Why I should have worked at a ski resort.


April 28, 2004, 07:41 AM
I guess I missed out on all the fun. <shrugs>

Army tells ski resorts to give artillery back (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4846442/)
Army tells ski resorts to give artillery back

Howitzers loaned to Sierra Nevada resorts for avalanche control

The Associated Press
Updated: 4:48 p.m. ET April 27, 2004RENO, Nev. - The U.S. Army is demanding the return of five howitzers that two Sierra Nevada ski resorts use to prevent avalanches, saying it needs the guns for the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain received the artillery pieces on loan from the Army and began using them last year to fire rounds into mountainsides to knock snow loose.

But the ski resorts received word earlier this month that the Army’s Tank Automotive and Armaments Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois needs the howitzers back immediately.

“I need to have them back in the troops’ hands within 60 to 90 days,” said Don Bowen, the Army command’s team leader in charge of the howitzers. “It’s a very short timeframe to get them serviceable and back into the theater in southwest Asia. Afghanistan-Iraq is the immediate concern.”

The ski resorts said they will comply.

“Given it’s a war effort, their needs are greater than ours,” said Larry Heywood, Alpine Meadows director of mountain operations.

Howitzers are short-barreled cannons that can be pulled by a vehicle. They fire three to 10 rounds per minute at a range of 9,600 to 12,330 yards. Replacing one would cost around $1 million, Bowen said Tuesday.

The military lent two to Alpine Meadows and three to Mammoth Mountain.

Other resorts use older models
Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain are the only ski resorts in the nation using the 119-A howitzer, the most modern model available, said Bob Moore, a U.S. Forest Service specialist in Truckee, Calif. Other resorts have older 105 mm howitzers.

Pam Murphy, senior vice president at Mammoth Mountain just east of Yosemite National Park, said the military has provided the ski resort with recoilless rifles and other guns for avalanche control for 30 years. The howitzers are the most effective, Murphy said.

“It was designed to kill people, but it’s a very valuable safety tool for us,” said Rachael Woods, a spokeswoman at Lake Tahoe’s Alpine Meadows, where seven people were killed in an avalanche in 1982.

Army seeking other guns for resorts
Resort officials said they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to transport the guns, reimburse the Army for training and build firing platforms.

But Murphy said she understood the Army’s decision: “We’re certainly at a different place in the world than when we first got the guns.”

The Forest Service said it is working to secure older howitzers for the ski resorts, and the Army’s Bowen said he is optimistic that will happen.

If you enjoyed reading about "Why I should have worked at a ski resort." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 28, 2004, 08:18 AM
My uncle works for a ski resort somewhere around Vail, CO. Maybe I need to go visit him.

Greg L
April 28, 2004, 09:42 AM

It costs a million dollars to build a cannon. BS meter is pegging on that one.

Also who was the moron in the Army to ask for them back? Surely as the most powerful nation on the globe we can afford to let a few ski areas keep a few cannons to knock the snow down. The bad PR alone (we don't have enough weapons to fight a war, we can't afford to build more, etc) will cost more than making a few dozen more for the Army :rolleyes: .

Just when you think things can't get any nuttier....

April 28, 2004, 10:33 AM
I am going to send the Army a letter lettintg them know I am going to open a ski resort in my back yard. I wonder what they will lend me.:D

April 28, 2004, 10:35 AM
Yeah, pretty soon the Army will be asking to borrow our "assault rifles"

(that would be okay if they would convert them to select fire and then give them back in that condition :) )

Now here is an interesting situation for those who think civilians shouldn't have "crew-served weapons" etc. :neener:

George S.
April 28, 2004, 10:54 AM
Here in the Washington Cascades, the Snoqualmie Summit ski area uses old WWII or Korean-era 106mm recoilless rifles for avalanche control but it is getting hard to find ammo. Over at Stevens Pass, they use an M-60 tank! The ski patrol just cranks it up and drive over to pads and blasts away. Helps keep the snowboarders in line too:D

These M119-A's are still the current field artillery pieces and if there was a way for the Army to swap them for older howitzers, I would think they would do so. Ski areas are pretty much closed around the country now so there is no real use for them in that capacity. Come next November or December, the areas may get them back. It takes a number of weeks to refurbish a towed howitzer so this might be a way to get some pieces into action sooner.

I'm not too suprised at the cost of a new howitzer. After all look at the cost of a Humvee compared to an M-151 jeep! The M119's are a far cry from the old guns and probably go a lot more rounds between refurbishings.

April 28, 2004, 11:09 AM
The ski resorts said they will comply.

Big of them. Somebody loans them something then asks for it back and they say they will comply?

“Given it’s a war effort, their needs are greater than ours,”

Gee, ya think?


April 28, 2004, 11:56 AM
I think the important thing about this piece is that it drives home the fact that yes, you, as an individual or business, can legally have your own howitzer/tank/whatever if you choose to jump through all the legal hoops!


April 28, 2004, 11:56 AM
I thought the army was going to all 155mm tube artillery? What's up with this?

If you enjoyed reading about "Why I should have worked at a ski resort." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!