How about if I agree with a few of these "observations" and disagree with a few?
Agree: Our mountain is steeper than most. Blue runs here are steeper than blue runs at a lot of other ski resorts. We have easier skiing, but it's not what people come to this mountain for.
Agree: Our mountain is colder than many. When we get clear-weather inversions (usually during the first three weeks of January), it can be brutally cold on the lower half of the mountain.
Agree: Our mountain is pointed the wrong way. The predominant southeast exposure makes for "variable" snow conditions, particularly during March.
Agree: Most people come to Jackson Hole for the summers, not the winters. Summer visitors outnumber winter ones by ten to one.
Disagree: The contention that this whole tram thing is somehow aimed at de-experting the skiing at Jackson Hole. I honestly wonder how many of you who feel this way have actually skied here. The tram accesses 800 vertical feet of skiing that can't be reached by any other lift. 99% of that skiing is Rendezvous Bowl, which would be called "expert" skiing at most any other mountain (
) but here at Jackson it's hardly ranked among the more difficult terrain. The other 1% is Corbet's Couloir, which is certainly expert but not really on anybody's five-times-a-day skiing routine. Decommissioning the tram is about safety and money. It's getting old and it won't last forever, that's the safety part. It'll cost northward of $20 million to replace and for a ski area with only 400,000 skier days a year, that's economic suicide. That's the money part. Anybody who thinks that the Jackson Hole ski area without the tram is somehow this enormously different (and easier) ski area just hasn't skied here very much.
Disagree: Lots of generalizations being thrown around here about rich people. Not that I am one, but I do rub elbows with quite a few. Rich people are not a whole lot different from poor people. There are lazy, arrogant, obnoxious slobs in both categories (and everywhere in between). I know a few "investment banker" types out here who I would dare to say could clean the clocks of practically anybody on Epic Ski, whether skiing down the mountain *or* hiking up it.
Don't just assume that a large bank account automatically equates to someone whose morals or values or passions or athletic abilities are somehow out of whack with us more "normal" people.
Any of you who *have* visited Jackson Hole have probably been awed by the natural beauty of the enormous valley at the base of the Tetons. There are literally hundreds of thousands of acres of land in that valley that make up a big part of Grand Teton National Park. How did that land come to *be* in the National Park? A rich family (the Rockefellers) donated it. If they hadn't bought up all that land in the early 20th century and then deeded it over to the Park Service, the northern end of Jackson Hole would probably now be Wal-Marts, Burger Kings, and Home Depots.
To bring it to a little more modern times, the Jackson Hole Land Trust just held its 25th Anniversary party. In that 25 years, the Land Trust has locked up more than 16,000 acres of *private* land in Jackson Hole for scenic, agricultural, and wildlife easements. I do a lot of volunteer work for the land trust and I would venture to guess that those 16,000 acres represent more protected land than the Vail, Dillon, Park City, and Lake Tahoe areas have protected put together. Guess where the money to acquire those easements comes from? Rich people.
Jackson Hole does not appeal to the pampered rich, even with the new Four Seasons Hotel at Teton Village. This is a more difficult climate than some of the other mountain resorts. People who are attracted to Jackson Hole are ones who truly love the beauty - and the higher level of hardship - we have here.
Jackson Hole, like any other mountain community, has its share of problems. The issues never diminish, but this place has a lot of highly intelligent, opinionated, experienced people who have helped and continue to help shape the future of this valley.
This tram thing shall pass. When it does, the Jackson Hole ski area will be every bit as badass as it's ever been.
Okay. I'm done ranting now.