiling the many miles of road to get there. It is not a great tour, but handy just above town.  For about 7 or 8 years now I have seen snomo tracks to the summit of Wedge Mt. I actually know the two brothers who do it. That ridgeline is the ALW boundary. It looks extreme to me- if you lost it at the top your machine could bounce down a kilovert of cliff face- so I think that limits much snowmobile use there so far. It is impressive where the sleds are going now.
« Last Edit: 01/25/06, 12:46 PM by Randonnee » Logged
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