In spite of today’s party line, posturing political climate, we thought that the recent grit and determination shown by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) on pushing through his Ski Area Recreation Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 deserved a shout out of appreciation.Since Colorado Ski Country represents the ski industry here in Colorado when it comes to public policy and politics, we’ve been following this legislation closely for three years now. The bill itself allows the US Forest Service to permit more use of public lands during the spring, summer, and fall months. Read: More outdoor summer activities such as ziplines and mountain bike trails can now be built with a more streamlined process with the USFS. i.e. less bureaucracy.
Here’s our take: While it provides more recreational opportunities for individuals, the legislation is also good news for Colorado’s ski areas, ski towns and the seasonal work force, because it allows for more year-round jobs in the mountains. While the bill should have had a much simpler path to the White House, it took some serious political muscle to make it happen from start to finish. Thanks to our entire Colorado delegation (both parties, both chambers), it passed unanimously through the House. In the Senate, after some serious arm twisting and help from Sen. Bennet, Sen. Udall finally had his bill heard on the floor, voted on, and after three years, sent to the President’s desk.
This measure gives our resorts an easier path to providing opportunities for people to play in the mountains in the summertime. That’s good for us, for you, for our state, and for visitors to our state. Of course, we love winter and skiing and snowboarding, and we couldn’t be happier that ski season has arrived, but as David Roth of Copper Mountain said: “So many people don’t understand how beautiful it is here in the summertime. It’s untapped.” We couldn’t agree more.