This article has been updated!
Although some low altitude ski areas in states like Pennsylvania started closing recently, at least during midweek, due to weather conditions, the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus has prompted the abrupt shutdown of local and destination resorts throughout North America. Many large western resorts typically have their best conditions in March and April when snowfall is abundant and days are warmer and longer.
On Friday, March 13, San Francisco-based ski journalist Jules Older published an article on the Liftopia blog regarding the effects of the Coronavirus on the ski industry including a handful of cancellations or resort closures that had been announced at the time. Representatives from some of those large resorts were reporting “business as usual” and some an “increase in business” although they were “monitoring the situation”.
Then, late Saturday, March 14, the Alterra Mountain Company announced it was suspending, until further notice, operations at all of its 15 resorts in the U.S. and Canada starting March 15 . Alterra Mountain Company destinations are Steamboat 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; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia.
Also on March 14, Vail Resorts suspended operations at its resorts from March 15 – 22 and will make additional assessments closer to March 22. The announcement came shortly before Gov. Jared Polis on Saturday evening issued an executive order suspending all downhill skiing operations for one week, according to the Denver Post. All tolled, Alterra and Vail are closing 49 resorts.
In New England, Killington and Pico announced a suspension of operations from March 15 – 22. New Hampshire’s King Pine ends its season at close of business on March 15. Other New England resorts such as Sugarloaf in Maine, Cannon, Loon Waterville Valley, and Gunstock in New Hampshire and Wachusett in Massachusetts have announced precautions being taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, but have said they remain open for business. That could soon change.
Other resorts also are taking action and more may be announcements could be made soon. King Pine in New Hampshire and Maine’s Sunday River shut down for the season on March 15. Sugar Bowl in California has suspended operations “indefinitely”. Mt Hood Meadows is closed and the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) managed ski areas and all its venues will suspend operation at the close of Sunday, March 15.
Ski Utah is posting closings in that State. New Jersey’s Mountain Creek is closed through the end of March.
The Swiss Federal Council has announced a number of “drastic measures,” including a ban on all social gatherings of more than 100 people. This has forced ski resorts to announce they will be closing, as they cannot restrict the number of people in an area on the slopes at any one time.
The restrictions were brought in with immediate effect on March 13. All must have done so by March 16.
All French resorts are closed. Resorts in Italy and Austria also have shut down.