Crotched lights are an eyesore

To the editor:

There is something spellbinding about the New England winter sky. Constellations are crisp, stars take on an increased luminosity, and the profiles of hills and trees are breathtaking.

But that reality was shattered last year when Crotched Mountain Ski Area threw the switch to illuminate what I guess was a new trail on the western side of its property. The lights not only lit the trail, they were visible to anyone living on an east-facing slope from Hancock to Nelson. People living within a couple of miles of the area had to close their shades – at night! And two nights each week the lights stayed on until 3 a.m.

Crotched Mountain is not your basic rinky-dink ski area. It is owned by one of the largest ski operators in the nation: Peak Resorts, St. Louis, Mo. Peak owns more than 10 ski areas including Mt. Snow, Attitash, Mad River and others. Installing lighting on trails is not anything new to this ski giant, and correcting a few light poles in Francestown is not going to break the bank.

Whoever planned the Crotched lights missed the boat as to the spillover effect that it has on hundreds of residents of Francestown and neighboring towns. Francestown regulatory boards raised the spillover effect of the lights before they were installed and perhaps the existing lights are out of compliance.

I wish Crotched Mountain lots of success. Crotched is a great asset for the region. But the lights are a real visual eyesore, and leaving them on until 3 a.m. two nights a week is over the top. Are night skiing and a crisp clear New England winter sky mutually exclusive? Not at all. Francestown has made the concession for Crotched to have night skiing, now it is incumbent on Peak Resorts to do it right.

Ted Leach


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