The Haines Borough Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to allow an international ski and snowboard competition to use area outside the borough-approved heli-ski map for its spring event.

After almost no discussion on the issue, the assembly voted 5-0 to allow the Freeride World Tour access to the face of Telemark Ridge, which faces the Chilkat River. Dave Berry was absent.

Local heli-ski tour operator Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures is partnering with Freeride World Tour to bring the event to Haines.

Manager David Sosa recommended the assembly approve the out-of-bounds use after consulting with concerned residents and Fish and Game employees.

“While the general consensus was one of concern over the proposed use, there was acceptance of allowing the event to go forward provided appropriate care was taken with regard to wildlife, safety, and impact to local residents,” Sosa said.

One of the permit conditions says SEABA and Freeride World Tour must adhere to wildlife regulations for all landings and stay 1,500 meters away from visible or reported wintering coordinates for mountain goats.

“Staff had several conversations with Freeride World Tour and they are very used to restrictions such as this when operating in Europe. They reinforced their commitment to adhering to the conditions and stated that they are very interested in coming back to Haines and want to ensure that their actions are such that they will be welcomed back,” Sosa said.

A safety team from Freeride World Tour must also fly in and check the area for safety and conditions a week before the competition.

As the event is weather dependent, the assembly approved a window of March 9-22.

There was no public comment on the issue Tuesday, though resident Thom Ely submitted comments via email urging the assembly to shorten the two-week window.

“The two week window is too long and if they are really going to be ready on any day between March 9-22, then there will be intense helicopter traffic at any time during this period. Residents and wildlife that do not want to be subjected to this onslaught will have to vacate their homes for two weeks,” Ely said.

Ely also requested GPS data submission for all helicopters contracted for the event. “Permit conditions are fine if someone is monitoring compliance. The industry has an extremely poor track record of following regulations and staying within map boundaries,” he said.

Ely is supporting the event “in the spirit of compromise and as an economic boost to our business community,” but said he’s still wary. “I hope the event goes well and the benefits are real but I have my doubts.”

Sixteen men and seven women will compete in the event’s skiing category, while eight men and five women will compete in the snowboarding category.