Posted on October 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The U.S. Forest Service is taking comments on new rules governing various uses on public lands under permit to the ski industry.
Agency may authorize fees for uphill skiing, snowshoe travel at resorts on national forests
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Can you harmonize with the natural environment while speeding down a mountain zip line?
It may depend on exactly how fast you’re going, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which is rolling out a new set of rules to govern the permitting of summer recreational installations at ski areas operating on national forest lands.
In one of the biggest changes that would affect other private businesses near resorts, the agency would back away from a long-standing policy that precluded authorization for facilities that could be provided on nearby non-Forest Service lands. The proposed rules are posted at http://www.fs.fed.us/specialuses. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, federal government, public lands, ski industry, Ski Resorts | Tagged: public lands, ski area fees, ski area summer use, ski industry, United States Forest Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A strong spring season helped boost skier visits to Colorado ski areas. Bob Berwyn photo.
Strong spring fuels rebound
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Visits to all Colorado ski areas recovered from another slow start, reversed last season’s downhill slide and rebounded 3.95 percent to pass last winter’s totals, according to figures released this week by Colorado Ski Country USA. Visits to all Colorado resorts totaled 11.44 million during the winter of 2012-2013.
For the 21 areas that are members of CSCUSA, visits totaled 6.4 million, up about 3.8 percent (about 235,000 skier visits) from the previous season.
Colorado resorts outperformed the rest of the Rocky Mountain region, which tallied a 1.9 percent increase, but fell short of the national overall increase of 11 percent. The biggest growth nationally was in the Pacific Southwest and Northeast regions, which showed increases of more than 20 percent as they rebounded from a horrible snow year the previous season. (more…)
Filed under: business, Colorado, ski industry, Ski Resorts, snow, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Ski Country USA, Colorado skier visits, Colorado skiing, ski industry | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Ownership changes inevitable as real estate trust expires in 2015
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Along with a slew of other ski resort villages, Copper Mountain‘s commercial base-area properties (the Village at Copper) may be for sale as part of a “trophy resort village portfolio,” offered for $142.5 million.
According to an online brochure making the rounds, the resort villages can also be bought separately, starting at about $9 million for the smallest and ranging up to about $30 million. The real estate investment services company Marcus & Millichap is offering the properties, which are owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc..
The Florida-based real estate investment trust (REIT) that became a big player in the mountain resort business when it bought properties all over North America about the time the resort real estate boom fizzled. (more…)
Filed under: business, Colorado, Copper Mountain, ski industry, Ski Resorts | Tagged: CNL Lifestyle Properties, Copper Mountain Resort, real estate, Real estate investment trust, ski industry | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. resorts tallied 56.6 million skiers visits — and counting — in he 2012-2013 ski season.
All regions post increases from last year
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — After a big dip last season, skier visits rebounded strongly in the 2012-2013 season, climbing up to 56. million with the season still going strong at areas like Mammoth Mountain and Arapahoe Basin.
For the country as a whole, skier visits climbed 11 percent from last season. Skier visits in the Pacific Southwest and Northeast regions climbed more than 20 percent from last winter, not surprising, since they were the areas hit hardest by sparse snowfall and an early meltdown last year.
Resorts in all regions started slow but skier visits gained momentum through the holidays and spring break. Overall, 78 percent of reporting ski areas posted increases in visits. The median resort experienced a 10.6 percent gain in visits, according to a release from the National Ski Areas Association. (more…)
Filed under: business, Colorado, economy, ski industry, Ski Resorts | Tagged: 2012-2013 skier visits, National Ski Areas Association, NSAA, ski industry, skiing | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Forest Service looking to ensure long-term viability of ski areas
With water a premium in the West, the Forest Service and ski resorts are discussing how they will administer water that originates on national forest lands. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — In comments submitted to the U.S. Forest Service, the National Ski Areas Association is suggesting a fresh start in developing a policy to determine ownership and future use of water that originates on national forest lands.
“Our new approach assumes that all previous water clauses are no longer in effect, null and void, and unenforceable. It would result in a consistent water policy across the board going forward,” said NSAA policy director Geraldine Link.
The ski industry comments came as the Forest Service held a series of hearings around the West in the early stages of developing a new water rights clause that eventually will become part of agency permits for businesses operating on public lands.
The ski industry and the Forest Service have been at odds over water rights for years, and most recently faced each other in federal court over a 2011 version of the permit language. The court said that the Forest Service failed to follow required procedures in rewriting the clause, and also noted that the agency has adopted a series of clauses that aren’t being applied consistently. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, drought, National Ski Areas Association, ski industry, water, water rights | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
After legal showdown, agency, resorts start down collaborative path to address critical water questions
Who owns the water originating on national forest lands? Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After losing a court showdown, the U.S. Forest Service will restart a process to try and clarify the future of water rights associated with permitted uses on national forest lands, especially with regard to ski areas in the West. Click here to see related Summit Voice stories.
