Friday, December 18, 2009

What Are They Thinking?



I used to teach skiing. And I was one of what seemed a dwindling group of people that argued about the ecological soundness of ski resorts. There really are some good points I will not clutter this blog up with today.

That those pluses for the environment are on the ever lighter end of the scale in relationship to the mega kilowatts spent every night to blow snow, and the diesel fuel used to groom that snow more and more finely to please the diminishing consumer (skiing is not a growth sport) is another matter for more in depth discussion. This blog was going to be about the Angel Fire Resort announcing night skiing beginning on this Saturday. And how very inappropriate that seemed in juxtaposition to the conference on global warming taking place.

We are tree huggers in New Mexico. Part of the reasons we are so in trouble every summer because of wild fires is groups like Carson Watch that worked to ban logging and also stopped harvesting of dead and down trees for firewood. Our various Chambers of Commerce and tourist bureaus headline our unpolluted night skies. Where I live five miles south of Angel Fire nothing competes with the stars at night but the moon. And by 9:30 at night in Angel Fire only the street lights are on and their have been movements to turn those off for star gazers.

And to this mix comes a corporation that will do anything for the all mighty tourist dollar. They have installed lights and will now begin night skiing. I have to feel sad for all the owners of ski-in/ski-in houses and condos along the trails. Many of them already bitch and moan about the noise the snow making machines make all night long. Not to mention the snow cats grooming the newly made snow all night. Now they need to contend with the glaring lights. I suppose there will be a rush on blackout shades.

That is what this was going to be about. Then I Googled an image for this blog. I knew that resorts very close to metropolitan areas did night skiing to capture the after work sports fan. But I was shocked to see the number of ski resorts that now tout night skiing from Arizona to Vermont. All those mega watts of candle power illuminating once pristine mountain skies, warming the night, wasting energy that so many of us are trying to save by turning off every spare light in the house and switching to those awful energy efficient florescent bulbs.

Am I working on tolerating 62 degrees over 72 in my house so they can warm of the atmosphere with all that candle power for a few people to ski after the sun goes down? I am sure night skiing is just the tip of the power wasting iceberg (all of which are melting away) but before Obama demands accountability from the Chinese maybe we need to show some here. It costs the average ski area between $3000 and $10,000 a night in electric power to blow snow. And we talk about the shortage of clean power in the US?

And there is night golf, and night tennis. And Phoenix that mists its walkways with water it steals from the Colorado Watershed. Not to mention watering it 150 golf course in an area that gets less than 6 inches of rain a year. This shit has got to stop. We need to align ourselves with the earth we live upon not try and force it to be what will generate money for the already extremely wealthy.

If God had wanted night skiing in New Mexico she would have  made the stars brighter.