Created by Michael Carducci and Elias Clough
Alpine skiing as an activity and as a cultural staple is intrinsically interweaved within the Adirondack Park. As a sport, skiing in the Adirondacks draws global recognition for its continuous presence among the prestigious establishments; as a culture, it typifies the internalized conflict within the park as well as both ends of the polarized spectrum; and as industry, it generates millions of dollars each year, drawing throngs of tourists from across the northeast and beyond. Skiing in the Adirondacks is controlled by the New York State government, as an extension of the Forever Wild clause and Department of Environmental Conservation. The two major ski resorts within the Blue Line, Whiteface and Gore, are qualified as “intensive use” land under the overarching forever wild principle, but remain as publicly protected wild lands. Backcountry skiing, while not technically regulated by the government, is currently under consideration for official recognition by the State Land Master Plan, a position which would require the government to regulate ski trails and backcountry skiers in the same way that they do hikers and their trails. Government control of the Adirondack ski industry maintains (and would do so further if the backcountry skiing legislation were to pass) the Forever Wild character of the park’s landscapes by limiting development at state-owned resorts and requiring that backcountry skiers maintain the same wilderness etiquette that has been defined by law and tested by backpackers since the inception of the park. It has concentrated the resort ski industry around two epicenters, limiting the invasive influx of tourists to selective areas with an efficiency unseen in neighboring states. Government control of both backcountry and resort-style skiing in the Adirondack Park would effectively minimize the industry's ecological impact while still facilitating economic development and enjoyable use of the land.
On the map above, note the distance between Whiteface Mountain and the town of Lake Placid, which often claims Whiteface as its own. Additionally, the expanse of green on the map that is the High Peaks wilderness and the distance of Mount Marcy from human establishment. Such isolation adds to the draw of backcountry skiing in the High Peaks. The Map also depicts State-owned land in green, which dominates the landscape in the high peaks area.