As one of the 110 employees of Eaglecrest I thought it wise to respond to the writer of the recent editorial about "Mt. Albatross."
I teach skiing every winter to some 700-plus children from Juneau public schools, Thunder Mountain Academy, Juneau Christian School, IDEA program, Gustavus, Pelican, and Tenakee to name a few. All of these classes were not paid for by taxes but by the students and their families, so additional tax burdens need not be addressed.
On weekends we see families from Sitka, Petersburg, Skagway, and Haines who often make Eaglecrest the focus of their visit to Juneau.
Goldmedal brings us a fresh group of skiers as well as fresh snow since March has a tendency to give us a considerable amount. Weekends are filled with future Olympic hopefuls training in Alpine as well as Nordic disciplines, wee skiers learning balance and motor coordination, and the squeals of birthday party participants on the tubing hill is a healthy recreational opportunity.
I've seen numerous avalanche classes trudging across the parking lot to further their knowledge in saving themselves or someone else, held hands with an ORCA participant whose highlight of the week was spending a few hours sliding down a hill, and had a parent tell me that skiing really helped his daughter's self-esteem.
Yes, there are a lot of people who don't ski, snowboard, tube, snowshoe ... but there are also quite a few people who do not own boats, play softball, or swim. Having a city-owned and operated mountain not only makes skiing accessible but also affordable. With the cost of insurance, stockholder dividends and other associated costs, skiing now is in excess of $60 for just a lift ticket at many places down south. Here, it's less than $30 no matter what day it is.
Is Eaglecrest really a burden on our community? Well I guess that number would be hard to quantify since a wide variety of businesses make a bit of money off the ski industry, like the various gear and clothing stores, hotels who house out-of-towners, jobs for seasonal employees, doctors specializing in knee injuries, just to name a few.
For many of us, Eaglecrest is more than just a privileged playground but a significant component in our lives. I agree in that we do have snowfall issues, the only bar is that in the back of your truck, and it is not a cheap as renting a movie. But before you go knocking the place, let me give you a lesson. If that doesn't make you rethink your position, it's on me.
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