Colorado ski area rent to federal landlords fell 20% in 2019-20
Ski areas sent $24 million in rent to the U.S. Treasury after the pandemic-clipped season
The Colorado Sun
in the pandemic-clipped 2019-20 ski season. And that decline, the largest in at least 20 years and likely since the creation of the Parks and Lands Management Act in 1996, led to a rare drop in rent ski areas pay their federal landlords.
The 23 ski areas sent the U.S. Treasury $24 million in revenue-based rent for the 2019-20 ski season, which is the Forest Service’s fiscal year 2020. That’s down from a record $30.1 million in 2018-19 and the lowest since the 2013-14 season.
With the growth of season pass sales eclipsing day-ticket sales, revenue-based fee payments paid by ski areas to their federal landlords has risen steadily. Since the 2008-09 ski season, the year Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass debuted, revenues have increased every year.
The larger ski areas endured the steepest declines in revenue during the 2019-20 ski season, which was cut short when resorts closed in the middle of an always busy March to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Spending at resorts in the White River National Forest — the most trafficked in the U.S. with several of the busiest ski hills in the nation, including Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Snowmass and Copper Mountain — fell 26%, based on the revenue-based rent reports. The 11 ski areas in the White River forest paid $16.7 million in rent, down from $22.7 million in 2018-19.
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