Loveland Ski Resort and Winter Park Resort in Colorado will both close uphill access with immediate effect. Both resorts had originally intended to allow uphill skiers, but serious overcrowding at both areas has resulted in permission being revoked.
“This is to help further support social distancing guidelines and conserve necessary medical resources for our small community,” Winter Park wrote on its Facebook page.
Loveland cited Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ executive order that prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. The order is through April 6th at least.
“Loveland Ski Area encourages guest use of public lands and supports uphill access throughout the ski season. To honor the intent and language of the executive order and other state direction on minimizing group size, as well as meeting the needs of local law enforcement and emergency service providers, Loveland Ski Area will prohibit uphill access,” Loveland Ski Area spokesman Dustin Schaefer said in a statement.
Other ski areas and resorts that have closed uphill access include Summit County resorts Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain.
Officials are concerned though that the closure of resorts will lead more people into the backcountry. While social distancing is an issue, the fact many unprepared and unexperienced people may venture into the backcountry without any knowledge or equipment is also a huge concern. Officials across the state have urged people to stay out of the backcountry while there is still avalanche danger and while the state’s ski areas are closed.