Yesterday afternoon, Vail Resorts announced that it was closing all ski areas in North America, including the five in Colorado, through March 22. Alterra Resorts, which owns Steamboat and operates Winter Park, was quick to follow suit.
Then Governor Jared Polis took matters into his own hands, issuing an executive order late on March 14, ordering all ski mountains to close as of today, March 15, through at least March 22.
“Never would I have believed that a global pandemic would force the temporary closure of our world-class ski resorts," he said in the release announcing his order. "I have been skiing since I was four years old. Our family has had a place in Vail for three decades. And, like so many Colorado families, we were planning a ski trip with our kids over their spring break next weekend. Beyond being a major part of our way of life, skiing supports our workers and businesses.
“For those of us who treasure living our lives outdoors, sacrificing our fun is the easier part; but for those who depend on employment in our Colorado high country, the uncertainty of how long they will be out of a job is terrifying. It is with a profound sense of pain and grim responsibility that I take the agonizing action that this moment demands. I take solace in knowing that while we will be temporarily closed for business, we will be saving the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Coloradans in the days and weeks ahead.”
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The executive order directs downhill ski resorts to suspend operations for one week to slow the spread of COVID-19 and conserve medical resources in the state’s mountain communities. Summit, Pitkin and Eagle counties have been particularly hard hit, the order notes.
That area includes AspenSnowmass, which posted on its Facebook page at 7:15 p.m. March 14 that "By order of the Governor of the State of Colorado we are closing all ski operations immediately."
Here's the complete order: