Coronavirus Shutters Vail Resorts, All of Alterra and Many More

North America’s ski industry is following in the unfortunate footsteps of its counterparts in Asia and Europe, forced to end winter operations early to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Among the first to pull the plug the past two days were Berkshire East, Jay Peak, Taos and Nub’s Nob.

What started as a trickle became a deluge Saturday.  In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order compelling all resorts to close following outbreaks in Eagle, Pitkin, and Summit counties.  Even before the order, the continent’s two largest resort companies almost simultaneously announced complete shutdowns effective tomorrow.  The 37 Vail facilities will remain closed until at least March 22nd and will continue to pay scheduled employees.  Many independent mountains are staying open for now.

This is uncharted territory but I’m certain the ski business will be okay.  Unlike other industries, we are used to doing this between seasons, albeit under very different circumstances.  The United States government has promised help to small and mid-sized businesses along with hourly employees who are missing work and pay.  Canada and governments around the world will likely do the same.  Hopefully many full time, year rounders can keep working and get important maintenance done.

Normally March on this blog features announcement after announcement of exciting new projects from lift manufacturers and their customers.  At this point, already formalized projects are pacing about the same as last year and none have been publicly canceled.  Hopefully production can continue and this mess abates in time for construction to get going as snow melts.  There are many unknowns, however.

Glacier Bowl Express yesterday at Alyeska Resort, my 417th ski area.  Alyeska and most of Alaska’s ski resorts remain open.

Those of you on Instagram know I’m in one of the world’s most amazing places right now: Alaska.  Operations at resorts were normal across the board the past few days and the weather was perfect in a state with only one confirmed case of COVID-19.  Tomorrow I will attempt to fly home and reassess.  As of this writing, Jackson Hole intends to stay open and I will be in on Monday if there is work to go to.

With so many resorts shut down and the global economy struggling, there may not be much lift news to report for awhile.  When there is, I’ll write, and will get back to exploring as soon as I can.

29 thoughts on “Coronavirus Shutters Vail Resorts, All of Alterra and Many More

  1. Somebody March 14, 2020 / 10:52 pm

    There’s only 10-15 resorts in the east that will spin lifts tomorrow.. Guess I’ll ski again in November..


  2. Skier72 March 14, 2020 / 11:24 pm

    Will you get the small Riblet double at Hillburg before you fly back to Wyoming Peter?


    • Peter Landsman March 15, 2020 / 5:03 am

      My understanding is Hillberg is not accessible to the general public.


  3. Anthony March 14, 2020 / 11:27 pm

    Worth noting, because it’s the spring and that often means avalanche danger is on the decline, that skinning is still an option! Highly, highly recommend!


    • pbropetech March 23, 2020 / 12:58 pm

      Be cognizant of area closures and the possibility of no rescue if you screw up. We are not allowing uphill access at Copper, neither is Vail, and other areas have had their local SAR groups post notices discouraging backcountry travel because of possible lack of resources. Please take it easy this time- this is not your normal spring season.


  4. Chris March 15, 2020 / 6:24 am

    Curfews here in Austria were announce to start immediately, while people are still skiing the last announced day in various places. The government looks chaotic.


  5. Kaden K March 15, 2020 / 9:59 am

    I wonder if resorts like A-Basin that usually stay open until June will open back up.


  6. vons3 March 15, 2020 / 10:25 am

    Big Sky Closing with today the final day, a reassessment to be made at a later date but they appear to be only paying seasonal staff through the 22nd. Bridger Bowl has canceled all events and the town buses but will keep spinning lifts. Most of the smaller montana hills seem to be staying open at this time.


  7. Kyle W. March 15, 2020 / 10:50 am

    Sugarloaf just announced they will be closing after today


    • Max Hart March 15, 2020 / 11:26 am

      As did Sunday River and Loon.


  8. Owen Mitchem March 15, 2020 / 12:29 pm

    Timberline and Meadows will be closed until at least the 22nd. Timberline mentioned that season pass holders may be compensated with a handful of summer lift tickets. Real unfortunate end to the spring season.


  9. vons3 March 15, 2020 / 12:43 pm

    Bridger Bowl just announced they are closing too.


