Top 5 most-read stories on, week of March 21 |

Top 5 most-read stories on, week of March 21

Editor’s note: Stories on this list received the most page views on in the past week.

1. How to claim the $10,200 deduction for unemployment benefits on your 2020 tax forms

If you lost a job in 2020 and received unemployment benefits to make ends meet, Congress this month approved a tax break for you. The catch, though, is the break came in the middle of tax season — after forms had been printed and after many already filed their returns.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan allows those who received unemployment benefits to deduct $10,200 in payments from their 2020 income.

— The Denver Post

2. Vail resident Gary Smith killed in backcountry avalanche near Beaver Creek Resort

Gary Allen Smith, 37, was caught and killed in an avalanche in the backcountry near Beaver Creek Resort on March 22, the Eagle County coroner confirmed.

The avalanche occurred in an area known as the Sanctuary Chute, below treeline in a steep, northwest-facing chute at an elevation of about 10,500 feet near the Lime Creek drainage. Smith was trapped in the slide and his skiing companion was able to locate him, dig him out and call for help, but Smith did not survive.

The fatality is the 12th avalanche death in the state this season, making it the deadliest avalanche season since 1992-93, when 12 people also died.

— Vail Daily

3. Record-breaking real estate sales send prices soaring and create intense competition among buyers

The Summit County real estate market set a record in 2020 for breaking the $2 billion mark in sales. A shrinking housing inventory coupled with unprecedented demand in the past year has left Summit County with soaring prices.

According to Land Title Guarantee Co. data, the average price of a single-family home was $1.39 million in 2020, up more than $130,000 from the 2019 average of $1.26 million.

Jack Wolfe, broker at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Breckenridge, said the 10% increase in the average single-family home price between 2019 and 2020 is an all-time record. He added that there was a 45% increase in homes sold over $1 million in 2020 as well as a 97% increase in homes sold over $2 million.

— Taylor Sienkiewicz

4. Vail Resorts slashes Epic Pass prices by 20%

Vail Resorts is turning the clock back on its Epic Pass prices to reward loyal customers following a trying year. On March 24, the resort operator announced that it is lowering the price of passes by 20% across the board.

The reset takes Epic Pass products back to prices last seen during the 2015-16 season, when Vail Resorts offered access to only 11 North American resorts. Now, it offers unlimited access to 34 North American resorts in addition to access to resorts across the globe.

— Vail Daily

5. New state dial to loosen some restrictions before expiring in April

A third version of the state’s COVID-19 dial was released March 23 and took effect the next day, loosening restrictions for counties in levels yellow through green and making it easier for counties to move into the least restrictive levels. The dial is expected to expire in mid-April, putting restrictions back in the hands of local health departments.

A change that will kick in right away in Summit County, which is in level yellow, is the elimination of capacity restrictions for restaurants and gyms that are participating in the 5 Star State Certification Program. Five-star restaurants and gyms in counties that are in levels blue and yellow can operate at 100% capacity, but 6 feet of distance between groups must be maintained.

— Taylor Sienkiewicz

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