Policy Update – March 2023

In this month’s policy update, we share an update on the SHRED Act, Vermont’s new backcountry ski handbook, and our 10th biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference.

Photo Credit: Luc Mehl (@lucmehl)

From Hilary Eisen, WWA Policy Director (4/3/2023)

Happy Spring! It still looks and feels pretty wintery everywhere I’ve been skiing lately. Abundant snow combined with lengthening spring days makes for my favorite part of ski season. I hope you’re enjoying never-ending winter too!


Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee (federal lands subcommittee) held a hearing on a slate of outdoor recreation bills, including the Ski Hill Resources for Recreation Development (SHRED) Act.

We support the intent behind the SHRED Act, to keep ski area fees within the National Forest system, but are concerned that the bill would primarily reinvest ski area fees into ski area development projects, rather than allowing the Forest Service to use the majority of these funds for its broader recreation management needs. We’ve been talking with SHRED’s sponsors and co-sponsors about how we’d like to see the bill improved. The House will hold another hearing to mark up the bill later this year, and the Senate will hold hearings as well, so we’ll continue to push for changes to ensure the SHRED Act actually meets its sponsors stated intent to invest ski area fees into Forest Service recreation management in a fair and equitable manner that benefits all Americans and our natural resources.

Vermont’s Backcountry Ski Handbook

I also want to share some exciting news out of Vermont! I get a fair number of questions about working with the Forest Service on glading projects and now there’s an excellent resource on this topic.

Catamount Trail Association just published the Vermont Backcountry Ski Handbook, in collaboration with the Forest Service and Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. This Handbook provides detailed guidance and Best Management Practices for public and private land managers seeking to develop sustainable backcountry zones in Vermont. The Handbook covers natural resource and social considerations, building partnerships with public and private land managers, delineating backcountry zones, and outlines the process for implementation, construction, and maintenance. It’s a complete how-to guide for creating high quality, sustainable backcountry ski terrain in a cooperative fashion with forest land in Vermont, and can hopefully serve as a resource for groups looking to expand managed backcountry ski terrain elsewhere too. The Handbook can be downloaded from CTA’s website, here.

Our 10th Biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference

Finally, I wanted to share a heads up about our 10th biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference, which will be at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Mountain Research Station in Nederland, CO September 14-17. Save the date and stay tuned for more details!