BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The Breckenridge Ski Area has a problem on its hands heading into ski season as people are giving ski lessons illegally. Now the town may step in to help.
The police department said it’s about safety, but one thing that’s unique with Breckenridge is that the base areas are within the town limits, so while it’s a federal violation right now, the town also wants to make it illegal.
“It’s amazing how many people do advertise, especially on sites like Craigslist, and the ski areas monitor that,” Assistant Police Chief Greg Morrison said.
Breckenridge Ski Area and the town want to crack down even harder on the dangerous niche industry. Illegal ski lessons are a federal crime because it happens on Forest Service property. But with few law enforcement officers around the ski resorts in the winter, it’s also a hard crime to catch.
“It’s total common sense. It’s better for everybody. The Forest Service, they support it also,” Morrison said.
Morrison told CBS4 about a case last year where a family paid $400 for an illegal private lesson.
“Pretty soon they came to the attention of the Ski Patrol, who found out, here are these people up in an advanced area who obviously couldn’t ski down,” Morrison said. “Any of them could have easily been hurt.”
What makes the violation an even bigger logistical nightmare is that cases are heard in federal court.
“They would all have to drive to either Denver or Grand Junction for federal court, whereby having it in municipal court it stays right here in Breckenridge.”
With a hefty fine and even jail time, the police think the law would eliminate the few people who think about breaking the law.
“It has good teeth in it and this also allows us to do stings a little more readily.”
It’s not quite singed into the town’s law yet, but the resort and the police department said they’re hoping it will be in place for opening day on Nov. 19.