Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA), a fledgling organization whose mission is to provide safe and sustainable non-motorized multiple use trails for the enjoyment of area residents and visitors”, has begun to explore ways to develop opportunities for backcountry (BC) glade/tree skiing on private and public lands. In doing so, RASTA has uncovered more questions than answers.
From the start, it was clear there are many different kinds of experiences that skiers/riders are looking for in their BC adventures. Some are eager to improve a favorite line by judicious thinning and trimming. Others get their satisfaction from finding the most natural path of least resistance down the mountain. The challenge of route finding to an interesting looking slope is what drives the others to strap on their boards.
With members’ curiosity piqued and more questions than answers, RASTA has decided a gathering of the minds was is order. RASTA’s Vermont Backcountry Ski Forum will bring together like-minded enthusiasts interested in the pursuit, growth and sustainability of BC skiing, riding and sliding. The purpose of the forum is to open and advance a dialogue among land owners/managers, recreationists, economic developers, industry leaders and public safety providers.
Schedule of events:
6:00 -7:00 pm Enjoy an informal hour of pre-forum networking, video watching, light fare and a cash bar. See old friends and meet new ones. Join RASTA!
7:00 – 8:30 pm Panel Discussion with Q&A Session.
- Dick Hall, Founder, North American Telemark Organization
- Amy Kelsey, Executive Director, Catamount Trail Association
- Holly Knox, Recreation and Trails Coordinator, Green Mountain National Forest
- Oliver Black, Smugglers Notch Ski Instructor, Ski Patrol and Consulting Forester
- Dave Goodman, Author, Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast: 50 Classic Ski Tours in
- New England and New York.
- Ethan Phelps, Parks Regional Manager, Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation
- Megan Smith, Commissioner, VT Department of Tourism and Marketing
8:30 – 9:30 pm Continued cash bar, networking and RASTA membership sign-up
- Have fun talking about skiing/riding and meeting new folks!
- Identify opportunities for recreation, economic development, and developing a BC ethic.
- Identify the challenges/opportunities with meeting a growing interest and demand in BC skiing.
- Discuss sustainability issues now and in the future.
- Develop a broader community of interest. Visit us on the Web at www.rastavt.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RASTAvt
Topics to Explore:
- With a diverse panel of guests from public land managers to industry front-runners we’ll explore a range
- of topics that might include:
- What is the BC experience anyway? Can BC be narrowly defined? Should we strive for a narrow
- or a broad definition of the sport?
- How do we maximize inclusivity in BC skiing?
- Is it even reasonable to consider expanding and/or organizing public interest/involvement in an activity whose users cherish the “secret stash”?
- Is there a need to develop, build, articulate, share or expand a BC ethic?
- What is the industry share and trend in BC? Is it important to Vermont’s economy?
- What is the range of BC gear use? What’s next?
- What are the policies and regulations governing BC use on Vermont’s federal and state land?
- How common and desirable is snipping and/or cutting for glade skiing in forested areas?
- What is the impact of snipping and cutting on a forest ecosystem over the long term?
- Is there an art and/or a science to designing and improving tree skiing?
- What are the challenges involved with out-of-bounds skiing? Can these challenges be turned into opportunities?
- Can responsible forest management and BC skiing go hand-in-hand?
- Is there a role for a state or region-wide organization for non-motorized winter trail recreation similar to VAST for snowmobiling and NEMBA/VMBA for mountain biking?
For more information, please visit RASTA on the Web at www.rastavt.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RASTAvt