Privately owned ski centers in New York could get a boost from a measure proposed this week by a Republican state lawmaker in order to give them the same tax benefit as state-owned ski facilities in the state. 

The measure backed by state Sen. Joe Griffo would eliminate the sales tax on purchases for energy efficient ski lifts, snowmaking and grooming equipment for privately owned ski centers. Publicly slopes like those at Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface are exempt from the state sales tax; privately owned facilities are not. 

Griffo wants a version of the provision in a final state budget deal by April 1. 

“New York State is home to many ski centers that attract visitors, support local and regional economies and are an important part of the communities in which they are located,” Griffo said. “In order to ensure their long-term sustainability, many privately-owned ski areas in New York, especially upstate, need to upgrade and maintain equipment and snowmaking systems. However, they may not be able to do so due to a variety of reasons, including financial constraints. My legislation will help these facilities by providing them with important relief that will help them to flourish for years to come.”

Winter sports states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah and Colorado have enacted similar measures for privately owned ski facilities. The change is backed by ski center owners, who pointed to the effect the sport has on tourism and the broader economy of upstate New York. 

"New York State is home to over 50 ski areas, more than any other state in the nation," said Scott Brandi, the president of Ski Areas of New York Inc. "We have a $1.4 billion impact on the tourism economy of upstate New York during the four months of winter when we need tourism the most. We support Sen. Griffo’s efforts in sponsoring this bill, and we agree with his position specific to this bill. Snowmaking is a process that should not be subject to these taxes."