At an early morning press conference today, a Monsanto spokesman revealed an ongoing collaboration between chemists at Monsanto's Corporate Research Center and geologists at the Institute de Researche Scientifique in Berne, Switzerland. The result of the collaboration is a product called Alpine Growth Hormone or AGH. "The use of AGH will allow resorts featuring alpine recreation such as mountaineering and skiing to be developed in any desireable location, not limited to those locations where mountains already exist".
According to the spokesman, Monsanto believes that AGH could reach the market as early as 1998. "Preliminary test injections on small pebbles have already produced impressive boulders. The rock climbers and whitewater canoeing enthusiasts who have tested them are extremely impressed. We are currently examining suitable sites for larger scale testing. Of course, in keeping with Monsanto's policy of 100% environmental compliance, we will follow all federal, state and local regulations." A puzzled FDA official contacted for comment said he had absolutely no idea what federal regulations might apply to a growth hormone designed to be injected into rocks. "But", he added confidently, "I'm sure there are several agencies with numerous applicable regulations."
The Swiss skiing industry is said to be unconcerned that AGH-produced mountains might compete with the Alpine ski resorts for which their country is justly renowned. "Our mountains are beautiful, unique in the world. If the Alpine Growth Hormone produces mountains which bring skiing to people who would not otherwise ski, that will mean more skiiers who will want to come to our beautiful mountains. It can only be good for us."
Representatives of the American Ski Resort Operators Association blasted the AGH as "yet another arrogant attempt to interfere with natural processes without consideration of the possible consequences" and pledged to work closely with environmental groups to ensure that "all proposals for field tests of AGH are given careful scrutiny before approval is even considered." They also raised concerns about public acceptance of AGH. "I think we have to ask whether AGH is a useful product. Will skiiers even accept recombinant AGH-produced mountains? What ill effects might AGH-produced mountains have on the skiier?"
The Monsanto spokesman dismissed such concerns. "AGH is a completely natural product which simply enhances and accelerates natural geological processes. We aren't concerned about product acceptance. To paraphrase Field of Dreams, if there's powder, they will come. The introduction of quality skiing into new geographic arenas will bring new growth to the recently stagnant ski resort industry. Existing ski resorts may have to change in order to compete, but that's what the free market is all about."
The American College of Orthopedic Surgeons hailed the new product as "a major break."