Top 5 most-read stories on SummitDaily.com, week of Feb. 14
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.
1. Ski areas discuss dial change, crowd management and mask requirements
More than halfway through ski season, and in anticipation of a busy spring break period, ski industry leaders are sticking with the “know before you go” message.
While tweaks have been made to manage crowds and adjust to the state’s new COVID-19 dial, ski areas continue to be focused on communication around wearing masks, keeping 6 feet of distance and planning ahead.
“Skiing and snowboarding itself have not changed,” Colorado Ski Country USA Public Affairs Director Chris Linsmayer said during a Zoom meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16. “It’s the whole getting to the ski area, indoor dining — those pieces that are different. The major piece of what we are reminding folks and continuing to remind folks on is masks, and that means not just covering your mouth, but covering your mouth and nose.”
2. Skier dies after hitting tree at Breckenridge Ski Resort
A 55-year-old skier was killed after hitting a tree at Breckenridge Ski Resort Tuesday, Feb. 9, according to Summit County Chief Deputy Coroner Amber Flenniken. The man has since been identified as Matthew Estrada of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Flenniken said Estrada died from multiple blunt-force trauma injuries sustained after he hit a tree.
Estrada is the third person to die on Summit County’s ski slopes this season, according to Flenniken. On Feb. 6, Kremmling’s Mike Wilson, 69, died at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area due to acute cardiac arrest. On Jan. 2, 28-year-old Zachariah Turnage of Denver died from a neck fracture and blunt force trauma after hitting a tree at Keystone Resort. That incident was previously unreported.
3. Cases of the B.1.1.7. coronavirus variant continue to rise in Colorado – but aren’t cause for concern, yet
The new coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom has firmly taken root in Colorado, with the state reporting 41 cases so far.
But one of Colorado’s top health officials said Feb. 10 that there is not yet cause for alarm in the spread of the variant, as overall COVID-19 cases in the state continue to decline and cases from the variant make up a small fraction of the total. As long as Coloradans continue to maintain a high degree of mask-wearing and social distancing, mathematical models do not show the variant leading to a dramatic resurgence of cases.
“We actually see very little impact from the variant” if transmission control remains high, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist.
4. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area plans chairlift replacement, new barbecue restaurant and warming hut
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area could be getting an upgrade with a warming hut, barbecue restaurant and replacement chairlift.
The fixed-grip, three-person Lenawee lift would be replaced by a high-speed detachable four- or six-person chairlift that would be able to bring skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain more efficiently. The hut would support winter and summer activities, and the barbecue restaurant would sit next to Black Mountain Lodge.
All of the upgrades are pending approval by the U.S. Forest Service.
5. Judge: No rights violations against snowboarders who caused avalanche
Prosecutors will be allowed to use evidence provided to law enforcement by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in the upcoming trial of Evan Hannibal and Tyler DeWitt, two snowboarders charged with reckless endangerment after triggering an avalanche that buried a roadway in snow nearly a year ago.
Jason Flores-Williams, the defense attorney for Hannibal and DeWitt, joined members of the prosecution and numerous onlookers during a virtual motions hearing on the case Tuesday, Feb. 16, arguing that evidence provided to law enforcement by the Avalanche Information Center represented a violation of his clients’ Fourth Amendment rights. Summit County Judge Edward Casias ruled that there was no constitutional violation as a result of the information sharing and dismissed the motion to suppress the evidence at trial.
On March 25, DeWitt of Silverthorne and Hannibal of Vail were snowboarding above the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels when they triggered an avalanche that ran onto the Loop Road above the tunnels. Nobody was injured in the slide, though it did damage a remote avalanche-control unit and cover more than 400 feet of the roadway in debris up to 20 feet deep.
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