DENVER -- Getting a Drone for Christmas? Here's what Coloradans should know...
It's one of the hottest high tech gifts this Christmas, but if you're among the estimated 400,000 people who will receive a drone this year, there are some things you need to know.
If you live in Colorado, think twice before taking it on a ski trip.
“Leave it at home when you go to a ski area," said Melanie Mills, CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. "Bring your powder skis but leave your drone home.”
Colorado ski resorts ban drone use. The only exceptions are professional companies that receive special clearance from the resorts and the FAA, most often for competitions.
However, even that type of limited, commercial use is under review by many organizations following a drone crash that nearly hit a skier during a World Cup event in Italy.
“It was really shocking to see," Mills said. "But it wasn’t shocking that it happened.”
Ski resorts aren't the only ones with concerns about drone operation. The FAA recently began requiring drone registration by owners, even amateurs, as long as the aircraft weighs more the .55 pounds.
The FAA is waiving the $5 registration fee for the next 30 days. Owners who do not register their drones will face the possibility of $27,000 fine.
"The regulations, hopefully, will kind of at least get people thinking about operating these responsibly," said Fred Beardslee, owner of Colpar's HobbyTown in Aurora.
Beardslee says the drone registration isn't slowing down sales. He sells models that range from $30 to $1300, and he's having trouble keeping them all in stock.
So far, more than 46,000 people have registered their drones for free online and that number is expected to spike following the holiday season.
For more information on the FAA drone registration program, click here.AlertMe