At least two Colorado ski areas are keeping their mountains prepared in case Gov. Jared Polis and local public health officials decide to allow them to reopen.
Arapahoe Basin, which had enough snow to offer skiing through June last year and offered a final day of skiing and riding on the Fourth of July, is hoping to get the lifts turning again if coronavirus restrictions are loosened.
“We do have plans to re-open if conditions allow,” said chief operating officer Alan Henceroth. “We are working closely with county and state officials to understand what those conditions would be. When our community feels that it makes sense to re-open Arapahoe Basin, we will be ready to re-open.”
The Aspen Skiing Company is keeping its options open, too. Aspen Mountain has offered Memorial Day weekend skiing four times in recent years, but this year the plan is to offer late-season skiing at neighboring Aspen Highlands if permitted.
“We’re doing everything we can to maintain the ability to ski at Highlands if all the pieces come together properly — state, county, forest service,” said Aspen spokesman Jeff Hanle. “If everybody says, ‘OK, if you can do this with social distancing and here are the rules,’ and snow conditions permit, we will do it. We’re keeping it available as an option.”
The reason Highlands would be used is because summer construction projects are set for Aspen Mountain and at Snowmass, so roads on those mountains are being plowed in preparation. On Aspen Mountain, the mountaintop Sundeck restaurant will be renovated. Snowmass is getting a new lift.
But roads are not being plowed at Highlands so that skiing can be offered if it is allowed.
“We’ve tried to embrace the philosophy of, ‘If we can ski, we are going to ski,’” Hanle said. “This is what that’s all about, and this is a special year. If everything works out, we think it will be great to give back to the community to be able to open up for a little more skiing.”
Aspen has continued to allow uphill skiing, even grooming trails for uphillers. Hanle said “quite a few” people are still taking advantage of that.
At Breckenridge, Memorial Day was the projected closing date until the coronavirus shut down the Colorado ski industry. Vail Resorts spokesman Ryan Huff was a bit more circumspect about the notion of reopening Breckenridge.
“We will continue to monitor public health guidelines around COVID-19, as well as weather conditions, in making our decision on late season skiing and riding,” Huff wrote in an email.
Huff had more to offer about Breckenridge’s on-mountain summer amenities, which include a mountain coaster, an alpine slide, mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides and mountaintop lunches.
“While we are hopeful to reopen our mountain operations this summer, it is too early to make a definitive announcement regarding specific opening dates and activities,” Huff said. “We are closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and will continue to follow the guidance of local, state and federal public health officials to determine when it is safe to resume operations.”
The Loveland ski area also has the elevation needed to offer late-season skiing, and it typically closes in May, but officials there have made a firm decision that it will not reopen.
This content was originally published here.