More Resorts in the USA Look to Re-Open
26th April 2020 | James Cove, PlanetSKI editor
Last modified on May 22nd, 2020
Mt Baldy in California has re-opened even though it appears to be against the rules. Now two in Colorado are considering their position, but says they will only do so if allowed to.
Mt Baldy opened up last week as we reported at the time, Mt Baldy ski resort in California to re-open.
The general manager, Robby Ellingson, said he had the idea when he bought a toaster from a local shop.
He thought that if he could buy a toaster then he should be able to open a ski resort.
He has also seen some golf courses opening in southern California and cited them as an example.
The governor of California has issued a ‘stay at home’ order.
State and local orders prohibit non-essential businesses from operating amid the coronavirus pandemic.
San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has said to ABC News that the resort is not technically allowed to be open.
Most of the locals are said not to want the resort to re-open for fears that people will bring the virus with them.
Around 100 turned up for skiing and though there was no snow at the bottom of the resort there was around 1m at the top.
“In stark contrast to a golf course (150 acres), Mt Baldy Resort (800 acres) has more than 4x the area and will be operating at less than 10% of occupancy under this plan.”
“Experienced advanced and above skiers and riders only,” the resort wrote on its website.
The resort has strict social distancing requests, but it is not policing them.
Many support the move of the resort as they disagree with the tight restrictions and believe the economy needs to get going again.
Here is a comment on the resort’s Facebook page
William A. Adams: “Can’t imagine many places more isolated from the virus than one’s car and the wilderness. The economy is taking a bad enough hit without demanding business closures when reasonable safeguards have been put in place. I’m seeing long lines at Costco, retail cashiers without protective gear. That needs more attention. A few season pass-holders and “tee-time” skiers spread out on the mountain is not a significant risk and allows a few wage earners to maintain an income. Over-correcting can be as bad as under-correcting.”
It has led to other US ski resorts to look at their position.
At least two Colorado ski areas, Arapahoe Basin and Aspen Meadows, are keeping their mountains prepared in case the Governor, Jared Polis, and local public health officials decide to allow them to reopen.
“We do have plans to re-open if conditions allow,” said chief operating officer Alan Henceroth.
“We are working closely with county and state officials to understand what those conditions would be. When our community feels that it makes sense to re-open Arapahoe Basin, we will be ready to re-open.”
We have the full statement form Alan Henceroth at the end of this article.
The Aspen Skiing Company based in Colorado is also looking at opening.
Aspen Mountain has had Memorial Day weekend skiing in July four times in recent years, but this year the plan is to offer late-season skiing at neighbouring Aspen Highlands if permitted.
“We’re doing everything we can to maintain the ability to ski at Highlands if all the pieces come together properly — state, county, forest service,” said Aspen spokesman Jeff Hanle.
“If everybody says, ‘OK, if you can do this with social distancing and here are the rules,’ and snow conditions permit, we will do it. We’re keeping it available as an option.”
Elsewhere in Colorado Loveland ski area has said it is definitely not going to re-open.
We understand the resorts owned by Vail Resorts (Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Vail) are looking more towards opening for summer tourism rather than a last gasp at winter.
No other ski resorts in California are looking at following the lead of Mt Baldy.
“While we’d love to reopen, we need to continue to follow the governor’s orders while also being respectful to our community,” said a statement from Snow Valley Mountain Resort to local media.
“Even if we were able to reopen, the experience would not be up to our Snow Valley standards of service as operations would be very limited.”
Big Bear mountain has said “we do not anticipate attempting to reopen this season.”
At Mt Baldy conditions were described as ‘Very spring like” and the area is under a period of fine weather with a heatwave forecast.
It has just two chairlifts operating.
A daily lift ticket costs $99 (£80).
As promised here is the full text of the blog for Arapahoe Basin’s Chief Operation Office.
ARAPAHOE BASIN BLOG:
Saturday, April 25, 2020
CANDID TALK ON OPENING – ALAN HENCEROTH
“I want to have a candid discussion on the possibility of us re-opening. I am concerned a few of you may be getting the wrong message. A re-opening will not be happening soon.
As a community we have more work to do battling COVID-19. Hospitalization and fatality rates need to continue to fall. We still need to follow all the social distancing recommendations.
Culturally, to open we have to be comfortable travelling and driving again.
That said, you know when conditions are right, we will try and re-open. That time is at least a few weeks away.
We are working on plans of HOW to open. There is still no plan for WHEN to open.
There are no plans to open uphill access at this time.
Don’t be discouraged. This is a marathon and A-Basin is a marathon runner. What other area stays open from mid-October to July 4th?
We all need to do the right things now if we want to get open again.”
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