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National Forest Can Now Host Year Round Activities

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

New law signed by President Obama will allow National Forest to host year round activities?

 

How will this affect western resorts like Jackson Hole ?

 

Will JH open earlier and close later?

 

 

post #2 of 8

I doubt it.  JHMR is currently opening about as early as I think it's possible and about 2 weeks earlier than they used to.  Last year was an anomaly, but most years we will open with a WROD and get the rest of the mountain open for Christmas with natural storms.  In the spring, we start losing the bottom half of the mountain by the beginning of April.  The snow-making crew blows in a huge base of man-made snow on the 3 major groomers that get you off the upper mountain...  Gros Ventre, Sundance, and Teewinot.  Some years, by closing, there is plenty of snow above South Pass Traverse and only these three strips below leading to the base.  The resort could legally stay open longer than it does, but the snow coverage and consumer interest really isn't there past early April.  One big snow year the resort added an extra week as a "locals appreciation" gesture.  It immediately started raining and the conditions went from great powder to crap and no-one went skiing even though the lifts were still running and costing management money.  Needless to say they never did it again and there has been no further talk of it.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post

New law signed by President Obama will allow National Forest to host year round activities?

 

How will this affect western resorts like Jackson Hole ?

 

Will JH open earlier and close later?

 

 



 

post #3 of 8

We did have an evening "Chalk Talk" training session last season where our SSD showed up with large copies of various "Master Plans" for development of Teton Village and the Ski Hill.  He was in favor of using the tram and some of the other lifts to offer camps and other limited activities after the general closure.  One idea he had was a return surface lift from the bottom of Cody Bowl to return to the top of The Tram.  The new Marmot Lift is being referred to as "The Cheeseburger Lift" because it does little to offer additional meaningful skiing, but does make it "easier" to get to the restaurant on top of The Gondola.  The immediate reaction from those of us who frequent that particular restaurant is are they increasing the seating?  It's already damn hard to get a table for your group at noon.  The Marmot lift could make it possible to operate the Gondola as and up and down access to the upper mountain using Thunder and/or Sublette for actual skiing.  Running these lifts would limit costs and may make it possible to extend the season at a reduced overhead.  If they could market specialty camps, race training, and some sort of extended season pass option, it might pencil.  I wouldn't expect to see it though.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the JH comments. Yup Marmot Lift provides some additional early and late season options when the lower mountain is bare.  Time will tell to see where this goes in the future.

 

Cheeseburger lift name fits.   I like it.  wink.gif

post #5 of 8

That law is all about summer activities. It won't have an iota of effect on ski operations. Most of the resorts I can think of open/close for skiing based on conditions and economics, just like the example scenario above. Others have specific lease terms with the forest service that dictate open/close time frames--things like animal migrations can impact how long a resort stays open. Unless there's some small print in the bill language that no newspaper is talking about, this law is designed entirely for summer activities, not winter.

 

That legislation just makes it easier for resorts to get NF approval for summer activities like mountain biking. Since many resorts that can feasibly offer summer activities already do, this looks like a toothless, feel-good bill to me. But I guess it will let resorts offer new summer activities with a little less red tape.

 

I really disagree with that article that ski resorts are somehow lacking in summer vibe. The summer is all about a mellow, local vibe that gives you a rest from the surge of tourists that flows throughout the winter. That lame blog quote from Kirst just shows an utter lack of understanding about off-season (and probably high season) resort culture, imo. What a friggin' snob. Want a busy vibe, go to Estes Park, Jackson, the beach, etc.

 

There's a whole separate thread about this somewhere, if you want to see some more opinion/debate on it.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

JoeUT well that is one way to look at it.  Then again it said "YEAR ROUND" .  I don't see where it says 'YEAR ROUND" excluding skiing during spring, summer, and fall.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post

JoeUT well that is one way to look at it.  Then again it said "YEAR ROUND" .  I don't see where it says 'YEAR ROUND" excluding skiing during spring, summer, and fall.



Okay, but where exactly do you see resorts that have enough snow and could make money keeping the slopes open not doing so because of the lack of a law? Here in Utah, Snowbasin opened for a couple weeks in June last year. And Snowbird was opened until July 4. There was even some chatter that it would be open all summer. I think Mammoth has open for a few July 4s over the past few years. On the other end, those resorts that get the earliest snow, typically A-Basin and Loveland, race to open as soon as possible, often in October, every year.

 

So it's not like they needed a law to extend the ski season. This is about secondary activities.

post #8 of 8

The discussion earlier was this was just tidying up some legal semantics, it doesn't change anything.  In the past, some specific forest service things designated "skiing" as the only recreational use for a resort operator because, well, 50 years ago that's the only thing you did on a ski hill.  Now there's more ways to slide on snow and people have found gravity defying adventures in the summer to be fun as well.

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