Basically, the role of snowboarding and other recreational activities is to provide respite from the stresses, complexities and responsibilities of everyday life. Bringing all one’s senses and abilities while downhill offers a rare opportunity to be present, exhilarating and, above all, to live in the moment.
Today, March 14, 2020 is unprecedented in the history of skiing as both Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company announced that within the next 24 hours, they will be suspending the resort’s operations due to growing concerns about the health of visitors. and staff due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The announcements come after similar closures took place across Europe last week. While the closure began as a voluntary measure, late on the evening of the 14th, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order requiring all ski resorts in the state to cease operations.
With thirty-seven mountains in fifteen states and three countries, Vail Resorts is the largest ski resort operator in the world. Among Vail’s destinations in North America are Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone, Colorado; Okemo, Stowe and Mount Snow/Carinthia, Vermont; Northstar and Heavenly, California; and Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia. Today, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz released a statement addressing the motivation in taking this step. According to Katz, “This decision halts the entire ecosystem of our mountain resort communities. It gives people time to assess the situation, react to ever-changing developments and evaluate the approach for the rest of the season, if we believe a reopening is the right thing to do or feasible. This is not an easy decision to make, as we have given in-depth consideration of its impact on guests, employees as well as people and businesses in our community. ”
Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra Mountain Company, owner of Bear Mountain, Mammoth Mountain and Squaw Valley, California; Sugarbush and Stratton, Vermont; Winter Park, Colorado; And Crystal Mountain, Washington issued a similar statement stating, “After careful thought and consideration of our mission in the face of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and what I believe is in the best interests of our customers, employees, and localities. community Alterra Mountain Company will be suspending operations at our fifteen North American ski resorts, starting sunday morning, March 15, until further notice. All operations of elevators, food and beverages, retail and rental services will be closed until further notice.” In addition to major operators such as Alterra and Vail Resorts, several independent companies also followed suit, including Jay Peak, VT; Arapahoe Basin, CO; Loveland Pass, CO; Aspen / Snowmass, CO; Sugar Bowl, CA; and Brighton, UT.
Both Katz and Gregory announced that the team facing their customers will work diligently to minimize any inconvenience this event causes to their guests.
Powdr Corporation, in addition to owning Woodward Camps, is also the owner of Killington, VT; Copper, CO; Boreal, CA; and Mt. Bachelor, OR posted a message on social media on Saturday night, which read: “Our top priority — the health and safety of our staff, guests and the local community — remains top notch to us and, with this, we will suspend all resort activities starting from March 15, 2020 to March 22, 2020. We will continue to monitor the dynamics of COVID-19 and reassess our approach for the rest of the season. ”
As of this afternoon, most resorts are turning over to local, state and national governments to determine the next steps as a large number of areas are located in the National Park. With governors from California to Colorado announcing what types of gatherings, activities, and locations will be allowed at the present time, many hills are in the early stages of implementing protocols for miniature services, including the closure of facilities and indoor functions, while keeping the chair rotating, albeit with a comfortable lifting line process so guests can maintain the discreet space from the other group of guests. This morning, it was reported that employees at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort had raised concerns to superior management about their own state of well-being due to their company’s implementation of this kind of strategy, including tram closures and other amenities being scaled back as part of a “social distancing” plan.
While many ski slopes are in their season, as most of the official closing days come in late March and early April, recent snowfalls have brought an upbeat boost with regions like California, Utah and Colorado being restored in the spring. Unfortunately, the rise of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the lives of most people on earth are constantly increasing. Often, horseback riding is an ideal escape from this type of natural disaster. Not since 9/11 has our sport stopped improving in this way, and even then, it can’t go to the mountains that have been affected, but once you’ve found your way to the top, the slopes will steadfastly wait for solace. SNOWBOARDER magazine will continue to update our readers on how this pandemic is affecting alpine communities while keeping all those whose health and livelihoods are affected in our thoughts.