Letter: Kill the kitty | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Kill the kitty

Kill the kitty

How many lives does the Highlands Bowl Snowcat have? As I walked up the plowed-out trail to the gate of the Highlands Bowl, being passed by the cat, I did my usual dramatic face coverup and spit out the fumes that inadvertently seeped into my respiratory system in my human-powered effort uphill. The standing question is: Who is really benefiting from this cat ride? Sure, the novelty of riding the cat can be exciting, but the amount of serenity and peace it takes away from the whole experience dramatically offsets the benefits of bussing masses of people up the hill 10 to 15 minutes faster.

It has been said, “If you’re gonna hike the bowl, hike the frickin’ bowl.” I constantly dictate my points to support this statement in my head when I’m up there in that glorious setting choking on diesel. I have tried to ignore the motorized creature; I strive to find contentment and serenity in any situation.

Yet the argument against the free ride persists: The people who are riding the cat are often tourists from the city. We are not enhancing their experiences by buzzing them up the hill. It is a rarity in the hyperactive, bustling, modern world to experience a type of quietness only found in nature. Why not offer our tourists the full mountain experience and a chance to warm up for the steep part of the climb?

Look, I know I’m a wannabe backcountry snowboarder by staying within the confines of patrolled area. As irritated as I get sometimes, I have to muse about how little difference the bowl with or without the cat makes in the big picture. Here I am, all huffy about a snowcat making quarter-mile laps, while surely the changes that have occurred over the past 100 years here would make the Ute Native Americans choke on their peace pipes (no offense to the Utes. It is a fact they used ceremonial peace pipes). Change is inevitable, but at some point, humans could forego conveniences for the sanctity of preservation. That’s why I say kill the kitty!

Erica Purcell

Aspen


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