EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › U.S. House backs year-round play on Forest Service ski areas
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

U.S. House backs year-round play on Forest Service ski areas - Page 2

post #31 of 39

I can think of ski areas on National Forest land that run their lifts in the summer for sightseeing tourists. How does this square with the prohibition of summer use? Wildcat for example is, I think, 100% on land belonging to the White Mountain National Forest with the possible exception of their base facilities and they run their gondola in the summer for sightseeing.

 

Is Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's tram on private land? I thought the mountain was National Forest but perhaps not.They certainly run their lift in the summer.

post #32 of 39
Thread Starter 

 

 

Update:

 

Senate passes bill to allow ski areas to develop offseason activities
 

WASHINGTON — A proposal that would allow ski areas to potentially expand activities to biking, zip lines and rope courses — legislation that would undoubtedly bring jobs to Colorado's mountain towns — passed the U.S. Senate late Tuesday.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who has been agitating to get the legislation passed for three years, has spent this month knocking on doors all over Capitol Hill and threatening to call individuals to the Senate floor if they held the noncontroversial bill any longer.

The Obama administration backs the bill, so it will likely be signed into law "as soon as possible," according to Udall's office.

The measure passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month — a rare thing in this climate. It passed once before in 2010 too. The problem has always been the Senate.

"Everyone talks about regulations we ought to lift. This is a way to move this economy, not just in Colorado," Udall said. "I hope this is a positive sign that we can continue to work together on behalf of Coloradans — and all Americans — on common-sense legislation that will create jobs and strengthen our economy."

The proposed law would allow ski areas to apply to use national-forest land for activities in the spring, summer and fall. Though some areas already boast summertime activities on nearby private land, this bill would allow areas to apply to build whole summer activity parks on public land with National Forest Service approval.

Ski areas were hesitant Tuesday to talk about what they would actually do if the bill passed, since they've been left at the so-called Senate altar before.

"The more we're able to offer year-round opportunities, the more we're able to offer those jobs and it's better for Colorado," said Melanie Mills, president of Colorado Ski Country. "It's not controversial. It's the kind of issue that can get caught up in the procedural snafus you see in Congress."

That was exactly what is making Udall so mad.

He holds up the summertime recreation bill as an example of a dysfunctional logjam that didn't need to exist, "if only to raise our approval ratings from the steady 12 percent they are at right now," he said, jokingly referring to latest polls showing tanking congressional approval ratings.

David Roth at Copper Mountain Ski Resort said everyone is waiting to see what happens.

"I think this would only help to really build our summer business. We're really excited to add things to the mountain . . . zip lines, lots of things," he said. "So many people don't understand how beautiful it is here in the summertime. It's untapped."



Read more:Senate passes bill to allow ski areas to develop offseason activities - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_19143222#ixzz1bHwqW5Kc
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

post #33 of 39

I'm sure glad Congress is occupying its time with this pressing matter. I can't even imagine how much different the world is going to be now that ski areas are able to offer summer activities. This was certainly priority 1 in this pre-election year. rolleyes.gif

post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

I'm sure glad Congress is occupying its time with this pressing matter. I can't even imagine how much different the world is going to be now that ski areas are able to offer summer activities. This was certainly priority 1 in this pre-election year. rolleyes.gif


Aren't priorities 1 & 2 jobs and controlling government spending? This makes new jobs available in the private sector and costs the public nothing.  It might even bring in a few more dollars to federal coffers. Looks good from every angle to me.

post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

Aren't priorities 1 & 2 jobs and controlling government spending? This makes new jobs available in the private sector and costs the public nothing.  It might even bring in a few more dollars to federal coffers. Looks good from every angle to me.



Someone still has yet to explain how this changes anything. Every major resort in Colorado, about half of UT resorts and many other major western resorts already offer summer activities. Now, while not necessarily all the land on all the resorts is forest land, I'm sure a lot of it is. So why does Congress need to be fiddling with this and/or why is the outdoor/ski community making such a big deal out of it?

 

If what the bill accomplishes is just opening resort forest-based lands up to a lot more development than they already have, well I could see a few problems with that.

post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Someone still has yet to explain how this changes anything. Every major resort in Colorado, about half of UT resorts and many other major western resorts already offer summer activities. Now, while not necessarily all the land on all the resorts is forest land, I'm sure a lot of it is. So why does Congress need to be fiddling with this and/or why is the outdoor/ski community making such a big deal out of it?

 

If what the bill accomplishes is just opening resort forest-based lands up to a lot more development than they already have, well I could see a few problems with that.

If you had read the entire thread your question would be answered.  Quickly, some places had permission to expand to summer operations, some didn't because Forest Service personnel were reading the law differently.  Some areas couldn't get permission to expand their operations because of this.  Now it will be clear: summer activities are OK.
 

