Top 5 stories on, week of Aug. 23 |

Top 5 stories on, week of Aug. 23

Vail Resorts announced its operating plan last week, including a reservation system that will limit lift tickets and prioritize passholders.
Photo Courtesy Vail Resorts

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

1. Vail Resorts announces opening dates for 2020-21 season, plans reservation system

After months of anticipation about the upcoming ski season, Vail Resorts announced last week its operating plan, including a reservation system and opening days.

It looks like there won’t be the usual race to open this year between Keystone Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area as Vail Resorts already has set Keystone’s opening date for Nov. 6 — weather permitting. Breckenridge Ski Resort is expected to open Nov. 13. 

Reservations will be required to access Vail-owned mountains, and the company said in a news release that it intends to limit lift tickets and prioritize passholders. According to the website for the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts’ pass system, the company anticipates being able to accommodate everyone who wants to ski or ride for the “vast majority of days.”

Face coverings will be required to access the mountain and must remain on in “all parts of resort operations,” including when loading and riding chairlifts and gondolas, when inside buildings and during ski and snowboard lessons. On chairlifts and gondolas, related groups can ride together or people from different groups can ride together while maintaining the required distance.

— Taylor Sienkiewicz 

2. Breckenridge restaurant plans to set up yurts for outdoor dining as town sets permitting rules

Breckenridge is moving forward with plans to allow restaurants to set up tents on private property this fall and winter to increase the amount of tables they can provide with capacity limits.

The town has put together a permitting process — which involves the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District — for restaurants that wish to put up tents beginning Sept. 28.

Aurum Food & Wine in Breckenridge already has plans underway for setting up yurts. Aurum owner Phil Armstrong explained that he had seen yurt dining concepts in Aspen about a year ago. 

“We were planning on doing these far before COVID became a reality, and then with the onset of COVID and trying to think about what we were going to do to ensure the year-round use of outdoor dining, we decided to track down the producer of these yurts,” Armstrong said.

— Taylor Sienkiewicz

3. County officials investigate COVID-19 outbreak at Silverthorne construction site

The Summit County Public Health Department is investigating an outbreak of three cases of the novel coronavirus among employees of Big Johnson Construction.

The department is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to investigate the outbreak in which three employees, who are all residents of Colorado Springs, were working on a project in Silverthorne at the time they tested positive.

Because the employees are not residents of Summit County, their cases will not be reflected in the county’s case data webpage. 

Libby Stanford 

4. Trump’s ban on visa workers breathes new life into college-age ski bumming in Colorado’s resort towns

College kids are filling a critical gap for resort companies that need hundreds or even thousands of seasonal workers. And with President Donald Trump’s June 22 executive order that paused all foreign-worker visas to expand opportunities for American workers, the challenge of landing seasonal workers has grown for ski areas that have long struggled to fill positions in remote — and pricey — mountain communities.

“This is something that is keeping us all up at night right now. Trying to fill positions without an international pool of applicants is a little concerning, but we think we can replace them domestically,” said Jim Laing, the head of human resources for Aspen Skiing Co., which typically hires about 400 J-1 exchange visa workers every season. “Our applications from college kids are up pretty significantly over prior years. We are targeting college-age applicants, but they seem to be targeting us as well. That’s a bright light in this mess.”

— Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun

5. I-70 reopens through Glenwood Canyon

After a two-week closure, Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon reopened Aug. 24.

The interstate closed Aug. 10 when the now more than 30,000-acre wildfire started near the Grizzly Creek rest area. CDOT officials remain concerned about future weather events. Even a quarter-inch of rain could cause issues, officials have said.

The two-week I-70 shutdown is thought to be the longest in the canyon’s history.

— Summit Daily staff report

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.