In December, a federal court ruled that the Forest Service failed to meet legal requirements when it updated the rule administratively. Now, the agency will hold a series of public meetings, starting April 16 in Denver, to take input from the public and key stakeholders. Additional meetings are set for Salt Lake City on April 17, and Lake Tahoe, Calif., on April 18. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, ski industry, skiing and riding, water | Tagged: Colorado, Public land, ski industry, Ski Resorts, U.S. Forest Service, water, water rights | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Winter sports athletes are urging action on climate change and energy in a letter to President Obama.
Olympic medalists, ski stars ask President Obama to speed the shift to clean energy
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — As Colorado ski areas struggle with a second consecutive season of below-average snowfall and the Sierra Nevada snowpack only about half of average, a group of 75 Olympic medalists and other winter sports athletes are warning that winter is in trouble.
Stepping up to represent the global snow sports community on the political stage, the athletes this week sent a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to take action on climate and clean energy.
“Without a doubt, winter is in trouble … at risk are the economies of tourist-dependent states where winter tourism generates $12.2 billion in revenue annually, supports 212,000 jobs and $7 billion in salaries. Those are the jobs and businesses owned by our friends and families, generators of billions in federal and state income.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: climate change, global warming, ski industry, skiing, snow, winter, Winter Sports | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Major capital investments announced for upcoming seasons
Vail Resorts is talking up the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge as part of its capital investment plan for the coming season.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Vail Resorts said business bounced back after a slow start to the season, with some of the company’s resorts posting record business during the Christmas holiday period. VR’s net income climbed 30.5 percent, to $60.5 million in the second fiscal quarter compared to last season, with skier visits up 2.9 percent and mountain net revenue up by 9.5 percent.
“We are very pleased with our performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, which was notable for two distinct dynamics we experienced in the quarter,” VR CEO Rob Katz said this week during a call announcing the company’s second quarter earnings. “The first was our results through the middle of December, which were marked by unusually warm and dry weather in Colorado that limited the terrain we could open, leading to lower than expected results for our four Colorado resorts. (more…)
Filed under: business, Colorado, economy, ski industry, Ski Resorts, skiing and riding, Summit County Colorado, Vail Resorts | Tagged: Breckenridge Ski Area, business, Colorado, ski industry, Vail Colorado, Vail Resorts | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Federal court ruling sends agency back to the drawing board
The U.S. Forest Service will hold a public process to develop a new agency guideline for adminstering water rights at ski areas operating on public lands. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After being rebuffed in federal court, the U.S. Forest Service will start anew at developing new water-rights language for ski area permits. The agency plans to start taking public input this spring on the new directive, which would clarify ownership of water rights on national forest lands.
The Forest Service most recently issued a new water rights directive in Dec. 2012, aiming to establish that certain water rights have to remain linked with the ski areas where the water is used to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resorts.
The ski industry interpreted at least parts of the new directive as a direct grab of water rights that are properly administered under state water law. A year-long lawsuit ended in Dec. 2012 with a court telling the Forest Service it must use a public process to develop a new directive.
“The agency’s announcement and the agency’s recent policy that was struck down in federal court both assume that water should run with the land. This approach reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of water law in the West,” said Geraldine Link, public policy director for the National Ski Areas Association.
Filed under: business, Colorado, economy, Environment, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service, water, White River National Forest | Tagged: National Ski Areas Association, NSAA, public lands, ski industry, U.S. Forest Service, water rights | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Opinion: Obstructing conservation runs counter the interest of most skiers
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The upcoming listing of North American wolverines as an endangered or threatened species has huge implications for Colorado, and also gives the Colorado ski industry a chance to work off some of the bad karma it earned for opposing the reintroduction of lynx to the mountains of our state.
Wolverines are largest member of the weasel family and need rugged alpine terrain covered with deep snow to reproduce. Sometime soon, within the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce its listing decision, with the best available science suggesting that global warming is likely to reduce habitat for denning and breeding to the point that it will threaten the existence of the species.
That’s were Colorado comes in. With more high-elevation terrain than any other state in the Rockies, and plenty of steep, remote brush- and rock-strewn avalanche paths, our mountains could be a climate refuge for the animals, according to conservation biologists working on recovery plans for the rare critter. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Ski Country USA, endangered species act, Environment, lynx, ski industry, White River National Forest, wildlife, Wolverine | Leave a Comment »