The tragic conclusion of a dinner party at a hotel at Cermis (Dolomites) was widely published and commented by all the media prompted us to make a few considerations that go beyond the sadness of the loss of human life which could have been avoided. This case reveals a fatal misjudgement by the driver in evaluating the risks that a steep and tricky slope closed by law to snowmobiles presented at night. It led us to several conclusions. Our Association has been trying for years without success to convince local administrators, politicians, members of Parliament and of Government to deal with the problem of using motor powered engines in the mountain. We consider necessary and urgent to establish and impose strict rules for the use of motorized means – both in summer and winter – that drive up and down the valleys of the Alps and the Appennines (such as snowmobiles, quads, 4 x 4 vehicles, helicopters), restricting them to emergency situations and critical necessities. We sincerely hope that the tragic event of Cermis will at least compel the authorities to face their responsibility and induce them to reconsider seriously and accountably the relationship between the mountain world and tourists. Safety is the obvious priority, but that is not everything. The activities offered to tourists are becoming increasingly more superficial and commercial, reducing the mountains to a playground. The managers of large leisure-time businesses with their stereotypical programs induce tourists to consider mountains only as a picturesque background conveniently located to service their entertainment. The mountains are becoming grand Luna Parks for human to experience, at different prices, various risk simulations, wrongly convinced that they face no risks. Then, when at times, they suddenly wake up with broken bones, maybe at the bottom of a ravine, they, irresponsibly, blame the “bad” mountain for a lack of fairness not having played according to their rules.
Mountain Wilderness has been advocating for the last 20 years, an attitude of respect, authenticity and care, humility and silence. This is the only way to safeguard the real call of the mountains. This will allow those who really need it, to recover the lost part of themselves through a direct (sometime hard and demanding) contact with the pristine, true dimension of nature in all of its aspects.
The rediscovery of the true “meaning” of such experiences may also contribute to save many lives.
The Management of MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS ITALIA
and members of the Executive Board of MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS INTERNATIONAL