Top 5 most-read stories last week: La Nina, lawsuit and Vail Resorts’ operating plans |

Top 5 most-read stories last week: La Nina, lawsuit and Vail Resorts’ operating plans

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

1. Weak La Nina in the forecast: Here’s what it means for ski season in Summit County

As the ski season approaches, everyone wants to know how much snow Summit County will get this year.

Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist of Open Snow, explained that at this point in the year, the only way to have some sort of idea about what the upcoming season will look like is to determine whether it will be an El Nino or a La Nina year and then to look at past weather patterns associated with those climate phenomena. El Nino and La Nina refer to warmer or cooler water temperatures, respectively, in the Pacific Ocean and impact weather worldwide.

“The reason people talk about it now is because El Nino and La Nina is the only factor that we can kind of reliably predict many months in advance,” Gratz said.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

2. Lawsuit against Breckenridge Grand Vacations moves forward

A U.S. district judge has granted a motion to allow a lawsuit against Breckenridge Grand Vacations to move forward as conditionally certified, meaning that others can “opt in” to the case.

Earlier this year, Arthur McMahon, who was formerly employed as a salesperson with the company, filed a class action complaint for how Breckenridge Grand Vacations classifies its salespeople and independent contractors. McMahon is seeking to recover overtime wages and benefits for time worked while employed. He is also hoping to stop the company from classifying its salespeople as independent contractors in the future.

Jenna deJong

3. Vail Resorts announces winter operating plans, which require COVID-19 vaccination of employees and diners at quick-service restaurants

Vail Resorts has announced its winter operating plan for the 2021-22 season. The most notable changes include the requirement for employees and some dining patrons to be vaccinated, as well as the elimination of the ski reservation system and outdoor mask requirement.

In a news release, Vail Resorts officials said passholders will not need to use a reservation system to get on the mountain this year, and chairlifts and gondolas will be loaded at normal capacity. In addition, masks will be required only in indoor settings.

Dining is where things get more complicated.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

4. Breckenridge man arrested after stealing $44,000 from golf club

A Breckenridge Golf Club employee is facing felony charges after stealing more than $40,000 from the town-run golf course, according to court records.

Ryan Mahlstadt, 31, who is listed in the arrest affidavit as an assistant golf pro at Breckenridge Golf Club, was arrested earlier this month after an investigation into abnormal financial activity at the golf course revealed he made a number of fraudulent refunds into his own pocket.

Breckenridge Town Clerk Helen Cospolich, who is currently serving as the town’s spokesperson, said the town couldn’t comment on an active police investigation or personnel matters.

Sawyer D’Argonne

5. Dillon shoots down emergency short-term rental moratorium

The Dillon Town Council unanimously voted against placing a moratorium on the issuance of new short-term rental licenses in town during its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The town had an emergency ordinance on the agenda, which would have established a moratorium on new short-term rental licenses in town between Sept. 29 and April 30, 2022. The topic was broached in part due to recent legislation passed by Summit County and the town of Breckenridge.

Earlier this month, Breckenridge passed an ordinance on first reading to cap the number of short-term rental licenses in town at 2,200. The Breckenridge Town Council is expected to hear a second reading on the ordinance at its next meeting Sept. 28. Summit County meanwhile imposed a 90-day moratorium on the issuance of short-term rental licenses in unincorporated areas of the county on Sept. 17.

Sawyer D’Argonne

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