 

post #37 of 39

No need for assumptions. I did read the entire thread. In fact,  I posted in it a long time ago. The question of what this bill accomplishes was never explained to any point of consensus.The best answer is that this basically clarifies the existing regulations so that some hellbent FS bureaucrat doesn't come shut down the summer operations of a resort, in which case it's not really a big news story the way the media and non-profits are spinning it. It's also not going to make for any additional jobs or tourist money, the way you're stating.

 

Look around the ski resort world: Pretty much every major destination resort with the capital and expectation for a profit already operates summer activities. And not just minimal activities like gondola tours, but often amusement park-style rides and games, bike parks, zip lines and all kinds of other infrastructure-intensive activities.

 

Just look at Colorado--every resort-style Summit County area has summer activities, Steamboat, Telluride, Winter Park, and on and on. The only CO resorts I can think of that don't offer summer activities are the tiny, anonymous ones that don't stand to make any money. And even some of those (Sol Vista mtbing) do.

 

In other words, it seems like any resort that really wanted to already has built up off season activities. So, I repeat, what exactly does this bill accomplish besides a bunch of hand shakes and back pats among legislators, non-profit folks and ski area execs? A lot of noise with no real-world substance.

post #38 of 39
Thread Starter 

 

New policy lets ski resorts add warm-weather activities to Forest Service land

POSTED: 11/18/2011 01:00:00 AM MST
UPDATED: 11/18/2011 03:18:23 AM MST
By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post
 
TRAIL RIDES (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

What is appropriate recreation on public lands used by ski resorts?

Skiing, snowboarding and skate skiing? Of course.

How about zipping through the forest canopy on a suspended cable? Racing in a running competition? Dancing at a concert? Barreling down elevated ramps on full-suspension mountain bikes? Pedaling singletrack through the aspens?

Under the 1986 National Forest Ski Area Permit Act, regional Forest Service chieftains had little direction when it came to approving and permitting such summertime activities at ski resorts, and most summer-oriented development was limited to private land at base areas.

That is about to change thanks to the new Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, which

CONCERTS (Associated Press file)
was signed into law Nov. 7. The act amends the 1986 law by expanding potential recreational uses of federal land used by ski resorts.

 

"One thing we are really concerned about is staying relevant and in touch with the youth of America and changing demographics, and we think outdoor recreation is one of the key ways the Forest Service can interact with people these days," said Jim Bedwell, the former forest supervisor of the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests who now serves as the agency's national director of recreation and heritage resources.

Bedwell has two years to sculpt a new policy that will serve as a blueprint for resort development but said his team will be ready to entertain resort proposals this winter. He expects to see things like zip lines, canopy walks, mountain-bike terrain parks and trails emerging in the already- developed areas of ski resorts. More pristine areas such as Vail's back bowls will remain in their natural setting.

"We are going to concentrate heavy development within existing development," said Bedwell, who expects to have a new policy intact within a year.

That policy, he said, will probably include a type of zoning that would corral development into a ski area's more

ZIP-LINE RIDES (Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)
developed areas around chairlifts and base areas while protecting the less-developed areas of a ski area. And of course, Bedwell said, all development will be natural-resource-oriented and will "harmonize with the outdoor setting and natural environment." So no Ferris wheels, water slides, golf courses, tennis courts or skateboard parks.

 

Geraldine Link , director of public policy for the National Ski Areas Association, said the nation's 121 resorts on federal land will likely quickly pursue things such as zip lines and canopy tours.

"Then, in general, ski areas will begin investing more in summer facilities because this summertime question mark has been removed," Link said. "This act means we won't see turmoil or issues based

MOUNTAIN BIKING (Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)
on the appropriateness of summer activities. I think we are going to see resorts go full bore and try to create a critical mass they need for a successful summer program."

 

Resorts will still need to follow the established process of submitting a master development plan to the Forest Service and assessing project impacts through federal environmental review.

"It should certainly help in the sense that it will give 'programmatic' direction to a wider array of summer uses on Forest Service land within the ski areas," said Jim Stark, winter-sports administrator with the Aspen Ranger District who last April completed an environmental review of new summertime bike trails at the Snowmass ski area. "Overall, this should help the Forest Service be a little more consistent in how we look at proposals nationally."



Read more:New policy lets ski resorts add warm-weather activities to Forest Service land - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_19361719#ixzz1e4JJDrwv
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

post #39 of 39

Thanks for the post, that's the best article I've seen on the topic. Unfortunately, it sounds to me more like it'll just make resorts more of a cluster. Given that resorts around Colorado and elsewhere already have plenty of trails and infrastructure, it seems like this will just overdevelop public lands even more. I don't see how things like zip lines and trampoline bungees really "harmonize with the natural environment." The last thing I am really interested in seeing at my local resorts is friggin' zip lines and canopy walks.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › U.S. House backs year-round play on Forest Service ski areas