The War on Smoke Shacks

Vail Resorts, U.S. Forest Service Work Together to Destroy Illegal Structures on Federal Land at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone

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Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have confirmed that a number of structures associated with prohibited marijuana use and constructed illegally on USFS lands within the permitted boundaries of the company’s four Colorado resorts have been destroyed over the past several weeks.

Vail Resorts works closely with the Forest Service each year to eliminate these illegal structures, commonly referred to as ‘smoke shacks’, as they are made aware of them. In the past year, mountain operations teams and USFS officials have destroyed several structures at its Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts.

“The safety of our guests and our employees is our highest priority and we therefore take a zero tolerance approach to skiing or riding under the influence,” said Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division. “We do not permit the consumption of marijuana in or on any of our lifts, facilities or premises that we control. In addition to destroying illegal structures where this kind of illegal activity may be taking place, we are communicating the legalities around marijuana use with our guests and the community through signage, our websites, social media, and handing out informational cards to our guests in the base areas. We want the public to know that the consequences of being caught smoking marijuana on our mountains are removal from the mountain and the suspension of skiing and riding privileges.”

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In spite of the passage of Amendment 64 last fall, public consumption of marijuana continues to be illegal under Colorado law. In addition, possession and consumption of marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law. Vail Resorts’ four Colorado ski resorts — Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone — are all located on U.S. Forest Service land, where possession and consumption of marijuana is illegal. In addition, using any ski lift or ski slope or trail while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is prohibited under the Colorado Ski Safety Act.

“Despite Colorado law, marijuana remains illegal on federal lands period,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor for the White River National Forest. “For the 22 ski areas in Colorado that operate on national forest system lands, marijuana is still prohibited. Let me remind everyone that you can be cited and fined for marijuana use and possession on national forests. I will also add that it is against the law for anyone to build any structures on national forest system lands without a permit.”

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Furthermore, there is “no smoking” of any kind (tobacco, marijuana or e-cigarettes) permitted in any Vail Resorts owned and operated facilities, including restaurants, lodges and hotels, and officials will continue to enforce that policy. Vail Resorts will work with local law enforcement and the U.S. Forest Service to continue to closely monitor any illegal activity within the permitted boundaries of their resorts and will take immediate action against those who do not comply with the law.

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