Snow sports are usually the first step to learning about snow country wildlife, which is only as safe as knowledgeable people want it to be. Unfortunately knowledge is too often lacking, and skiing is perceived as detrimental too wildlife. Reality is that skiing in all its many forms, from ski lift resorts to far flung Scandinavian style ski touring, holds the keys to wildlife conservation and restoration. No amount of litigation can change this basic fact of life, although the Mineral King Case (from the Supreme Court of the United States) certainly changed the legal landscape for all environmental litigation. Mineral King's near miss at becoming another ski lift avalanche disaster area preceded Early Winters, another almost ski lift area which shares the honor of being a Supreme Court case, and is the last chapter of this book. Olympic National Park is the other ski history explored, so that the National Parks are given equal emphasis with America's National Forests and Canada's Crown Lands.
An extensive bibliography also includes many electronically available sources. The language is not technical and no prior experience with either skiing or wildlife is presumed. The book is primarily written for both skiing and wildlife enthusiasts, who may not know much about each other. It is intended as a peace offering to hopefully prevent future ski wars and unnecessary trips through the legal system. That effort could be better spent restoring wildlife and the life support system of our circumpolar boreal forest.
A childhood in New England, snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, fishing and canoeing in eastern Canada, hopelessly imprinted me on boreal forest wildlife. A forestry education followed, at Seattle's University of Washington, plus a Masters at Berkeley California, to study under the leading forest fire and wildlife ecologists of the early 1960's. Smokejumping out of Missoula Montana, and trail crew for Olympic National Park helped pay tuition, while three years in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry Lieutenant avoided the draft. National Parks and National Forests supplied summer and winter seasonal jobs as backcountry ranger or naturalist, after a fall and winter rangering in Big Bend National Park, and four years as a snow and sub-district rangerin Olympic National Park. Most winters were spent working for ski areas as professional ski patrol, alpine and cross-country ski instructor, and helicopter ski guide. Previous published writing started in the 1970's for Nordic World (now Cross Country Skier) and Powder magazines, and contributed chapters to books on cross-country ski technique.
Retirement odd jobs include ski instruction, leading nature walks, designing and building trails, and occasional articles in publications like Off Piste and the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association newspaper. Mazama Washington, ground zero for the 30 year Early Winters ski wars, is now home with ski touring and prime wildlife habitat right out the door.