My sincerest thanks to Jack Olsen and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for the overdue article, Bad Show Out in the Cold Snow (March 16). In past years my state has felt the vicious onslaught of snowmobiles. The blast of this mechanical intruder has sorely infected all but the most remote places where an individual can ponder the serenity of the winter wilderness or the hush of the freshly fallen snow. I have witnessed the effect of these machines upon our vanishing wildlife. Those hidden knolls, where deer enjoyed the early sun, or the alder thickets, which shielded pheasants from drifting snow, stand like barren deserts beaten by the tracks of this menacing machine. The damage done to developing seedlings and cover foliage is immeasurable. If we are to preserve the remnants of our wildlife resources, the use of these damnable vehicles must be sharply curtailed!
JEFFREY P. ANDERSON
Your article was a timely, well-written attack on a very serious menace to the American wilderness. It was also a sad paradox of another SI article, Hot Tips for Cold Days (Jan. 26), in which the virtues of winter backpacking were extolled. We need more of James Phillips and fewer snowmobiles.
The saddest effect of snowmobiling, to me, is that people can now easily reach remote areas of snow-covered wilderness previously "reserved" for those who were willing to take the effort to snowshoe or ski in. To adapt an old adage, "One never appreciates the wilderness until he works hard to reach it." The foul record of snowmobiling speaks for itself. Let's hope that rigorous snowmobile regulations are enacted before one of man's last refuges goes to ruin.
So snowmobiles are the worst recreation to come along in years? I'll admit that there are people who are bad for the sport, but we also have college kids who are bad for the colleges across the U.S., and it's these bad eggs who get all the publicity.
How about the economic factor the snowmobile has brought to the northern reaches of snow-belt states? How about the six retired people who spent their winters visiting the doctor until they bought snowmobiles? Their doctor hasn't seen them all winter. How about the 14-year-old boy who saved a family of four with a snowmobile in one of the snow-belt states? How about the snowmobile races they have every weekend that provide entertainment for thousands of people? For the record, there were 35,000 spectators at the International 500 race in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich., and, I might add, not one driver was injured.
Yes, there are some people who abuse the sport, but there are also a lot of famlilies who look forward to it for winter entertainment. I know my family does.
I doubt if there is a man alive who is more prejudiced against snowmobiles than Jack Olsen. It is obvious that he isn't a fan of this fantastic sport.
Naturally, the safety of snowmobiling as well as the enjoyment one gets from it depends upon the individual. Who is to blame when a parent allows a small child to operate a snowmobile and an accident occurs? It should be apparent to all that the adult and not the snowmobile is responsible for such accidents. Common sense is the key to safe snowmobiling. Accidents do happen to snowmobilers and I think Mr. Olsen managed to cite the majority of them in his story.
Truer words were never spoken than by the snowmobile dealer who said, "A new world has been created in the winter months." And, Mr. Olsen, only you could ask what was wrong with the old one.
Little Falls, N.Y.
We recently attended an event billed as a Winter Carnival. To our dismay and profound discomfort, it was much more like a Cold Inferno, modern American style, with hundreds of snowmobiles and assorted snow vehicles unmercifully assaulting the ears and noses. As a result of the unbearable noise and noxious fumes, we left the "carnival" and retreated 20 miles to a beautiful, silent and little-peopled park to recover our senses.
If these machines have the effect on our wildlife that Jack Olsen's article points out, then, by all means, our concern must be for the wildlife. Our survival is monitored by the survival of the many other forms of life with which we share Mother Earth, and imperiling their chances of survival certainly imperils ours.
For the sanity of those of us who have not already lost it to King Noise and for the sake of wild creatures and the environment, snowmobiles and their enthusiasts must be restricted, and very soon.
Mrs. MICHAEL KRISS
Your suggestion for making snowmobiling verboten in hunting areas (at least during the hunting season) certainly merits consideration by our state legislators. There are many large areas that can be utilized equally well by the mechanized sportsman. Making use of these areas could do much to preserve goodwill between the two groups as well as the pattern of life for the wildlife now affected by the snowmobilers.
GLENN D. HOP
It is not surprising to learn that snowmobilers are completely ignorant of ecology and wildlife. Before the arrival of these noisy, ego-inflating machines, few of this group had ever explored the wilderness, simply because it required the use of their own energy.
GALL AND GIRLS
You truly amaze me. No other publication or person (except Mr. Agnew) has ever emerged from brutal criticism without changing its stand somewhat. Your courage and gall are admirable as you continue to exhibit those beautiful females (The Girls from the Mountain Next Door, March 16).
Speaking as the U.S. ladies cross-country ski coach, I must say that SI has done an excellent job, both with pictures and text, of catching the true depth of the sport and the individuals. Sometimes in the consideration of sports for women we emphasize only the determination of the competitor and expose only the athletic side. Photographer Jerry Cooke has certainly brought out the feminine side of these beautiful ladies.
As points of interest, Martha Rockwell was by far our most outstanding Nordic competitor in Europe while Barbara Britch, in her final competition, placed second in a field of Norway's and Sweden's best junior girls.
Congratulations on the article by Hugh Whall on the American Eagle's wild, wet flight and victory (Eagle on a Wild, Wet Flight, March 16). It is perhaps one of the best-written stories I have ever read on any sport and certainly gives the full impact of ocean racing as well as the determination of the real blue-water racing crews.
