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Now that the Ski Hill has opened, and the old West Road has been reopened, it may be useful to note this anecdote from Deanna Morgan Kirby’s book, “Just Crazy to Ski” (Los Alamos Historical Society, 2003, p. 44):
“(In 1947), just to reach Sawyer’s Hill was a unique challenge. ‘You had a lot of handicaps,’ said Luther Rickerson.
“There were two guard stations that one had to pass through. The first station was located at the end of the ice skating rink road (West Road) on the top of South Mesa, while the second station was situated at the perimeter of Los Alamos County where the S-Site Road intersects State Highway Loop 4.
According to Rickerson, the guards would note the vehicle’s license plate number and would allow it a reasonable length of time to pass between the two stations.
“Another handicap was to remember to bring your pass. To forget was to commit a social faux pas! Once Joan Coon had hitched a ride to the West Gate with some bachelors, but had forgotten her pass. ‘It was a very quiet and grim ride back. I never forgot again.’”
Jumping ahead 60 years to 2008, Los Alamos residents now have two choices to get to the “new” Pajarito Ski Hill. One can pass smoothly through the guard gates on West Jemez Road (no forgotten pass tales to tell and, in fact, no passes needed), or one can now follow the described West Road route (now much improved) past the ice skating rink and on up to the ski hill road.
Let us not forget to count our blessings – and put a halt to the $14 million, ecologically destructive and redundant by-pass link. Let’s start thinking about how that $14 million could be better used, such as for replacing one of our older elementary schools, perhaps?