Why ski areas close when they do | SummitDaily.com

Why ski areas close when they do

Rick Newton, Dillon District Ranger White River National Forest

The Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest hosts six ski areas; Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper and Frisco and Breckenridge Nordic Centers.As the snow begins to melt, ski areas on the Dillon Ranger District close down their operations. We say goodbye to skiers and snowboarders and prepare for summer, even when snow is deep and plentiful. Every fall, before ski season begins, each area submits an annual Winter Operating Plan, as required by their Special Use Permit, to the White River National Forest. The plan outlines, among other things, opening and closing dates. Typically ski areas close sometime in April. Arapahoe Basin is the exception – their operating plan does not give specific opening or closing dates. Instead, it says they will close sometime in June or July – the final date is determined by weather and business levels. The decision to close each individual ski area is made by ski area management for several reasons including, but not limited to; staffing (many employees have summer jobs or soon to expire visas) and snow conditions and weather patterns, although that’s not a problem this year. However, the most important reason is simply a business decision based on skier demand. As spring rolls around and spring breaks come to an end, skier numbers drop dramatically. It simply becomes less economically viable to stay open.The Dillon Ranger District and our ski area partners thank you for another great ski and snowboard season come to an end, and are looking forward to summer recreation and projects and, of course, what next winter will bring.

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