PROPS & Disses

By on June 9, 2015

DISSTongueOn any given Sunday

Ted Kerasote penned a poignant editorial for the News&Guide last week about the two lives lost in the Sickle Couloir avalanche, closing with the idea that sometimes family men must choose “the humble line that hopefully brings us back to those we love.” The piece might have been tough medicine for some but it is what the valley is talking about in the aftermath of tragedy.

The question remains: How could a husband and father of young children risk his life doing something inherently dangerous for the thrill of the chase? The topic appears to divide us on gender lines. Women can be more in tune with a maternal instinct –hardwired programming that fuels the urge to protect offspring at all costs. Young men, as Kerasote pointed out, are probably more driven by Carl Jung’s “puer aeternus” and the itch to engage in more dangerous and self-destructive activities.

No one wishes to disparage the departed. The choices made by Luke Lynch and Stephen Adamson on the fateful Sunday in mid-May were calculated risks that don’t usually widow waiting spouses. Survivor Zahan Billimoria, a father himself, will no doubt continue to climb and ski the peaks he loves. We tell ourselves, “I will be careful. I will respect the mountain. I will be strong enough to know when to retreat and try another day.”

Marriage means your life is no longer your own. You belong to another. Every decision, every action is made by and affects two as one. Children increase that responsibility. Nothing can ever be made perfectly safe, it’s true. Random risk runs torrential in the wilds of our backyard.

If we must gear up and go, we can minimize the danger. We might carry a family portrait in our wallet to remind ourselves what we live for once we choose a partner and start a family. But listen and learn. True glory is often the quiet voice that insists you put loved ones before yourself.

DISSTongueRide of the Valkyries

The burden of proof, as it were, for constructing something cumbersome, something so incongruent with its natural surroundings that Howard Roark would part with the contents of his stomach at the sight of it, is all backwards in Jackson Hole.

A Master Plan such as the Snow King Mountain Resort’s grandiose 2014 Master Development Plan should have to answer why? Not why not? Zip lines and alpine coasters will be an eyesore on Snow King. Catering to the ADHD tourist with a need for speed and the attention span of a hummingbird is abhorrent. Jackson Hole offers what few tourist destinations can: Boundless natural beauty and pristine wildlife.

Visitors already blow through Yellowstone like their tailgates are on fire. Why must we muster faux excitement to entice tourists to stay longer and spend harder?

“A number of bridges and corkscrews will be constructed to make for an exhilarating ride,” states the 2014 master development regarding the proposed roller coaster for Rafferty. Poor Neil must be corkscrewing in his grave knowing the mountain he helped tame for skiers is not so slowly being transformed into Disneyland.

How the Forest Service signed off on this hill-gouging travesty is beyond this columnist. Adding even more bullet points to the “Things To Do in Jackson” list seems to be the only thing politicians and other stakeholders are interested in. Turning treetops into gold is too tempting a prospect for those with their heads buried in Excel spreadsheets.

Leave amusement parks to Orlando, and leave something untouched and unspoiled.

Just. Breathe.

DISSTongueWe’re gettin’ ‘sprawly’

Dick, you’re not alone. I’ll throw in with Jackson resident Dick Aurelio, who could hardly contain himself when speaking out against a few elements in the Integrated Transit Plan. Dick’s wife, Linda, works for the Jackson Hole Land Trust so it’s little wonder why the California transplant blasted the ITP at a recent meeting.

First of all, any municipality that feels the need to draw up, study, fund, or spend any amount of time whatsoever on anything called an Integrated Transit Plan needs to check its priorities. How many moved here to this area because we knew in our heart of hearts Jackson was the kind of responsible city that would map out its traffic future? Bueller? Bueller?  Hell no, we all moved here (at least I did) because this was the last place remaining on earth that hadn’t already had an Integrated Transit Plan put in place.

If consultant Jim Charlier manages to return to Colorado with anything more than a hoodie with a moose on it for his efforts in authoring the ITP it’ll be an overpayment. Analysis of Jackson’s traffic is expected to cost $200,000, by the way. Charlier and his ilk no doubt lean on fancy computer models like TV weathermen dote on their Doppler 4000s, but in the end we get a bulky 45-page document with Appendices A through K boiled down to a no-brainer summation offered by Charlier at the last ITP public meeting.

“The entrance to Jackson is getting increasingly sprawly,” Charlier noted.

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