Scott Brandi, president of the Ski Areas of New York Inc., is asking skiers and riders to urge their elected officials to oppose a plan to add a four percent sales tax to the price of lift tickets and lessons.

"The governor of New York State has proposed a budget which contains a sales tax on lift tickets and lessons. Ski Areas of New York Inc. (SANY), a trade association that represents the ski industry in New York State, opposes this proposed sales tax. SANY wants skiers and riders in New York to know the facts and to provide them with a simple and easy method to contact their state legislators. To that end, SANY launched the new site last week," Brandi said.

He said SANY's member resorts are supporting the distribution of this site by including it on their Web sites, contacting their skiers and riders, and posting information at tickets windows and in cafeterias. Some resorts have posted signs at their access roads, while others have printed the Web site on their lift tickets, he said.

Brandi said, "The ski tax will increase the cost of this sport and impact the many school programs offered by NYS resorts. Many of these programs are priced at a level that is affordable to children. Last year over 500,000 children learned to ski and ride in New York."

SANY calculates the ski industry generates $1.1 billion in the four months of winter, and is the winter tourism economic engine in upstate New York, employing 18,000 New Yorkers at the state's 47 resorts, which see more than 4 million skier and rider visits.

"New York like the rest of the country is going through tough economic times. Our Governor is charged with developing a balanced budget. Unfortunately in his proposed budget he has asked for a four percent state sales tax on ski lift tickets, lessons, and other recreational activities. Local government can then add another four percent to the tax for a total sales tax of eight percent," Brandi said.

"We have a very tight time frame to fight this as it will be considered by the Legislature in April. However with the assistance of our loyal skiers and riders we have defeated a similar proposal in the past. Lift ticket prices in New York State are usually less than resorts in New England and out West. New York State resorts have worked hard to give you a quality product complete with ongoing snowmaking expansions and lift system upgrades. Our resorts are where many children learn to ski and ride. Our school programs flourish. We are close to home and affordable," Brandi said.