Quiet Riot

The Colorado Mountain Club’s 18th annual Backcountry Bash, tonight at the American Mountaineering Center, is a raucous party celebrating, ironically enough, solitude and silence. The fundraiser supports the Backcountry Snowsports Initiative, an effort to preserve quiet-use areas for backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing and to strike some balance in areas that have been overrun by snowmobiles ever since a 2005 Forest Service rule change mostly exempted them from motorized-vehicle restrictions.

“The Vail Pass Task Force has become a model for the Forest Service across the U.S. for user groups creating compromise solutions to manage an area,” says BSI campaign coordinator Jay Heeter. But elsewhere, the skiers-versus-snowmobilers battle is shaping up as an outright war. “The North Route near Steamboat Springs is becoming the next battleground, complete with threats and intimidation tactics from snowmobilers. We want to see snowmobiles governed as motorized vehicles, and there’s really no reason why they shouldn’t be: You can hear them from miles away, the smell hangs in the air, and they’re damaging to fragile areas in ways that human-powered activities are not.”

Aspen-based skier Chris Davenport is this year’s guest of honor: He’ll be screening his film Australis: An Antarctic Ski Odyssey and signing copies of his new book, 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America. Admission — $25 in advance, $30 at the door — includes drinks from Boulder’s Avery Brewing and snacks from Rudi’s Organic Bakery; bring extra cash to throw down on more than $20,000 worth of silent auction items such as backcountry gear, ski-hut tour packages and more. The center is at 710 10th Street in Golden; doors open at 5:30 p.m. For info, visit www.cmc.org/bash.
Sat., Nov. 13, 5:30 p.m., 2010

 
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