Mountain biking at Utah's Deer Valley Resort (photo: FTO/Todd Copeland)

Obama Signs Ski Area Summer Use Bill Into Law

Washington, DC – President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act (S. 382/H.R. 765), which paves the way for more robust summer operations at the nation’s 121 ski areas that operate on public lands.

Mountain biking at Utah's Deer Valley Resort (photo: FTO/Todd Copeland)
Mountain biking at Utah's Deer Valley Resort (photo: FTO/Todd Copeland)

The new law, championed by Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall, is designed to allow ski resorts located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana,  New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont,  Washington and Wyoming  to offer their guests a wider array of activities in summer. It amends the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 to permit activities beyond the alpine and Nordic skiing already allowed in ski areas on public lands. Such uses would include zip lines, mountain coasters and alpine slides as well as mountain biking and concerts that some resorts already offer on adjacent private land, but this new law allows such facilities on National Forest Service land leased to the resorts with Forest Service approval.

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The law’s proponents say that it will create 600 extra jobs and is expected to bring in an additional $40 million to local communities in direct spending. It will also increase lease payments by ski resorts to the federal government.

“The national forests have always been some of America’s greatest playgrounds,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “It is exciting that our ski areas will now be able to offer more recreational opportunities and economic benefits.”

The bill was co-sponsored by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), and U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO).

2 thoughts on “Obama Signs Ski Area Summer Use Bill Into Law”

  1. That’s amazing, I didn’t know that he could write! Next he’ll be taking executive action with an EEOC program to give a million dollars to any minority person who can prove that they are on welfare and own a Cadillac and big screen TV in spite of it. That shows initiative by people who really know how to work the system. To pay for it he will levy a 50% income tax on middle class workers who are not yet homeless. Don’t worry Hollywood fat cats, there will be an exemption for you, anyone who can prove that they supported any of Obama’s campaigns for elected office will be exempt form any taxes.

  2. I tried to fight against this battle several years ago as the ski area claimed it had the right to manage the trails inside the Winter Park ski area because they had the lease. I pointed out that the lease was only good for winter activities, not summer. The other problem was that since it was National Forest, the only police that could write me a ticket would be a US Forest Ranger and then how would they write me a ticket for trespassing on public land which was open to the public?

    The problem was that I was riding the trails from Frasier and wanted to ride UP the mountain at Winter Park, and the resort claimed that ALL the trails were downhill only and bikes were not allowed on the roads inside the resort to ride up either, therefore the only way to the top are to go outside the trail area through Mary Jane to the top on a single trail a long way from the town, or buy a lift ticket at $40 and only ride downhill. At that time they were illegally restricting public land access, now it has been signed into law so that it’s not legal to prevent me from riding my bike without obtaining a lift ticket. $%@! We used to take an MTB vacation in Winter Park every couple years, now because it’s downhill only, we never go back.

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