Events relevant to this last year left an aquaintance out of a job and not skiing this year. He gets the last laugh since -None- of us around here are getting to ski. Perhaps the Weather Deities liked him a lot.
The argument made against independant instruction included all the usual liability issues but also mentioned Forest Service restrictions. Curious, I looked into it on my own and Google turned up some epic threads worth reading.
A thread with considerable detail is here:http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=7773
I checked a lot of the references (last year) and found them reliable. This guest did a remarkable job and provides a good starting point if a revolution looms on the horizon.
Another thread worth review is:http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=9236&page=1
This one includes a variety of arguments and describes the European economics of skiing as well.
My view as a perennial moderate is on the side of practical competition. Most ski areas would not exist were it not for -both- public and private capital, as well as public and private cooperation.
As with all such endeavors the public paves the way with money and resources, then capital ... well, capitalizes on it and we go forward. On the downside capital eventually takes over and diverts all activity to its own benefit.
Economic, physical and operational structures of the original endeavor all morph into forms that increasingly serve capital, partly because capital controls the entire venture at that point and partly because the public never puts up a fight until it's too late.
To be fair, the public rarely ever tries to analyze activity trends to project what things will be like for themselves in the future. You can be sure capital does this analysis and manages activity to optimize their own future.
Not saying capital is doing anything bad, just saying the public needs to take it up a notch to compete. And that is how I see it: competition between public and private sector. Just look at Social security right now.
Since the Forest Service holds the keys, that is where to start. Public Servants may be willing to listen to reasonable ideas.
Perhaps a system of bidding for a limited number of Independant Special Use Permits by qualified organizations outside the Ski Area Association? Dunno. Something well conceived that the Forest Service could buy into and capital could not argue well against.
[edits on grammer, wording, etc]