Year Round Ski Resort Recreation

By:  KPQ

Ski Resorts located on Federal lands could more easily develop year-round recreation activities under legislation passed by the US Senate.

Supporters, including Washington Senator, Maria Cantwell say the bill will help ski area communities attract recreational visitors year-round, which support local economies and help create year-round jobs.

Eight ski areas on federal lands within Washington state will benefit from this legislation, including Mission Ridge and Stevens Pass Ski resorts.

summer activities could include mountain biking, expanded scenic opportunities, summit hiking, expanded hospitality opportunities such as restaurants, and summer events such as weddings.

Senator Cantwell says the bill provides clearer oversight guidance to the U-S Forest Service that more accurately reflects today’s use of modern ski areas. The current outdated statute only authorizes "alpine and Nordic skiing" at these areas, but the USFS has since authorized a variety of summer activities at certain resorts, and its application of the statute has varied greatly from region to region. This inconsistency has left some resorts with the leeway to provide greater expansion while others struggle to make any headway on providing commercial activities during the summer months.

The legislation now goes to President Obama for his signature. Cantwell, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, cosponsored the bill and played a key role in moving the bill out of committee in July.