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Bill To Allow Ski Areas More Summer Options Moves Forward

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- A bill is on its way to President Barack Obama that could give a huge boost to the Colorado mountain economy.

The Senate unanimously approved a plan on Tuesday that would let resorts use federal land to offer more activities in the summer.

The legislation rewrote some wording for how the U.S. Forest Service allows ski resorts to use public land. The use has been restricted, but the new legislation is expected to bring a summertime boost to the mountain communities.

Sen. Mark Udall penned Senate Bill 382. It’s something he’s been fighting for for the past three years. Udall said the bill will add hundreds of jobs.

“As we know in our winter resort communities, we’ve got strong seasons and softer seasons. Everyone is looking for that year-round boost to their economy,” said Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kristin Williams.

Copper Mountain said they expect to hire more employees year-round.

“It could possibly allow for more year-round employment here at Copper, which is great for the community because these jobs we had in the winter could translate into summer jobs,” said Copper Mountain spokesman David Roth.

“With the ability to have these increased opportunities for fun on our mountains, everyone will benefit,” said Williams.

After the president signs the bill, the U.S. Forest Service will rework the way it allows those mountain communities to offer summer recreation, not just as base areas, but also up on the mountains.

“This bill will really let us know what we can and can’t do on the mountain. We have great activities from concerts to festivals, bike rides, races, all kinds of great stuff and now we’ll be able to enhance that,” said Roth.

“Opportunities like zip lines, rope courses, more mountain bike trails for all abilities,” said Williams.

The Forest Service will need to approve any new construction that the resorts want to add. It is expected to be a while before any new activities pop up because the Forest Service still needs to review the legislation.

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