Regardless of how much of a Sierra Club-letter-writing greenie you are, there are untold millions of acres of land in America that would make great ski resorts. More development will never happen in my lifetime or yours because of the fear that people might be able to take advantage of the millions of outdoor acres and skiing in particular.
Yet, the miniscule percentage of acreage enjoyed by millions of skiers and snowboarders, and the amount of money the Forest Service receives from ski resort rent, far exceeds the amount of money they receive from the lumber industry, and the Forest Service also has to pay for the logging roads.
Most of my friends who live and work in ski resorts are much better stewards of the land than someone who lives in the city and drives 200 miles or so each way to go for a day hike in what they call the nearby mountains.
Warren’s observation does not surprise me one bit. One of the draws of ski resorts is for people to get outside and be in the great outdoors for once. There are many who will object that ski resorts are not the great outdoors that they are nature spoilt. If you will read Warren’s column he makes a great argument, a ski resort takes up a small amount of land in comparison to what is out there, and even if the the “outdoors” is not pure, it is certainly a lot more outdoors than Central Park.
I have an old Richard Brookheiser column where he talks of his place in upstate New York. He makes this point too in general about small town New York. Even though it is far from wilderness, the fauna does much better in his vacation hamlet than it does in New York City.
Those who run ski resorts understand people’s needs to get out of the city and away from suburbia and urbia they know people have this need or desire to find themselves in a natural setting and will work to keep their resorts as natural as possible.
A large draw of ski resorts, especially destination resorts, is they have the air of wilderness to them. You see the mountains, you see the terminating pines, you see very few people. You think you are part of the Lewis and Clark expedition up there, but you are not. Nope, you are not, but so what? You can still see lots of wildlife at the ski hill.
Not just the wildlife, but you are actually outdoors you are not watching it on Animal Planet or National Geographic!
Get outdoors and do not let irrational fear of disturbing the environment stop you, you will learn to appreciate it more, you will make it pay to take care of it, and you will learn how to participate in sports and recreation in the outdoors without destroying it.