It's been a source of conflict since someone got the idea to attach a motor to skis. And with the companies cranking out faster and sleeker models of snowmobiles that consumers seem to eat up the battle between skiers who seek the pristine, quiet backcountry and snowmobilers who want to plow through the powder to seemingly unchartered territory is not going to let up anytime soon.
Or is it?
Some progress seemed to be made this week over a proposed nonmotorized area just north of Dry Lake Campground, extending about two miles east toward Soda Mountain and about one mile north.
Even as positive as the meeting was, which included a member of the U.S. Forest Service, backcountry skier Jim Linville admitted the area would be "a point of contention."
The Routt Winter Task Force, the organization made up of skiers, is facing off against the Routt Powder Riders, which is a snowmobile club.
Josh Freeman, who is a "hybrid user," which means he uses a snowmobile to get to choice skiing territory, said the tension between the groups of users has been high. And motorized users crossing the boundary lines on Rabbit Ears Pass isn't helping the situation.
Bob Mayfield, of the Routt Powder Riders club, said it's the ignorance and the arrogance of Front Range riders that seem to be giving a black eye to snowmobilers in general.
"Their disrespect is going to cause more restrictions," Mayfield said.
And respect is basically what we feel it all boils down to.
Show a little civility during negotiations and while recreating.
The land we are talking about is public land. It belongs to you and me, skiers and snowmobilers.
The U.S. Forest Service is hoping to nail down some kind of compromise by next winter.
Area recreators can either work out a compromise that is acceptable to both sides or have regulations imposed upon them that may not be acceptable to anyone.