  10. Robb Juliano March 15, 2020 / 1:00 pm

    Crazy times, be well and keep us posted!!


  11. skiz March 15, 2020 / 2:13 pm

    now that jhmr is closed, what is your plan?


    • Peter Landsman March 15, 2020 / 11:47 pm

      I am a full time, year round employee so hopefully I can keep working. There is a lot of tear down to do this week. Done traveling for awhile.


    • Peter Landsman March 20, 2020 / 5:45 pm

      Update: Yesterday was my last day working as nearly all year round JHMR employees have been asked to stay home for two weeks. However, the company is adding two weeks of paid time off to employees’ balances. Seasonal employees also got two weeks pay as severance. HR has also indicated we can use sick time, which I have a lot of if the furlough lasts more than two weeks. As much as I wish I could, I will not be doing any travelling until it is safe to do so.


  12. Che Guevara March 15, 2020 / 7:49 pm

    Whitefish closed today. I found out Via a Facebook alert as I was making the 8 hour drive there (and then on to Fernie). Earlier in the day they said they would continue to operate. These resorts are changing course with almost no notice. It’s too risky to travel anywhere for skiing now. I’m bummed as I hadn’t skied once yet this year but had set aside most of late March and early April to ski.


  13. Frank March 16, 2020 / 5:24 am

    This site publishes lift facts, i.e. lift cost$, vertical, length, etc.

    The facts about the China flu (COVID-19):

    This is a flu.
    In the 2009 Swine flu, “59 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus, 265,000 were hospitalized as a result, and 12,000 died”.
    We did not close everything and crash the economy.

    Those most at risk are Older adults (70+) People who have serious chronic medical conditions.
    These people are not skiing anyway.

    Here is the current math:
    In the USA (329,453,849), there are 3774 cases, or 1 per every 87,296 people, and 69 deaths, or 1 death per 4,774,693 people. Only 1 in 4.7 million!!!


    • Matt Grigaitis March 16, 2020 / 9:46 am

      I have struggled to figure out the world wide reaction, the reason swine flu is not a proper comparison is the lethality rate.

      “H1N1 took the globe by storm with between 700 million and 1.4 billion cases, Business Insider reported. But it had a fairly low mortality rate of .02 percent. ”

      The rate for common flu is widely reported at around .1%

      The concern is related to the overwhelming of our healthcare system as we have seen in Italy.


  14. Nahms March 16, 2020 / 7:34 am

    I am wondering if this will have a major effect on the planned construction this offseason. I was riding the Kanc quad at Loon yesterday for a farewell ride. But it led me to wonder if the construction will still go on as planned. I figured Loon will immediately begin to disassemble the lift. I guess I have some worry about the construction of the new lift not being able to happen due to all the issues with travel. So I am hoping the worst case scenario doesn’t happen, where Loon disassembles the lift, and then construction of the new lift cannot happen… Strange times…


    • Teddy's Lift World March 16, 2020 / 8:22 am

      I’m predicting that all of this virus crap will be almost completely gone by June. The warm weather of May should really slow down the spread but I think the worst is still yet to come. Early-mid April is when I expect it to be the worst.


    • skitheeast March 17, 2020 / 12:35 pm

      I would hope resorts capitalize on the early closings to begin offseason projects as quickly as possible to ensure they are ready for day one of next year. Disney’s US parks, which are in a similar situation, immediately got to work on pavement projects the moment they closed because it makes more sense to do them now without guests than wait and disrupt guests later on.


  15. Bob Incredible March 17, 2020 / 1:39 pm

    The rest of BC is closing today. Lake Louise and Marmot Basin are still open but it’s too far to travel given the uncertainty. One day they’re bragging about the conditions and a few hours later they post regrets. Schweitzer in Idaho is also still open but for how long?


  16. Emily March 19, 2020 / 9:39 pm

    Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota announced today that they are closing for the season early, the last day will be March 22, despite announcing that they planned to stay open until at least mid-April with COVID-19 precautions. They will be providing refunds or future travel credit for next year for anyone who had lodging or ticket reservations between March 22 and May. Sad to see them close early, conditions are still excellent but I understand that health and safety comes first :(


    • Charlie March 23, 2020 / 2:47 pm

      Crazy times we’re in.


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