For forty-five years, Colorado Ski Country USA has been the public face for Colorado ski resorts – marketing the state’s wold-class snow. It has also been one of the most effective lobbyist on behalf of a specific industry in Colorado history. CSCUSA is self-described as “a modern trade association with expertise in the departments of public policy, governmental affairs, marketing, communications and international marketing.”
But even with some of the broadest state legislative protection provided any industry; it isn’t enough for Vail Resorts. Vail has parted ways with CSCUSA, stating it wanted the organization to focus more on public policy and less on marketing, according to Vail chief executive Rob Katz.
The move by Vail, which owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge ski resorts, takes with it some of the state’s largest and busiest resorts and the biggest portion of CSCUSA’s membership dues. CSCUSA’s membership drops from 26 to 22 ski resorts.
Last year in Colorado, there were 12.5 million skier visits with Vail Resorts accounted for 35 percent to 40 percent of those visits.
The withdrawal of its largest member, which takes effect Sunday, appears to have taken CSCUSA by surprise – no mention of the pending split is given on the non-profit’s website. Industry experts predict the move will little if any impact on Vail Resorts, but will require significant reorganizing by CSCUSA.