Steamboat Resort closes in response to global coronavirus concerns

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, March 15, to include a statement from Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort is among a list of resorts that announced closures on Saturday, March 14, amid a global outbreak of a novel coronavirus.

“Based on guidance from Alterra Mountain Company and the governor of Colorado, Steamboat is closed until further notice,” said Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Director of Communications Loryn Duke. “This continues to be a rapidly changing situation, and we may not have all the answers immediately. At this time, we are determining the best course of action for our employees and guests and will share more information on as it becomes available.”

Alterra resorts affected by closure
  • Steamboat Resort and Winter Park in Colorado
  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California
  • Stratton and Sugarbush Resort in Vermont
  • Snowshoe in West Virginia
  • Tremblant in Quebec
  • Blue Mountain in Ontario
  • Crystal Mountain in Washington
  • Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah

Starting Sunday, March 15, the ski resort conglomerate said it would close 14 of its North America destinations, including Steamboat and Winter Park, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Its heli-skiing operation in British Columbia will close starting Tuesday, March 17, according to the news release.

Alterra has not yet said when the resorts could reopen or if they will reopen.

The announcement came hours before Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order suspending all downhill ski operations for one week.

“It is with a profound sense of pain and grim responsibility that I take the agonizing action that this moment demands,” Polis said of the executive order. “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.”

Polis acknowledged that the suspension is not only upsetting for families with vacation plans, but it poses a burden on the people and communities who depend on the business and work the skiing industry brings.

“These costs will be borne by local residents and businesses, and by the individuals and families who come to Colorado to enjoy our beautiful mountains and world-renowned skiing,” the executive order reads. “But in the face of this pandemic emergency we cannot hesitate to protect public health and safety.”

Each resort is working with guests who have planned visits and will provide refunds to those who have hotel reservations and other bookings during the closure period, according to the release.

“We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries,” Alterra said in the release.

Alterra’s announcement came about 30 minutes after Vail Resorts said it would shut down its North America resorts until March 22.

Following Vail’s announcement, Polis commended the company’s decision.

“The safety and health of our most vulnerable and of our communities is our top priority,” Polis said in a news release. “I commend Vail Resorts for taking this difficult, responsible step and urge other mountains and resorts to do the same. Coloradans and our business community must continue to rise to meet the demand of these challenging times and everyone must do their part in stopping the spread of this virus.”

Aspen Skiing Co. also announced it will close all skiing operations. Its four ski areas, including Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, were closed immediately.

“Our plan is to conduct some limited on-mountain maintenance to potentially have a limited last season opening if circumstances allow,” Skico said in a statement. “We are all skiers at heart and we understand the therapeutic nature of our shared passion. Extreme circumstances call for extreme actions, and we make this decision in coordination with our local and state health agencies. Let’s work together as a community to support each other and will all come out stronger on the other side.”

This story will be updated.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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