May 26 2014

Technique: Stealth glading & construction


Just a small group of riders enjoying a lil' backcountry solitude.

Just a small group of riders enjoying a lil’ backcountry solitude.

Let’s just call him Joe, for the sake of obscurity. Joseph Robertson if you must know his full name. Friends call him Joe Bob for short. He’s a trouble maker from way back.

One time he managed to rally over a 100 snowboarders to the top of some peaklet in the Cascades and the next year the Forest Service goons were there with guns and a blockade at the camp entrance saying, “just leave before we decide to search your packs and vehicles.”

Joe Bob and crew split. No need to push the issue when they could just fan out and still have fun. All the better to promote the anarcho-touring ethic, which was the point anyway. Screw you Mr. Storm-Trooper liberty crusher, we’re here to flaunt freedom and deal with the terms Mother Nature lays down, not the pig-state with regulations and permits and fees. We ski free. Bah!

Joe Bob's semi-portable summit bench/shelter.

Joe Bob’s semi-portable summit bench/shelter.

So it was with some amusement I learned of Joe Bobs latest taunting of the system. He rounded up and convinced a small posse to become stealth gladers. They’re not indiscriminate vandals who get their jollies trimming trees at the root. Like the busy beavers they resemble, they just like the taste of pulp down low. No, seriously, they just like to ski out-of-bounds and the local hill needed weeding.

There is a method to their madness.

Dedicated to...

Dedicated to…

  • No chainsaws; hand pruning saws only
  • Visualize and thin only the uptrack and fall line.
  • Cut low on windy ridges; no punji sticks
  • Level fall line ground cover
  • Minimize cutting of aspens and pines, limbing encouraged
  • Autumn is best, fewer bees, good training
  • Building jumps, log jibs acceptable

Now before you greenies get your knickers in knot, the way they look at it, they’re part owner of the land. Not because it’s forest service land, but because they contributed to a non-profit association, twice, to buy the land so it could remain wild in perpetuity. The way they figure it, they’re just improving the value of the land they’re part owner of. It has a great steep run that holds snow and hasn’t avalanched, that they know of, and needs a little thinning to make navigable. So they “volunteered” to clean up the land.

That’s part one. They didn’t stop there. Kids never do.

Dawn Patrol, waiting for the sun to rise.

Dawn Patrol, waiting for the sun to rise.

Then they decided they needed a small, semi-permanent shelter at the top of the run so they could kick back, enjoy the view out of the wind, have a snack, a smoke, a sip o’ brew, and then rocket home or back up for a rerun. It isn’t anything ostentatious, a bench with a roof that folds up when you’re through using it and blends in with the surroundings. In a pinch it would work as a full on bivy shelter.

You have to admit, even if you think it’s wrong, you sure wish you had one of these at the top of your fave backcountry run, don’t you? With little sneaky paths cleared through the thick stuff that become mini private stashes, hidden from the road? If you’ve got a green streak in you though, you can’t endorse such criminal behavior. There are far worse environmental crimes that deserve attention though, so Joe Bob simply says, “chill.”

One last note about glading ethics. Joe Bob says “ya gotta earn the burn to reap the turn.” In other words, pitch in if you want to poach freshies. He expects to see you this fall helping clear some lines.

Note: Some details have been modified to protect the perpetrators and enhance the tale. Some have not.

© 2014

  • Leeroy

    Encouraging this sort of behavior just makes you look like an idiot Dostie. Geezus…it’s time for these relics to die isn’t it?

  • Dostie

    That’s exactly how most people who disagree react, calling those they disagree with idiots. How original. You notice I wrote it specifically to get under the skin of the mean greenies.

  • http://ThompsonPass.Com/ Matt Kinney

    Good on the brushwackers!! If it wasn’t for this kind of trail hacking, Valdez would not have a nordic trail which was cut without “permission”. Same with our 1800′ “road-run” which was cut on state land without permission either. I’m all for cutting trails of any kind as long as it’s not a clear cut and encourages non-motorized use of public lands. Ski area all over the US started with a few hardy folks whacking brush…next thing you know..…Aspen, Mission Ridge, Bachelor, etc……

    signed….devout greenie.