Land | Ecotrope

Bill opens 30 NW ski areas to year-round fun

Ecotrope | Nov. 14, 2011 4:06 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:34 p.m.

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Picture Douglas fir trees in the background?

Picture Douglas fir trees in the background?

What would you do at a ski resort without snow?

Go zip-lining? Mountain biking? Play a round of Frisbee golf?

Under a bill signed last week by President Obama, ski resorts on public land across the country – including 30 in the Pacific Northwest – are now eligible for year-round recreation.

Not just any kind of recreation. The land is still off limits to swimming pools, amusement parks, golf courses and water slides. But Frisbee golf is fair game, if the U.S. Forest Service approves. So are zip lines, mountain bike trails and ropes courses.

The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 is expected to add 600 jobs and $40 million to local mountain communities across the country. It amends the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986, which only allowed nordic and alpine skiing.

There are 11 ski areas on six national forests in Oregon that are eligible for year-round recreation options, according to Tom Knappenberger of the U.S. Forest Service:

Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood’s Meadows, Cooper Spur, Ski Bowl, Summit Ski and Timberline, Ski Ashland, Anthony Lakes, Hoodoo, Willamette Pass and Spout Spring.

There are eight ski areas in Washington that could benefit from the new law, according to this story in the Seattle Times:

“The eight ski areas on federal lands within Washington that will benefit from this legislation, which allows ski areas located in National Forests — including 49 Degrees North (Chewelah), Crystal Mountain (Pierce County), Mt. Baker (Bellingham), Mission Ridge (Wenatchee), Stevens Pass (Everett), Snoqualmie Pass (King County), White Pass (Lewis County), and Ski Bluewood (Walla Walla) — to undertake activities other than just winter skiing.”

And there are 11 ski areas on six national forests in Idaho that could expand for year-long recreation:

•    Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s Lookout Pass

•    Bitterroot National Forest’s Lost Trail

•    Boise National Forest’s Bogus Basin

•    Caribou-Targhee National Forest’s Pebble Creek, Kelly Canyon, and Grand Targhee (Wyoming)

•    Payette National Forest’s Brundage Mountain and Payette Lakes/Little Hill

•    Sawtooth National Forest’s Magic Mountain, Pomerelle, Soldier Mountain and Sun Valley

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