The Mountain Experience

by andrewboothman,

        Visiting a ski hill in Banff National Park is a great way to get the "Mountain Experience".  There is nothing quite like standing on top of a mountain. In the winter the snow, the cold, the bright sunshine, all combine to make a magical moment. Unfortunately a park can only take so many people  and that is why ski hills belong in a National Park. They can concentrate a large number of  people in a relatively small area, leaving most  of the park to nature.

I really like  the LRP that has been proposed. It seems very balanced. Taking out the parts of the ski area that are not likely to be used makes sense. Preserving the Whitehorn wildlife corridor is an important part of the plan. Expanding into West bowl without building lifts will make a heavily used part of the park much safer without a lot of impact. Hidden bowl is a very important part of the plan. The ski hill needs to provide more skiing terrain that has a back country feel to it without all of the risks and impacts of users seeking backcountry skiing and boarding. 

The summer use plan looks very good also. Getting up higher on Eagle Ridge where a lift already exists is better in so many ways as the site guidelines document points out. A few years ago I took my then 84 year old mother up the Glacier chair at Lake Louise. She was thrilled! She was able to point out many of the mountains she had climbed in her life. Sadly, she was confused about how to get to Skoki Lodge, a place she had visited more than once. I told her that someday she may be able to see the valley to Skoki from the top of the Grizzly Gondola. 

Banff National Park is a fabulous place to visit and enjoy.  Parks must ultimately be for people, or people will not support and cherish Parks.  Skiing and boarding are great ways to use and enjoy the park by a large number of people with the least impact. If this is to happen, ski areas need to be able change, grow, and adapt. 

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