Seward: State Must Do More For Ski Areas

James L. Seward

February 01, 2007

The state is taking action to help retain jobs at local ski resorts and at the businesses dependent on the tourists who patronize the resorts, Senator James L. Seward said today.

Seward said the state Department of Economic Development would be authorizing an emergency appropriation of $225,000 for an "I Love NY" radio campaign to boost attendance at the ski resorts. The state association representing ski areas will assist the state in identifying key areas where the ads should run.

"We still have to look at the issue of financial support," Seward said. "Local banks are apparently not stepping in to assist seasonal businesses, and we were unsuccessful in securing an economic disaster declaration that would trigger assistance from the Small Business Administration. That's why we need to explore a state low interest loan or loan guarantee program. "

Seward's district includes McCauley Mountain, Greek Peak, Labrador Mountain, Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain. Seward noted that their aggregate employment, and the spin-off effect of their clients' retail purchases (restaurants, hotels, gasoline, ski equipment), have a huge economic impact, including depressing county sales taxes collections. Activity at the ski centers is off by at least 40 percent, and the warm weather experienced through mid-January made snow making impossible.

"The issue affects hundreds of workers right at the resorts and a ton of workers at related businesses," Seward said. "We can't make the skies drop snow, but we need to look at real help for these fragile businesses."