Colorado Restricts Resort Capacities As Ski County Covid Cases Spike
Significant increases in positive coronavirus cases in Colorado -- and resultant stress on hospital capacities -- have forced further restrictions on the number of skiers and riders who can hit the slopes at the same time.
Currently, 16 Colorado counties are under "Level Red" because of a sustained rise in cases. The state's Covid "dial" has six levels, and "red" is the second-worst rating.
Simply put, "red" means no indoor dining, restricted capacities indoors, and time inside limited to restroom breaks, short warmup breaks, and, at a few resorts, a chance to by grab 'n' go food. It's expected to last 30 days.
Home to four major ski and snowboard resorts, Summit County ordered Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain to further cut back on visitor numbers and enforce tighter indoor gathering restrictions. All Colorado resorts require online purchase of tickets, so that can be cut off to control crowding.
Copper says it will cut back on the number of parking reservations it issues every day when it opens on Nov. 30. The other three have only said they will work with the county to establish new, tighter capacity limits. Skier visit numbers are considered proprietary and aren't published by the industry.
In addition, Loveland in Clear Creek County has stopped all indoor restaurant and bar service -- including brown bag picnicking -- and cohort parties needing to warm up will get escorted to a table and put on a 30-minute time clock.
Officials at Purgatory -- located in La Plata County -- issued an online plea for season passholders to "model" appropriate distancing and mask-wearing behavior after numerous complaints of non-compliance at the southwestern Colorado mountain.
San Miguel County recently went "red," so Telluride has tightened similarly. At Routt County's Steamboat Resort, due to open Dec. 1, no indoor dining will happen, but alcoholic drinks may be bought to-go.
The regulations for the worst level, Level Purple, does not yet address winter resorts specifically.
Still, at lower Level Orange are the Aspen-Snowmass complex in Pitkin Country, Vail and Beaver Creek in Eagle County, and Ski Cooper in Lake County.
In New Mexico, the governor has locked down the state for the second time and, as a result, all ski and snowboard resorts are shuttered. Sipapu, Taos Ski Valley, and Ski Santa Fe were scheduled to be open for Thanksgiving. Nov. 30 is the date when conditions will be reconsidered.