People flocked to Purgatory Resort for its opening day Saturday ready to hit the slopes after a longer-than-average off-season.
The resort had to cut its 2019-20 season short because of the coronavirus pandemic. During the off-season, Colorado wrestled with how to reopen resorts this season during the ongoing pandemic.
With sanitation practices, social distancing and face coverings at the ready, the first day launched without a hitch.
“We don’t talk in terms of specific numbers, but it is right where we predicted we would be for opening day,” said Dave Rathbun, general manager, adding the numbers are proprietary information. “Everything is going pretty much to plan.”
Saturday, people enjoyed spring conditions with warm temperatures, overcast skies with some glimpses of the sun.
The lines are larger than Rathbun expected, he said. People spread out to maintain social distancing, and the Purgatory Express lift was running at 50% capacity, with three instead of six people per chair. Once more lifts open, people will spread out among them, he said.
“We’re excited to be sliding on snow again,” Rathbun said. “It was an abrupt end to last season. Just to be able to have people out enjoying the snow and being outdoors is pretty spectacular from where we sit.”
He emphasized that the best way to enjoy the snow this season was to follow the public health guidelines meant to reduce spread of the coronavirus.
“If we want to protect having this experience, we just have to follow the rules,” Rathbun said. “It’s going really well, and if we can keep it up, we’ll have a long and safe season.”