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The ski season very well may be over due to the coronavirus pandemic. From California to Utah, through the Rockies and Midwest to New England, closure announcements went out in rapid fire Saturday.
Colorado Gov. Jared Pollis issued an executive order Saturday that all 30 Colorado resorts suspend operations for one week. “Never would I have believed that a global pandemic would force the temporary closure of our world-class ski resorts,” Polis wrote in an email announcing the news.
Other announcements quickly followed. All 37 Vail Resorts around the globe: closed through March 22. “This decision provides a pause for the entire ecosystem of our mountain resort communities,” wrote Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts. Vail will continue to pay all employees, both seasonal and year-round, during this eight-day period. “Their commitment to our company and guests during this uncertain time has been unwavering and I am personally grateful beyond words,” wrote Katz.
Alterra Mountain Company resorts—all 15 of them—will also close until further notice.
In Utah, all Summit Country resorts are closed as officials battle new community spread there.
As of Sunday morning, March 15, Jackson Hole remained open, though they announced closure of the Arial Tram, which typically packs skiers in elbow to elbow, on March 14. The March 15th Jackson Hole Mountain Resorts snow report touted 23 inches of fresh snow and concludes, “Have a fantastic start to your Sunday out there. It’s gonna be a big one.”
Update: JHMR closed down at 8:40 a.m. Mountain Time. An anonymous group of resort employees called for the closure yesterday in an email to the company, reported the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
These closures will, no doubt, have a serious impact on resort community economies.
“Hourly workers will get crushed,” Nick Sargent, president of Snowsports Industries America told SNEWS on Sunday morning. “From the lifties to burger flippers to the restaurants and drivers. The list goes on an on.”
Sargent says this has been a defining week for the snowsports industry and that SIA will be digging into the wide ranging impacts. “In light of all these announcements, we’ll be looking into what we can do to create different options for the industry, to help and educate our members,” he said. Sargent says SIA will put out a statement next week.
“In the meantime, getting outside is best place for all of us,” he said.
This is a developing story.