VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s ski resorts host tens of thousands of people a day in the winter, but they were handcuffed with what they could offer in the summer — that is until Sen. Mark Udall made a law changing that.

This is the first weekend for the new 1,200-foot zip-line at Vail Mountain, a specific attraction written into a bill by Udall nearly two years ago.

“The mountains don’t take the summer off, neither should our ski resort industry as well,” Udall said.

CBS4’s Jeff Todd rode the zip-line with a top official from Vail Mountain, who said it’s essential to opening up the summer economy in ski destinations.

“This is really expanding the opportunity for guests to come up, spend an entire day, spend several days adventuring around the mountain and really having a great time,” the official said.

To go along with the zip-line and rope courses, Vail’s long-term plan is to add miles of trails and a canopy tour through the mountain. That will also add more workers,

“The first pieces of it with our zip-line and rope courses, and we’re working through the approval process with the Forest Service on the second phase that we would hope gain approval on and to begin construction on in 2014,” the Vail official said.

The Forest Service has come under criticism for a lengthy analysis of the law and slowly approving certain attractions.

“I don’t want to see this languish and we get into 2015 – let’s go,” Udall said.

Vail is kind of the first mountain to move ahead with the Summertime Enhancement Act. But once the second phase is approved by the Forest Service it’s expected many more Colorado resorts will start planning summertime additions as well.


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