2013-14 Ski Season Unaffected by Shutdown

With the US government shutdown dragging on, skiers may be left wondering whether their favorite US snow sport destinations, many of which are on federal land regulated by the US Forest Service, may be affected. Spokesperson for the National Ski Areas Association, Michael Berry, noted in a recent interview that the shutdown would not have a major impact on the upcoming ski season. He went on to explain that most construction and expansion projects that required approval from the federal government have already been completed in preparation for the start of the season. Projects in the pipeline at various ski areas may face delays, but would not prevent snow sport activities from carrying on as usual in the 2013-14 season.

Of the 350 ski areas represented by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), 121 are on federal land under lease agreements. The federal government monitors expansion projects and their impact on the environment in a process that is subject to public review. The NSAA reportedly sent a memo out to these ski areas stating that, as the improvements are not government owned, they can continue to operate.

Utah’s Snowbasin and Alta have made it known that it will be business as usual as the ski areas open for the 2013-2014 season and this was backed-up by the National Ski Areas Association’s director of public policy, Geraldine Link. She did note, however, that should the shutdown continue it may impact future plans that require National Environmental Policy Act reviews and approvals.

Meanwhile, snowfall in Colorado may see resorts in this area being the first to start the season. Marketing director for Loveland Ski Area assured skiers that once the lifts are on at the resort, the season will continue through to May. Arapahoe’s communications director, Adrienne Saia Isaac, agreed with this viewpoint. Two years ago, Colorado’s Wolf Creek Ski Area was the first Colorado resort to open, and this year the honor went to Arapahoe Basin which opened to hundreds of visitors on Sunday October 13, 2013.