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Feb 19

Welcome – Let’s Communicate for Safety

Hello all, Lou Dawson here. As far as we’re concerned, the more people who enjoy backcountry skiing near Marble, Colorado, the better. It’s a wonderful place, and the word is out. Yet unfortunately, over the past few years we’ve seen what we feel is a degradation in friendliness and sharing by backcountry skiers in the Marble area. Specifically off Quarry Road.

As a property owner on the most popular ski hill as well as long-time Marble skier, this trend has concerned me. At best, lack of communication begets the “surfer” mentality of self-entitlement and crude possessiveness. At worst, not sharing information creates danger because shared experience is one of the best ways to know and mitigate alpine hazards.

While we have no wish to be elitist ourselves and “dictate” behavior, we would like to help everyone to be more communicative and friendly. To that end, myself along with others will operate this website during winter of 2013-14 as an experiment. We’ll see if we can lead in the open sharing of information, and promote congeniality.

What is more, many of you know where the WildSnow Field HQ “portahut” is located below the most popular parking area. If we (the Dawsons) are there, feel free to stop by and say hi. Or if in need of assistance, we’re willing. We always have a satphone ready for emergency calls, and we are fully trained in first-aid and rescue.

One other thing. For whatever reason, we’ve seen a remarkable lack of sharing about Marble conditions on the Colorado Avalanche Center (CAIC) website. We’d prefer not to post avalanche conditions reports here at MarbleSki.org. Instead, we’ll push for more of you (and ourselves) to file more conditions reports at CAIC.

Yes, Marble has some of the best backcountry skiing in Colorado. That used to be a secret and many of you did a good job of keeping it. But those days are over. Last winter we had our first avalanche death up on Raspberry Ridge, and the number of near misses over the past few seasons has been alarming. Parking has become a problem, with up to 30 cars counted during peak weekend days.

Let’s try something different. Share place names. Chat up strangers in the parking areas. Seek out local property owners and business people (Yule Quarry) and show your support. Examples: Yule Quarry keeps the road open totally at their own expense. Property owners along the road maintain their access turnouts for summer use, which results in more parking for skiers.

Have a good winter of 2013-14! Lou Dawson

(P.S., some of you may wonder at our .org domain name. Yes, if this website proves effective we’ll consider creating a not-for-profit. For now, this site is simply an un-official volunteer effort, with hosting and technical upkeep costs absorbed by the advertising in the right sidebar. More information on this will be forthcoming as we refine our process.)

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