Within 24 hours, major ski resorts in the United States and Canada have followed the lead of the cruise industry, suspending all operations to prevent potential spreading of the COVID-19 virus.
Originally, locations such as the Vail Resort-owned Mount Snow in Vermont were optimistic in remaining open for business, assuring their guests know that they were monitoring “the rapidly evolving impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) from all angles.”
In a statement to CNN on the morning of March 14, Montana-based Big Sky Resort stated that they would remain open in the wake of the coronavirus spreading in the United States as the resort was “committed to providing a fun outdoor escape with the safest facilities and environment possible.”
Within a few hours, however, more ski resorts began to change their stance as popular European ski resorts in the Swiss Alps suspended their own operations. Big Sky Resort later announced that major spring events would be canceled. After several more hours, Big Sky Resort announced that all operations would be suspended after March 15.
Other resorts such as Deer Valley and Copper Mountain began to follow suit. Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of 15 North American ski resorts and Vail Resorts, has since closed its operations. Vail Resorts will close through March 22 but will provide an update on March 20 on the status of the rest of the season.
While most European resorts plan to close indefinitely for the season, many North American locations are hopeful that the slopes reopen before the end of the season. Though it varies from location, Mid-March through May or June is typically considered the prime time of year to ski or snowboard.
The length of suspension varies from resort to resort. Whistler Blackcomb plans to close for at least one week, while nearly all Ikon Pass destinations will be closed for the rest of the season. New Jersey’s Mountain Creek will remain closed through the end of the month.