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Er, 'scuse my Candian ignorance of things American Ben, (aside: not!), but
didn't Jefferson own slaves?

Responding to the difference in Candian and American ski area funding, I
interestingly find far more funding in the US for skiing , and for soprts in
genneral for that matter. Two of the largest and three of the largest ski
areas in NH and NY respectively are owned operated and maintained by the
state (in some cases with private partnership).  US Forest Service leases
are generous and far below market value in most areas out west.  Despite
what anyone attests, the vast majority of ski area expansion over the past
twenty years has occurred on public, not on private land (Deer Valley
notwithstanding).

The difference in perception in comparitive government support quite likely
stems from the fact that in the US, skiing doesn't attract the bloated
non-sensical government spending and subidization that, for example, is
afforded to big city sports stadiums. Up here in Canada, we can only sit
back and view this kind of largess as absurd.  Stadiums leases and tax
breaks - noy the difference in the dollar - is thr root reason why Candian
pro teams have more and more trouble fileldig  competive teams.  There is
way more ancilliary profit potential in the huge Toronto market than in all
but a small handfull of the largest US metropolitan markets.

However, the differences are also an extension of overwrought sports
scholarship funding rampant throughout the US education system.  In Canada,
Universities may be all "publicly owned" but there are no sports
scholarships granted to same.  The schools are full, educational standards
are just as high (at least when comparing apples to apples institutions) and
our athletes do pretty much just as well proportionally on the world stage.
Canadians simply don't subsidize sports and leisure activites like Americans
do (and our population is no fatter on average), ansd this includes skiing.

Granted, becuse of political reasons, sports infastructure funding in Quebec
was always somewhat of an anomoly.  The Partie Quebecois blew astromical
sums on infastructure grants in separatist strongholds like Lac Ste. Jean.
Today, there is still a faint hope that many of those areas (ie: areas
beyond those owned by Intrawest and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) will
someday contribute to the provincial coffers.  It will take a sea change in
government to a less insular party to accomplish much - visit Mont Edouard
or Vallinouet to find out how much- but at least  the writing is on the
wall.  Quebecers are simply sick and tired of being the most heavily taxed
and regulated province in the country.  The simple fact about ski area
economics is starkly evident in this part of the world - without looking to
expand beyond one's limited provincial base and purist sensitivities, no
matter how much or how little money is tossed into ski areas, they do not
thrive.

On the other side of the country, Alberta was blissfully ignorant of its own
ski areas as the Feds became more and more activily hostile to any expansion
thereof.  As a result, Alberta, long the capital of Canadian skiing,
relinquished this crown to BC almost without a fight.  It was only the near
bankruptcy of RCR and the corresponding drop of tax revenues into the once
mighty but recently shaky provincial treasury that resulted in the recent
reversal of provincial priorities.

Ditto for the now thankfully vanquished socialist hordes in BC, which
quietly (and not so quietly) singlehandedly brought Canada' second most
economically important province to its knees over the past 15 years.
Exhibiting a lethal combination of economic niaviete, environmental
extremism, and native american zionism, they viewed skiing - any skiing - as
an elitist activity which should be fought at every turn.  What a waste.
Smaller mom and pop areas like Apex - not Whistler - were nearly obliterated
in the succeeding trench war.

Contrast this scenerio with the recently installed "small-c liberal"
government of Gordon Campbell, which just lately vowed to "rebuild the
interior provincial economy ski resort after ski resort".  This will not be
financed by outright grants, but rather by removing the significant
environmental and legal roadblocks to installation and expansion of new
areas and facilities.  Some of these will undoubtedly be built in very
remote areas and will be world class successful, finally putting to rest
Jerm's argument that skiing requires a population base to draw from which
will never exist. The hope is that the province as a whole will develop the
global cachet of "huge ski domain" that Austria or France now posesses.  The
most immediate beneficiary of this iss the Jumbo Glacier project, which just
secured approaval, and will become NA's biggest (and likely best) ski resort
by a country mile.

 Leigh

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