Ski area myth erroneous

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— The notion that the U.S. Forest Service requires the Steamboat Ski Area to close by April 15 is nothing more than urban legend, Forest Service officials said.

"It is my pet peeve and a myth that everyone perpetuates, (but) that is not true," said Ken Kowynia, winter sports program manager for the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. Forest Service. "We don't specify that they close on a certain date, and that is true for all ski areas in the state."

People think elk migration or calving is part of the reason why the ski area had to close by April 15.

"Whenever we authorize any type of operation or new project, it is analyzed for impact to natural resources which includes wildlife," said Janet Faller, ski area permit administrator for the U.S. Forest Service. "We have no specific requirement to close due to any natural resource concerns."

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has a "ski area special use permit" that allows it to operate a ski area on national forest land.

"The permit has specific requirements and one of those requirements is that they have a master plan and operating plan," Faller said. "The plan outlines how they maintain the lifts, operate the lifts, how they run their ski patrol ski school and snow making."

The partnership between Ski Corp. and the Forest Service began in the early 1940s.

"At that time, the ski equipment was just becoming available from after the war," Faller said. "People were interested in skiing and saw it as an economical opportunity for small towns, and the Forest Service had the best land."

Faller thinks the closing date for the ski area is chosen based on skier demand.

"It's a business decision from what I can tell," she said. "It's not economical to stay open later."

Typically, the ski area's final day has been the Sunday before April 15. This year, the ski area will close April 14, a Saturday. Some pass holders have complained that they will miss a day of skiing because the ski area is not open April 15.

But on Thursday, ski area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said that "if we go back at least five seasons, this is the longest one we've had since the 2001-02 season."

Thomsen was not available for comment Friday.

Kowynia and Faller said the April 15 myth has been accepted as fact by many.

"We've been extremely frustrated with this for so long and are trying to set it straight," Faller said. "Let's kill that urban myth, and let's start with the year 2007."

Comments

Josh Kagan 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree. We now know the forest service is not the reason they are closing on saturday. What is ski corp's reason they chose saturday intead of sunday. I realize their stance is that they are providing 6 extra days. How did they get to that number. Why not 3, 4, or 5. It sure would make many of the people I know happier if they simply extended 7 days and closed on a Sunday.

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another_local 7 years, 1 month ago

I posted the reason for the early close on the other topic the other day. It is tied to the un-employment exemption for seasonal employees and the length of time between the day they are laid off and when the same job category is re-hired again for the next season.

BTW, ASC is out of town already.

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WZ 7 years, 1 month ago

As far as I'm concerned, the sooner ACS gets their debt laden butts out of Steamboat the better!

I think skiers and the town of Steamboat should make Sunday, April 15, f#k ASC day. We should meet at the base of the mountain at 11 AM, take a group piss and then hike up the mountain and party, the way it's been, on Sunday*, since the beginning of time! Only this year it will be more passionate as we celebrate the end of this evil empire in Steamboat!

Think about it people. The decision to close on Saturday is sooo ASC! ASC really, truly can give a crap about you, the Steamboat local! Lets show ASC what we really, truly think of them, by giving them a 50 gallon piss solute!!!

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inmate2007 7 years, 1 month ago

Since the new owners are in control they can change the closing date.

But there might not be much difference between Intrawest and ASC.

BTW - FIG is below the first day close, remind anyone of ASC?

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Eric 7 years, 1 month ago

Meet the new resort owners same as the old resort owners. Do you really think that these big resort owners really care about all you smelly duck taped bib wearing locals? Buy your pass, ski hard, and walk away. Hopefully we can get more out of our passes from the extended season at Winter Park or Copper. Right! I just hope it cost the same or maybe even less for the pass. Wishful thinking I know.

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corduroy 7 years, 1 month ago

For people who have a full time job in this town, skiing on weekends is really most of our mountain time. It sucks to not have Sunday as a last day. Guess I'm all for hiking up, or hell just hit Rabbit Ears. There's still tons of snow there, and its free, no lift lines. :)

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