By Peter MacLachlan, Hamilton
When Mr. Maclay’s ski area proposal was presented to us a few years ago, as a long-term addicted alpine (downhill) skier, I wanted it to happen. Having been a wilderness skier mainly in the Bitterroot range since the early 1960’s, and as a member of the Rocky Mountaineers, we cut a trail up off the Mormon Ridge road leading directly up the north ridge to Lolo Peak. I skied there with my friends and on one occasion skied to the top alone packing a super8 camera – my first (and last!) back-country shoot.
As far as my memory goes, most of us wilderness freaks/mountaineers wanted a commercial ski area there because of the beautiful terrain and long-season snow. We never saw it as a threat to the integrity of our vast Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. It was just going to be a great thing for all of us in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley.
As most of us here in those days remember, there was much resistance when that project was proposed. And it was defeated – twice as I recall.
Today, even though Mr. Maclay’s idea was originally stopped, the reasons to make it happen are still valid and worthy ones. And there is another important one – that we need economic help in Western Montana and especially here in our valley. I will do whatever to help this new ski area become a reality. Hopefully the USFS will see fit to implement the new proposal. It will be a good thing overall and help everyone, especially our kids.