Skiers, snowmobilers may pay more on Vail Pass as Forest Service looks into raising fees

Backcountry skiers and snowmobilers may be asked to pay more to use Vail Pass for the first time in almost 15 years.

The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the area, said in a release last week that it has run a deficit the past two winters, and is seeking public input on a proposed increase from $6 to $10 for day passes and from $40 to $65 for season passes.

Current prices have been in place since 2005, and without a fee increase, the Forest Service said management of the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area will run a deficit next winter in excess of $60,000.

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Fees pay for plowing parking areas, grooming and maintaining more than 100 miles of trails, printing trail maps and enforcing rules that are designed to separate skiers and snowmobilers. The area includes 52 miles of non-motorized trails and drew more than 32,000 users last winter, as compared to 16,726 in 2002-03, according to the statement.

Without an increase, the Forest Service said its ability to sustain services in the area is at risk.

The Forest Service has opened a public comment period for users to express their opinions on the increases. Comments will be accepted through April 14. All fee stations for the area will be stocked with comment cards as well.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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