Colorado ski areas pay record $20M in White River forest

Colorado ski areas pay record $20M in White River forest

ASPEN, Colo.

Ski areas in Colorado’s White River National Forest paid more than $20 million in fees to the U.S. Forest Service last fiscal year, but none of that money is directly reinvested in maintaining the nation’s most-visited recreation forest.

The reason: Wildfire.

The Aspen Times reported that the fees, paid by 11 ski areas for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, go to a Forest Service that is spending more and more to fight catastrophic wildfires. Forest Service officials anticipate that two-thirds of the agency’s entire budget will go to firefighting by 2025.

That leaves less and less for trails, campgrounds and other services in the White River, with 2.3 million acres, eight wilderness areas and 10 mountain peaks that surpass 14,000 feet. The forest receives more than 10 million visitors a year.

“We’re hurting everywhere. More and more is going to fire,” forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said.

White River’s annual budget is about $18 million, compared with more than $30 million in 2009.

None of that $18 million comes from ski areas. About $16 million is appropriated by Congress, and $2 million comes from visitor fees, such as season passes for the Maroon Bells Scenic Area and fees paid by outfitters and guides conducting commercial trips such as backpacking, rafting and horseback riding.

Ski area fees are determined by skier visits, the amount of public land occupied by a ski area, area revenues and other factors. The $20 million is a record for White River, up slightly from the previous fiscal year.

Exhibit explores history of China’s first emperor


The discovery in China of an underground army of nearly 8,000 life-size terracotta soldiers is considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.

More than four decades after they were first seen in modern times, by farmers in Shaanxi province, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has 10 of the majestic figures on display in an exhibit that explores the history of ancient China and the reign of its first emperor, Ying Zheng.

Although various assortments of the terracotta soldiers have been displayed previously in museums in New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and elsewhere, the exhibit in Richmond also includes 40 objects never seen in the U.S., including ancient jade ornaments, precious jewelry and ceramics.

“Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China” is only being shown in Richmond and at the Cincinnati Art Museum, where it goes after its run in Virginia ends March 11.

Record-breaking cable car added to Zugspitze mountain


A new cable car began service last week at Germany’s highest peak. The cable car to the Zugspitze mountain is being billed as a world-record-breaking work of German engineering, featuring the biggest altitude difference between the base and summit station and the greatest distance between the summit and the only support pillar.

The $59-million installation replaces a cable car from 1963 that could take 240 tourists an hour to the 9,718-foot Alpine peak. The new cable car can manage more than twice as many passengers.

Munich’s Archbishop Cardinal Reinhard Marx and the Protestant Bishop for Munich and Upper Bavaria, Susanne Breit-Kessler, will bless the cable car before its first official trip.

Associated Press

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.