By Matt Neisinger
My sometimes ski buddy at the Homer Rope Tow Chuck Lindsay, as well as others, voiced their disapproval last week over the new Kenai Heli ski operation based in Seldovia.
They voiced concerns that its use is not in line with the spirit of wilderness areas. I can see their point and appreciate their views. However, I believe that helicopter skiing will change the wilderness value of the park minimally from what it already is.
Helicopters already are a daily part of our lives in Homer. For years and years day in and out loud planes have made almost hourly flights low over the park delivering people and goods to communities across the bay. Ski tracks are already visible on many of the peaks across the bay during the winter (how many of us notice those?). The skier traffic over the short two-month heli skiing season will pale in comparison to the spring and summer boat and foot traffic in the park.
Best of all the ski tracks and landing zones will all melt away in the spring leaving minimal if any trace.
There are very few people using the park during the winter and there are plenty of peaks to accommodate skiers like Chuck and I who enjoy earning our turns the hard way, as well as skiers who shell out $8,000-plus to zip up in a whirlybird.
Kenai Heli Ski presents a great economic opportunity for Seldovia during the slow winter months. As an avid local skier and lover of the outdoors I am willing to share my powder with out-of-towners who are willing to spend big money to play in my backyard. This is not an oil company or big industry. This is a business run by outdoorspeople for outdoorspeople who have a passion for the mountains.
Our community should welcome this type of business.