For those of you who just don't get 'bilers, Slate
's Bryan Curtis goes "slumming on the slopes" near Durango and files his anthropological assessment of snowmobile culture
. He notes the "gruesome injury history" and the drinking that often goes hand in hand with a day of tearing through the backcountry, concluding that, "Snowmobiling is an unambitious sport even among its biggest fans." Near the end of the piece, he also notes that:
There is a pitched battle between snowmobilers and environmentalists over the use of machines in national parks. All I can say is that if you think snowmobiles represent an affront to nature, then you should get a load of the Texans who deposit themselves in Colorado each winter. But the environmentalists' point is taken. Winter beauty is based on beautiful foliage and total silence, and buzzing on a snowmobile makes these qualities impossible to appreciate.
There's a few things left out there: Nothing about the hazing (intentional or otherwise) of wildlife, or the miasma of two-stroke fumes that can get so bad at high season in Yellowstone that park rangers are forced to don gas masks
. Oh well. In the end, the point that snowmobiles are loud and obnoxious and polluting seems obvious to everyone save perhaps the person actually astraddle the beast. They are also fun. No doubt about it, they're an absolute blast. They just don't have any business in our national parks.