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Government shutdown not hurting Utah ski resorts

Published October 16, 2013 4:29 pm

Utah • State gears up for winter
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Should the government shutdown continue, would it hurt Utah ski resorts with special use permits to utilize U.S. Forest Service lands?

The answer that came from resorts such as Snowbasin and Alta at Ski Utah's annual media luncheon Tuesday was no. And Geraldine Link, director of public policy for the National Ski Resorts Association, emphasized that point.

"Because ski areas own our improvements and are privately owned and operated, they will not be shut down by a lapse in federal government funding," she said.

Link said the only problem a continuing shutdown could cause for resorts would be delays in National Environmental Policy Act reviews for new lifts or expansions. If the federal workers who review those projects remain furloughed, it could have some impacts for long-term planning efforts or improvements.

Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty echoed those thoughts. "There is no indication of any disruption on U.S. Forest Service lands," he said at the luncheon.

Also Tuesday, officials said:

• Ski Utah is in the process of launching a newly designed website, now in its trial phase.

• Utah will be celebrating two ski milestones this season. Park City Mountain Resort will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, while Ski Utah's Interconnect Tour celebrates 30 years this summer.

• With the Winter Olympics beginning February in Sochi, Russia, Utah resorts will be promoting the state's Olympic legacy with events such as the U.S. Speedskating long-track Olympic trials Dec. 27-Jan. 1 in Kearns, the U.S. Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping Olympic trials Dec. 29 at Utah Olympic Park, the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup set for Jan. 8-11 at Deer Valley and the U.S. Sprint Grand Prix Freeskiing Finale and U.S. Olympic Freeskiing Team Naming Ceremony Jan. 17-19 in Park City.

• Solitude is currently planning the earliest Utah resort opening on Nov. 14. But, should snow come early, many resorts are ready to open when conditions permit.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter@stribtomwharton