Masks in tow, visitors flock to ski areas for summer opening day
BRECKENRIDGE — After driving thousands of miles from Jupiter, Florida, Korrina Sullivan and her family of five finally made it to Breckenridge Ski Resort Saturday, July 4, just in time for its opening day.
“I think it’s a real gift to be able to get out and celebrate the Fourth and fresh air and sunshine with people that we love,” Sullivan said.
The Sullivans were among hundreds of people who visited Breckenridge, Copper Mountain Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to celebrate Independence Day. Breckenridge and Copper opened for summer activities Saturday, while A-Basin opened on Thursday, July 2.
Each of the resorts had restrictions in place in an effort to create the safest atmosphere possible and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Steve Disch and his family decided to drive from Golden to A-Basin Saturday to enjoy the weather and get in some rounds of disc golf.
“It’s awesome. We really love that we live in Colorado, still being able to distance and be outdoors,” he said.
Disch was joined by his wife, Meghan, 9-year-old son Matthew and his 6-year-old daughter Emma. Matthew was especially excited to try disc golf for the first time.
“(I’m excited about) frisbee golf because it’s my first time,” Matthew said. “Hopefully, we’re going to ski here next summer.”
A-Basin opened its doors on Thursday, nearly a month after it closed its spring skiing season. Summer visitors are able to enjoy hiking and biking trails, disc golf, scenic chairlift rides and lunch at the area’s restaurants.
A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth said the opening weekend went well with a good turnout.
“A lot of people have been walking and hiking, I’ve seen quite a few bikes heading up the hill,” he said. “A lot of people are playing disc golf.”
While disc golf and trails are always open and free, the lift rides and 6th Alley Bar & Grill will only be open Thursdays through Saturdays. The resort’s other restaurant, Black Mountain Lodge, will be open on Saturdays and Sundays.
A-Basin pass holders are able to access any of the activities except for the restaurant meals for free. For those who don’t have a pass, lift tickets can be purchased online for $10. The resort also offers a $25 lift and lunch deal with a $20 voucher for lunch.
The resort also plans to open its Aerial Adventure park in mid-July, though it hasn’t decided on an official date yet.
To prevent the spread of the virus, A-Basin is requiring that people have a face covering at all times and physically distance themselves as much as possible.
The Sullivan family took advantage of Breckenridge’s scenic gondola ride and lunch options Saturday before heading back down for a day of mountain biking.
Sullivan said she was happy with the resort’s safety precautions in regards to the pandemic.
“In the midst of a pandemic, it’s important to be careful and wise and to practice social responsibility to wear our masks to do our right thing and care for those around us,” she said. “We’re doing that but we also want to celebrate and get out and enjoy everything the area has to offer.”
Breckenridge opened limited summer activities Saturday. The resort had visitors lining up to go on scenic chair lift rides, the Gold Runner Coaster, alpine slides, the resort’s gondola and hiking trails.
Vail Resorts spokeswoman Sara Lococo said the company is taking reopening slow with signage informing visitors of virus precautions peppered throughout the base area.
“It’s gone well so far, there’s definitely enthusiasm and demand to get outside and get outdoors,” she said. “Pretty much everyone is wearing masks which is awesome. So far, so good.”
The resort had bottles of hand sanitizer stationed throughout the area along with signs encouraging people to social distance, wear face coverings and wash their hands frequently.
The resort’s bike park is not open because it isn’t conducive to social distancing.
“(We’re) really trying to start small,” Lococo said. “There’s a lot of new procedures in place to try and prioritize safety. We wanted to keep a smaller footprint to start with.”
Lococo said the resort will continue to evaluate how the activities are going as the summer progresses.
Epic Pass holders can access the lift rides for free and will have discounts for food and lodging.
Julie Pollack and Meghan Talotta made the trip from Denver to Copper on Saturday to enjoy the lift rides and go on a few hikes.
“We wanted to do something that was socially distant and also fun,” Pollack said.
Pollack and Talotta said it felt good to get fresh air and get a way from the city during the busy holiday weekend. The two said they are appreciative of the precautions in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Copper opened its chairlifts, the Rocky Mountain Coaster and food and beverage outlets on Saturday for visitors to enjoy.
Along with the other resorts, signs were placed throughout the base area with social distancing guidelines. The signs encouraged visitors to keep their distance, wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, avoid hand-shaking and high fiving, stay home if they are sick and sneeze and cough into tissues, elbows and sleeves instead of their hands.
Copper offers its activities for either individual day passes at $29 or family day passes at $99, both of which can be purchased at the resort’s website.