“This has no doubt been an incredibly challenging time,” Vail Resort's CEO said.

By Alison Fox
Updated March 16, 2020
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Many of the most popular ski resorts throughout the country have shut their slopes as effects from the coronavirus pandemic continue to affect a wide range of industries.

As part of the response, Vail Resorts closed its 37 ski resorts through at least March 22, according to a letter from CEO Rob Katz provided to Travel + Leisure over the weekend. The company includes resorts like Park City, Breckenridge, Stowe, and Whistler Blackcomb, and offers the very popular Epic Pass.

“This has no doubt been an incredibly challenging time,” Katz said, adding the resort will “reassess our approach for the rest of the season.”

He explained that all employees who were scheduled to work at Vail’s resorts (spread over 15 states and three countries) will be paid during the planned closure.  Services, including lift tickets and equipment rentals, will be fully refunded, according to the company.

(See Katz's letter in full here.)

Several other privately operated ski slopes as well as the Alterra Mountain Company — which has 15 ski resorts in North America — also committed to shutting down in the face of the spreading virus.

The Alterra Mountain Company (creator of the Ikon Pass) told T+L in a statement they closed their resorts, which include Steamboat, Big Bear Mountain Resort, and Deer Valley Resort, on March 15 “until further notice.” The resort said each location will “work directly with guests” to provide refunds for hotel or other bookings while the resorts are closed.

Rusty Gregory, the company’s CEO, said the decision to close was made, “After careful thought and deliberation of our duty in the face of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, and in what I believe is in the best interest of our guests, employees and local communities.”

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The closures come as the virus topped more than 3,700 confirmed cases in the U.S. on Monday morning, including 69 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Individually operated resorts also shut their slopes down in these uncertain times. Windham Mountain in New York shut down for the season on Monday, adding in a statement: “With a mixture of gratitude, resolve and concern for the health and welfare of our employees and guests… we feel that this is the right thing to do.”

Similarly, Sugar Bowl Resort in California said in a statement it closed its slopes “until further notice,” but still hopes to reopen before the end of the season.

“We will get through this together,” the resort noted.

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