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While many ski resorts across North America have already committed to closing for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, Purgatory Resort north of Durango has hope it might be able to reopen again in April.
If that does happen, it won’t be before April 6. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extended an executive order Wednesday night to shut down Colorado’s ski resorts through the first week of April in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has spread throughout many mountain communities where ski resorts are located and this is a necessary step to help slow the spread of the virus,” Polis said in a news release Wednesday.
Purgatory Resort, which had a planned closing date of April 12, said Thursday it would follow the executive order but made no announcement about closing for the season. Purgatory’s statement Thursday came as the resort was hit with a spring storm that brought roughly a foot of snow.
“We are core skiers and snowboarders at heart and remain hopeful there can be a few more days on the mountain before this season officially ends,” Purgatory’s general manager Dave Rathbun said in a news release. “Everyone at Purgatory wants to say ‘thank you’ to all of our local healthcare professionals for their long hours and dedication to keeping our community healthy and well-informed. Operations will remain suspended at Purgatory until we can consider reopening without exposing our staff or guests to COVID-19,”
Purgatory Resort said it is working with customers to credit, rebook or refund those with advance reservations from March 15 through April 12.
Along with lift access, uphill access also is still not allowed at Purgatory Resort at this time. That didn’t stop many who climbed and skied down Thursday as well as sledders who took to the tubing hill.
Purgatory’s end-of-season pond skim event is still scheduled for April 11.
“If the resort is closed we cannot hold this event,” Purgatory said in a post to Facebook. “At this time, we are still planning on holding the Pond Skim on April 11, but will update our website and this event page as necessary.”
The extended order likely means the end of the season for Wolf Creek Ski Area, which was scheduled to close for the season April 5. Telluride Ski Resort had already committed to closing for the season when the initial executive order was placed March 14, and it automatically issued refunds for lift tickets and ski school lessons that had been purchased in advance.
Along with Telluride, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Keystone, Loveland, Monarch, Sunlight and Vail have committed to not reopening this season. Breckenridge is closed indefinitely but could reopen, as it had not planned to close until late May.
Purgatory Resort is one of seven ski areas owned by Mountain Capital Partners. Earlier Thursday, Hesperus Ski Area west of Durango announced it was still offer uphill ski passes with no lift access or services. Those willing to ascend the mountain were permitted to ski with an uphill pass. Those passes may still be purchased for $25. Those participating in uphill skiing without a pass will be considered trespassing.
Brian Head Resort in southwest Utah closed for the season effective March 18. Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff is closed indefinitely as of March 17, including uphill access.