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Analysis | New kinds of powered vehicles surging into backcountry, and PA managers aren't ready

Picture this: You’ve broken trail up 1500 vertical feet of deep powder high in the Beartooth Mountains and reached the summit. All the world lies at your feet as the sun sinks into a sea of snowy peaks. You soak in the silence, the splendor, the serenity. You rip the skins off your skis, grin at your partner, and drop in.

Those were the days. In the 1980s, backcountry skiing out of Cooke City, Montana, provided access to endless untracked snow on moderate terrain. The snow falls soft and deep all winter in Cooke, located just beyond the northeastern gate of Yellowstone National Park. I would go with friends every winter for fresh tracks and quiet mountain adventures.

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