** Article updated 19 March 2020 ** Vail Resorts has suspended its 2019/2020 North American ski season, in addition to its lodging properties and transportation business due to the widening coronavirus outbreak.
CEO Rob Katz said Vail Resorts will consider reopening Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia in late April/early May, “dependent on the situation with COVID-19 as well as weather conditions”.
Katz added that the company was expecting to be fully operational for the North American summer period and the Australian ski season for all its businesses, subject to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Earlier coverage below.
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Ski resort operator Vail Resorts will shutter its US operations for eight days, effective Sunday 15 March, as it moves to offer assurances to guests and staff of its priority for their health, safety and well-being as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve.
Among its iconic US ski resorts are Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Park City in Utah, Heavenly and North Star in California/Nevada, as well as Whistler Blackcomb in Canada.
Guests and management teams currently at Vail Resorts’ properties will remain onsite, however new guest arrivals and reservations for the upcoming week will be knocked back.
In a letter, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz referred to the current global situation as an “incredibly challenging time”.
“With 37 resorts spread across 15 states and three countries, we – like the rest of the world – have been closely tracking every new development related to coronavirus (COVID-19) and have been in constant contact with local health officials for guidance,” Katz said.
Heeding the advice of local health officials, Katz said “we have made the difficult decision to suspend the operations of all our North American mountain resorts and retail stores beginning Sunday, 15 March, 2020 through Sunday, 22 March , 2020 and will use that time to reassess our approach for the rest of the season.”
Guess onsite in Colorado will still be able to utilise the Epic Mountain Express shuttle service. Vail Resorts’ corporate offices will close with only a skeleton staff remaining, as other employees are asked to work from home, where possible.
“All our scheduled employees, both seasonal and year-round, will be paid during this upcoming eight-day period, without needing to use any vacation or sick time. Their commitment to our company and guests during this uncertain time has been unwavering and I am personally grateful beyond words,” Katz said.
Katz continued: “This decision provides a pause for the entire ecosystem of our mountain resort communities. It gives everyone the time to assess the situation, respond to ever-changing developments, and evaluate the approach for the rest of season, if we believe it is advisable or feasible to re-open.”
The Vail Resorts boss said the fast-moving and constantly developing situation has been changing “by the day, if not by the hour”, and that the company was reacting “as quickly as we can”.
“These are unprecedented, challenging times for everyone. We will continue to navigate these unchartered waters with our guests, our employees and our communities remaining our highest priority. I am certain that there have been, and will be, moments where we will miss the mark and potentially disappoint. However, rest assured that we will continue to listen to your feedback – and continue to make the best decisions we can for everyone’s wellbeing,”
Rob Katz, CEO Vail Resorts
Information on cancellations, refunds and travel credits are available online here. A further update on the remainder of the season will be provided on Friday 20 March.
Lead image: Beaver Creek