Local ski areas begin preparations for summer operations
DILLON — The snow has melted, COVID-19 restrictions are loosening and Summit County ski areas are gearing up for summer operations. The four Summit County ski areas all provide summer activities from mountain biking trails to weddings. While not all activities will be able to take place in full force due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ski areas have taken steps toward varying levels of opening.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area focused on opening for a final few days of spring skiing, but now that the snow is dwindling and the ski area had it’s closing day on Sunday, June 7, A-Basin is working on their plans for the summer.
“It’s definitely going to look different than what we originally planned,” A-Basin spokeswoman Katherine Fuller said. “Everything right now is kind of tentative and we’re just kind of seeing what the county’s doing and trying to figure out what we can do.”
A-Basin announced on Saturday that they would open the 6th Alley Bar & Grill beginning Thursday and that the restaurant would be open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. According to Fuller, free, low maintenance activities such as trail access for hiking and mountain biking as well as A-Basin’s disc golf course will be the first summer activities to open.
“When the snow melts, the trails will be open,” Fuller said. “Since the county trails and county disc golf courses are open we’re kind of just trying to follow their lead.”
Fuller said the ski area has canceled all of their concerts through the end of July, but said some fall weddings are still tentatively scheduled. She said that while A-Basin staff believes they will be able to host some form of most of their usual activities, one event that is “up in the air” is the trail running series because it could result in large gatherings. However, Fuller noted that there may be ways to break up the series to decrease group sizes.
At Vail Resorts-owned Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, two lodging properties opened: the Hyatt Place at Keystone and Gravity Haus in Breckenridge. Keystone’s Golf Course also opened on Friday. According to Keystone spokeswoman Loryn Roberson, other Vail Resorts-owned and operated properties are accepting reservations beginning June 19 with flexible booking and cancellation policies.
Roberson said in an email that the resorts are “hopeful to open summer operations in late June/early July.” Keystone’s typical summer operations include a bike park, stables, lakeside activities and scenic chairlift rides. Breckenridge also offers mountain bike trail access and scenic chairlift rides as well as zip line tours, the Alpine Slide and the Goldrunner Coaster during normal summer seasons.
In a letter from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz regarding the reopening process on May 21, Katz noted that the resorts “cannot open everything all at once” and that individual summer businesses are being reviewed and will open on their own timetables. Katz said he anticipates operations will include limited activities and fewer guests.
At Copper Mountain Resort, spokeswoman Taylor Prather said in an email that the resort is planning to open on July 4 with hiking, mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides, disc golf and limited dining options. Copper Creek Golf Course will open on July 3 with 18 holes of golf. Prather reported that some of the resort’s typical summer activities, such as the Woodward WreckTangle, go-karts and lake activities will not be available this summer.
“We are focusing our efforts on providing experiences that encourage social distancing and represent the best of summer in the mountains such as hiking, biking, scenic chairlift rides, disc golf and golf,” Prather said in an email.
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