Almost all of the 473 ski resorts across the USA have been forced to close early due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, many due to orders from state governors. It is estimated that the financial loss to ski resorts due to this could be in the region of $2-billion, prompting the industry to press Congress for economic relief.
The US ski industry contributes $55-billion to the country’s economy, according to Bloomberg. Many resorts are on Forest Service land and pay fees to lease the use of the public lands. It is these fees, totaling $50-million annually, that the 122 ski areas on National Forest land are requesting are waived.
“Our ski industry in Colorado not only generates billions in local, state, and federal taxes, but the industry also serves as the primary economic driver in many of the rural towns they occupy. The economic impact from the loss of business due to early closure of the ski resorts will be devastating. – Sen. Cory Gardner
Senator Cory Gardner last week wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to waive the remainder of the 2020 leasing fees paid to the US Forest Service. The USDA has yet to respond, according to a Gardner aide.
The early closure of ski resorts, during what is considered the second highest-earning month, could cost the economy as a whole up to $5-billion in lost revenue.
US Forest Service Ski Area Facts:
- Of the 473 downhill ski areas in the US, 122 operate under special use permit on National Forest System (NFS) lands
- Ski areas are permitted on 58 National Forests; in seven Forest Service Regions; and in 12 states
- Ski areas under permit occupy 182,095-acres – about 0.09% of the 193-million acres of NFS land
- Ski areas operating on NFS lands return about $26-million dollars to the annual Treasury. Among Forest Service activities, only the timber program contributes more to the Treasury
- About one-half of US skier visits occur at ski areas that are located at least partially on NFS land
- 16% of NFS visitors listed downhill skiing and snowboarding as their primary reason for coming to the National Forest