Bill could help ski areas with off-season business
Udall, Barrasso, Bishop and DeGette introduce recreation bill to boost ski area economies with off-season business
by Legislators media release
February 19, 2011
On Thursday, Feb. 17th, Senators Mark Udall (Colorado) and John Barrasso (Wyoming) and Representatives Rob Bishop (Utah) and Diana DeGette (Colorado) introduced the Ski Area Recreation Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 to amend the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986. This bill would change permitting rules for ski areas on Forest Service land to allow for summertime recreation and increased tourism—and the influx of year-round business they bring.
The 1986 law currently allows only ski-related activities in Forest Service ski areas. The bill would amend it so that recreational sports other than alpine and Nordic skiing, such as snowboarding, are allowed. In addition, the bill would authorize the Forest Service to decide on appropriate year-round and summertime activities—such as mountain biking and concerts—to help level out ski areas’ seasonal economies and provide steady job opportunities for the people who make up these communities.
"Tourism is a top economic driver for Colorado, but because many of our ski areas are limited to providing recreational opportunities during the winter months only, many ski towns swing between thriving winters and slumping shoulder seasons every year," Udall said. "This bill will bolster mountain economies by enabling the Forest Service to permit more use during the off-seasons. Our appreciation of the wilderness should not be constrained to one season out of the year; opening the door to more—responsible—recreational opportunities can bring to ski-area communities more jobs and economic stability."
"Ski areas are a key part of Wyoming’s recreation and tourism industry," Barrasso said. "By expanding Forest Service permits to include year round recreational opportunities, our bill will create jobs, increase tourism and provide an added boost to local economies."
"Utah is a premier winter recreation destination and offers some of the most legendary skiing in the world. The same mountains and unique geography that draw visitors from around the globe each winter also offer a vast array of off-season recreational opportunities. However, outdated laws are prohibiting these areas from offering year-round recreational access. Updating the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act will foster increased tourism, encourage job growth and bolster mountain economies across the country," Bishop said. "While Congress can’t create jobs by itself, we can improve laws and create a more certain and rationale regulatory climate that will enable private enterprise to create jobs. This law does just that."
"This bill will not only increase recreational opportunities but also expand business opportunities and jobs. Year-round recreational activity will provide substantial benefits to our local economies, and help create stable jobs in the thirteen states that are currently home to ski resorts on public land," DeGette said. "In Colorado, outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking are an intrinsic part of our everyday lives throughout the year. With this bill, tourists can join us in those activities, no longer visiting only in the winter and looking elsewhere for amenities in the summer."