Will there be a Colorado ski season?

Colorado is known for skiing, with world famous ski resorts and a long snowy ski season attracting skiers from all over the world. With COVID however, life is dramatically different, including skiing. How will Colorado be affected?

Last year’s ski season abruptly ended in mid- March as COVID was becoming a household word. Eagle County was an early hot spot for the virus. We happened to be in Vail for a few days when the unthinkable happened, all the Colorado mountains closed.

Skiing that Saturday, I asked several Vail employees if Vail could ever close. Distancing was already in effect with instructions to not share a chairlift with those not in your household, meaning I rode solo, even on the large 6-person lifts. The employees were adamant that Vail would never close.

So much for predictions. By late afternoon, Governor Polis issued an executive order closing all Colorado ski resorts due to rising COVID cases numbers in the mountains. We thought this might be a few weeks closure leaving April open for spring skiing.

We met a family who had just arrived from England, only to find Vail closed, ruining their long-awaited vacation. By the next day, Vail was a ghost town. Little did they know this was the new normal. Alas there was no spring skiing. The intrepid ones who skied the back country were chased away by police if they were not residents of the county where they were skiing. Restaurants and businesses no longer had customers.

Flashing forward to this season, winter is here with the usual snow in the mountains, despite prognostications from global warming doomsayers that we are facing the end of snow. Many new rules are in place, making skiing as challenging as so many other aspects of life today.