VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – There will be no more skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Crested Butte this season, and for Breckenridge there’s only a small possibility it might reopen in late April or early May. That follows an announcement early Tuesday morning by Vail Resorts that was made as the spread of coronavirus in Colorado’s high country continues to be a major concern.
Over the weekend Vail Resorts announced it would close all of its resorts in Colorado for a week, and soon after that Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order putting a stop to downhill skiing operations in the state for a week. Vail Resorts now has made the tough season-ending decision for health safety reasons.
In addition to the Colorado resorts mentioned above, the announcement affects all of the North American resorts and retail stores owned by Vail Resorts.
The company said Breckenridge would only reopen in late April or early May if weather conditions are right and a re-opening makes sense given the situation with COVID-19 at that time.
Vail Resorts chairman Rob Katz said in a prepared statement that the decision to close their resorts “was not an easy one to make.”
“We deeply considered the extended impact it will have on our guests, employees and communities,” he said. “While it is incredibly disappointing for our company to mark the end of the season so early, we know it is the most responsible path forward.”
The company said visitors who had plans to ski at the resort and already bought lift tickets will be able process refunds and credits online. They said they would provide more information about that later on Tuesday.
“I’m 68 years old, I’ve been skiing for 56 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said Phillip Economou, a Vail Resorts volunteer at Breckenridge on Sunday. “We all have to make the best of it. If we follow the recommendations we will get through this.”
Loveland Ski Area has already announced that they are closed for the season due to the coronavirus outbreak, and Telluride Ski Resort’s season is over, too. Sunlight Mountain Resort is also now closed for the season.
The closures come after a very snowy stretch of weather that in some cases left record-level totals on the slopes during the month of February. And while the month of March has been fairly warm and dry, a snowstorm later this week could drop several inches of new snow in the mountains.