It is this type of writing that makes your magazine worthwhile. A "well done" to Hugh Whall.
ROBERT M. ALLAN Jr.
U.S. Olympic Yachting Committee
Corona Del Mar, Calif.
Congratulations on your recent article on the phantom tour (The Ghost Patrol of Golf, March 9). At last people will learn about the misery of the rabbits and their Hell Mondays. For too long the exempt golfers have been able to sit back and coast into tournaments on the PGA tour. The lame, the weak and the has-beens have had all the breaks.
The truly disturbing thing about the present system is that so many of the golfers who have made it are willing to sit back on their big fat exemptions without displaying any sense of guilt. Just because a player won a tournament back in the days of 5¢ beer doesn't necessarily mean he can still really play the game. That's like saying that a man who makes a hole in one should be automatically granted an eagle any time he plays that particular hole! Yes, I know they deserve something for their outstanding achievement. But does it have to be at the expense of the sport and other players? I feel that any golfer, be he Arnie Palmer or Arnold Gluck, should have to prove he can play well enough to earn some of that Sunday money!
Walter Bingham states: "In the charmed circle are those who have won a PGA championship or a U.S. Open, which makes them exempt for life." If this is so, why did Ben Hogan and, very recently, Arnold Palmer have to qualify to play in the Open?
•The Open is not a PGA-sponsored event. It is a USGA tournament. Nor does a "lifetime exemption" apply to the Masters, which is invitational.—ED.
I have read a variety of articles on the miserable lives of those not-so-publicly known golfers, but this article wins the prize for exposing the truest picture. It showed the other side of the golf professional—the horrible side of having to qualify to make enough money to feed his family. It seems that it is this side that needs attention, for people fail to realize that only a handful of golfers on the tour are making ends meet.
JOHN J. POWERS
Walter Bingham, you really pulled the rabbit out of the hat. Congratulations!
The rabbits have reason to complain, and it is my hope that Commissioner Dey will see that golf is restored to competition among the most deserving and not just the big names, but unless drastic steps are taken to equalize the world of golf more than one future star will be swallowed up in the hectic, incessant world of the rabbit.
Ordinarily I could ignore a recent piece by Wilfrid Sheed on the theater telecast of the Frazier-Ellis and Foreman-Peralta fights (TV TALK, March 9), but because I respect your publication so much and the quality writing that usually appears in it, I am impelled to comment on Mr. Sheed.
The man admits that he didn't hear what I was saying in the midst of the din in the theater. He then wrote, "The only other Cosellisms I picked up were random words like 'subliminal' and 'horses for courses,' and I still have no idea what they referred to. Maybe the ring was muddy."
The ring was not muddy, but Mr. Sheed's mind is. If he didn't know what I was saying, why make mention of it slurringly? Neither of his examples, by the way, was my own expression. I was quoting Angelo Dundee, Ellis' manager, who had insisted before the fight that Ellis would win because "there are styles for fighters and horses for courses," and that Frazier "subliminally was a one, two, three fighter in his rhythm before delivering a punch, so Jimmy will get him off-rhythm."
Mr. Sheed wrote, "The din was the story." But in the preceding paragraph he said, "I knew it must be Howard Cosell when I heard him salute a weary George Foreman with the words, 'They're booing you, George.' " If Mr. Sheed wants some Cosellisms, I would advise him that he is incredibly inconsistent and massively unknowledgeable. The din that existed throughout the Frazier fight began with the furor over the decision favoring Foreman, especially the 9-1 count by the referee, Mark Conn. Had I ignored the boos of the crowd, I could have been accused, justifiably, as announcers have so often been in the past, of being a house man. Finally, how could any responsible reporter fail to note the open irony that Foreman was regaled as a national hero in Mexico City less than two years ago, and there he was being booed for having struggled to victory over a man years his senior in experience and know-how? This is exactly what I did.
As one who remembers vividly Mr. Sheed's very first piece for SI, and how he quoted Curt Gowdy as saying something at a game Gowdy never even covered, I have one more Cosellism for Mr. Sheed: an inaccurate, personally directed, cheap shot has never made a man a good writer; even worse, it reveals him to be a bad journalist.
New York City
It certainly is about time someone recognized the true heroines of thoroughbred racing, the broodmares (The Hooves That Rock the Cradle, March 9). Congratulations are in order for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and its fine selection of dams. I can only regret that space would not permit the inclusion of such successful mares as All Beautiful (Arts and Letters) and Multiflora (Gallant Bloom). We can all regret that the remarkable filly Dark Mirage, now deceased, will never get a chance to pass her greatness on to the next generation, as have these mares.
Valley Stream, N.Y.
It was with grave misgivings that we at the national headquarters of the AAU (Amateur Applecrushing Union) read of SI's recognition of the NCAA (National Crabapple Association of America) in SCORECARD (Feb. 9).
The AAU has long had jurisdiction over applecrushing of every nature (McIntosh, Delicious or crab) as well as all types of mutilations of any of the various fruits and vegetables commonly used in amateur competition. We therefore consider it our duty to caution all amateur applecrushers against this possible encroachment of professionalism and also remind those who wish to maintain their amateur status that participation in competition and/or practice not fully sanctioned by the Amateur Applecrushing Union can and will lead to loss of the privilege to compete as an amateur.
R. K. WILHELM, President
R. G. BOYD, Executive Chairman
K. P. BUTZE, Ethics Chairman
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.