Sky High Ski Lift Fee Hike

Up 1,525%!

Chestnut Mountain Resort has six ski lifts.

I was reading Capitol Fax Blog yesterday and found a reference to a Quad City Times editorial about the Pat Quinn administration having raised ski lift inspection fees from $60 to $950.

Democrats punching business in the gut again.

We visited Chestnut Mountain south of Galena this spring before all of the snow had melted on its slope.

You can guess that I took some photos.

We were at Eagle Ridge and had taken a side trip so my son and his friend could see the Mississippi River close up and personal.

We didn’t find a place where they could touch it until we found Chestnut Mountain.

Tossing rocks into the Mississippi River near the Chestnut Mountain dock.

The snow had not yet completely melted.

Snow still covered parts of Chestnut Mountain's slopes.

The magnolias were blooming at Eagle Ridge.

The magnolia tree house our room at Eagle Ridge Resort was blooming the week we visited.

The kids had fun hacking on the sides of a crevasse of a cliff containing probably the oldest exposed rocks in Illinois. They weren’t scoured by the glacier or covered by glacial till.

Into the breach, the not quite teenagers went.

One of the bigger attractions was the messiest. The boys found a wall of mud up the slope.

The exposed side of this hill revealed clay that could be worked.

Naturally, they had to bring home samples.

One pancaked shaped, the other a ball.

There seemed to be two families at Chestnut Mountain.

I assume one was staying.

We were alone on the restaurant overlooking the sky hill and Mississippi River above which bald eagles were flying.

It cost me the price of soft drinks and red wine.

But, back to Illinois Democrats making it harder to make a profit at Chestnut Mountain.

Capitol Fax Blog linked to an editorial in the Quad City Times, a paper that circulates in Galena.

Here’s how it starts:

“If any place other than the state of Illinois attempted this, we’d call it a shakedown.“Instead, it’s called a regulatory fee, intended to offset the results of a zillion bad budgeting decisions that have nothing to do with regulation.

“Illinois’ new regulatory fees include an astounding 1,525 percent increase for state ski lift inspections. Last year, it was $60. This year, it will be $975.”

What does the state inspection consist of?

“They just started doing it about five years ago. Somebody would come from Springfield with a bucket load of stickers. They’d put a sticker in your window and take your money,” the Quad City Times quotes nearby Snowstar’s Ed Meyer.

“They’d basically look at you and say, ‘So, how does this thing work?’”

Here's the map on a sign above the Chestnut Mountain Resort slope.

So, with six ski lifts, that’s an extra $5,430 in business expense for Chestnut Mountain.

In Wisconsin, the article says the state requires “third party, independent inspections.”

Presumably by someone who knows something about ski lifts.

Think Alpine Valley, where many McHenry County residents go to ski.

“Upon reflection, we find nothing to distinguish this fee gouging from a shakedown,”

the editorial concludes.

No word on what the state is going to charge to inspect the water slides used in the summer.

Who does the inspection?

The Labor Department’s Carnival and Amusement Ride Inspection Division.


Sky High Ski Lift Fee Hike — 5 Comments

  1. Sorry to break it to you, Cal, but your “bald eagle” picture, the proud and majestic bird who symbolizes this country, is actually a picture of a turkey vulture, a scavenger bird who feeds off of dead carcasses, much like retired politicians.

    Somehow I’m not surprized that you can’t tell the difference

  2. I’m not a fan of taxes and fees but you have to admit that $60 is comical. It cost me 5 times that to have my house looked at. I can’t get a plummer or electricrian, my frig, washer, drier or garage door looked at for $60. I don’t mean repaired I mean looked at. $75 just to walk in the door. Maybe I’m missing something.

  3. A bit of trivia for you Cal on Chestnut Mountain. Chestnut Chalet and Villa opened in 1959.
    My after prom activities from Maine East High School, class of ’65, was a Midnight train trip from Park Ridge to Galena on the Burlington Northern to Chestnut Mountain for the day. In my class, on that trip, was Hillary Rodham, who at that time was a republican and Steve Goodman, writer of the song “City of New Orleans” and “Go Cubs Go”

  4. Considering that each ski lift in Illinois probably consists of anywhere from 10-40 towers, thousands of feet of cable, dozens of chairs, as well as the enormous drive motors and counter-weights, $60 would basically cover someone showing up and saying, “Yup, that’s a ski lift.”

  5. Thanks for crushing my belief that I was watching bald eagles soar.

    Sir Sprat apparently misses the point that the state inspectors have no special expertise in detecting potential problems.

    I suggest the Wisconsin approach makes more sense.

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