Top 5 most-read stories on SummitDaily.com, week of Dec. 20
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.
On Tuesday, Dec. 22, Vail Resorts properties in Summit County, including Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort, posted on social media that they had submitted a request to the Summit County Public Health Department to remove capacity restrictions at ski areas.
The social media posts indicated that the reduced capacities mandated by Summit County government restrict the resorts more than their state-approved winter operating plans.
At a Summit County Board of Health meeting later in the day, government officials discussed the request. Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the county put the most recent capacity restrictions in place on ski areas and other businesses due to a worry about the impact on the community from a high number of out-of-state and Front Range visitors.
Summit County’s 5 Star Business Certification Program allowed 134 restaurants to open to indoor dining over the weekend ending Dec. 20.
The program allows restaurants to reopen to in-person dining at 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer, despite the county being in level red on the state’s COVID-19 dial. The catch is that restaurants have to comply with more stringent regulations than those required for in-person dining in level orange, including spacing tables and parties at least 10 feet apart, screening customers and employees for symptoms, and gathering contact information to help with contact tracing.
If Summit County eventually moves into level orange, businesses in the five-star program can operate at capacities associated with level yellow.
The goal of every ski area is to get as much terrain open before the holidays, which bring crowds of eager skiers and snowboarders to Summit County. This year, there is the added incentive that more terrain means more room to spread out and, at ski areas using reservation systems, more availability. Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn’t helped out much, but snowmaking has allowed resorts to get lower mountain terrain open.
At Breckenridge Ski Resort, terrain on Peak 10 opened one weekend ago with the Falcon SuperChair, which means four of the resort’s five peaks have open trails, Breckenridge spokesperson Sara Lococo said. She added that mountain operations teams are prepping Peak 6 — the last peak to open — and Peak 8’s Imperial Express SuperChair and T-Bar with snowmaking and patrol work. Lococo reported that Breckenridge had just over 750 acres open as of Tuesday, Dec. 22.
The difference in amount of natural snowfall this year versus last year is emphasized in the amount of open terrain at the resort — 850 acres of lift-served skiing was open by Dec. 13 in 2019.
Members of Summit County’s lodging and short-term rental community expressed their disappointment after county officials declined Tuesday, Dec. 22, a request to allow exemptions for lodging booked through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
On Wednesday, Dec. 23, Mary Waldman, owner of Summit Mountain Rentals — which includes 250 short-term and 50 long-term rentals — said lodging properties like hers are “devastated.” She said she had hoped the county’s declining COVID-19 numbers might have helped their case. Christmas cancellations had already rolled in, and she said many lodging companies are about to lose New Year’s reservations.
“(Lodging companies) were sending out (cancellation) notices after (Tuesday’s Board of Health) meeting,” Waldman said. “… To wait for the vaccine, I don’t know if that makes sense. The numbers don’t support the actions that are in place today.”
The pandemic canceled this month’s Ullr Fest, but it’s not the first time Ullr took a hiatus in Breckenridge.
The last of the UllrDag Festivals of the 1960s ended in debauchery, destruction and community division. It would be a long time before Ullr returned to Breckenridge in a festival form familiar today.
By the fifth festival in 1967, UllrDag had grown exponentially in popularity. Real estate agent Earl Tatum, who served as prime minister of the festival, praised the increase in attendees at the parade and additional participants in the skijoring and dog sled competitions, doubling of the sales of Ullr coins.
At least 60 people were arrested or cited in Breckenridge that weekend, a significant per capita rate for a community with a population well under 1,000. The town marshal, county sheriff and state liquor board all made arrests for underage drinking and public consumption of alcohol as well as other crimes.
— Leigh Girvin, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance
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