Month: January 2021

 

IKON PASS ADDS ARAPAHOE BASIN IN COLORADO FOR 2019/20

DENVER, CO, August 2, 2019 – The Ikon Pass community continues to grow with the addition of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado. Now Ikon Pass holders have access to snow at 40 global destinations, including six in Colorado.

A-Basin is located just 68 miles from Denver and boasts the longest season in Colorado, many seasons running through the 4th of July. Affectionately known as “The Legend,” A-Basin sits on the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains and offers a high-alpine, big-mountain
experience, paired with a laid-back atmosphere. Its 1,428 acres of iconic terrain includes the East Wall and Montezuma Bowl, plus The Beavers and The Steep Gullies, some of North America’s newest terrain. The Beach, a stretch of prime real estate near the lower-mountain chairlifts, transforms into a Colorado après tradition.

Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to A-Basin on the Ikon Pass with no blackout dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, with selected blackout dates.

“Arapahoe Basin is a beloved brand among skiers and riders and we are proud that the destination has joined the Ikon Pass community,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer of Alterra Mountain Company. “We can feel winter around the corner as we offer skiers and riders another iconic reason to hit the slopes in Colorado.”

“Arapahoe Basin is thrilled to partner with the Ikon Pass and join its community of like-minded mountain destinations. A-Basin is a bold, aspirational mountain with legendary character that invites skiers and riders to find adventure at every turn, an ideal fit for the Ikon Pass,” said Alan Henceroth, Chief Operating Officer, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

The Ikon Pass unlocks adventure with access to 40 iconic winter destinations across the Americas, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and is a collaboration of industry leaders – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain
Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Taos Ski Valley, Sugarbush Resort, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski. Each demonstrates integrity, character and independence that is reflected in their mountains and guests.

Leigh Hierholzer, Director of Marketing & Communications. LeighH@a-basin.net, 970-513-5767
Katherine Fuller, Communications Manager, KatherineF@a-basin.net, 970-513-5747

About Ikon Pass
The Ikon Pass is the new standard in season passes, connecting the most iconic mountains across North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Chile, delivering authentic, memorable snow adventures. Brought to you by Alterra Mountain Company, the Ikon Pass unlocks access to a community of diverse destinations to ski and ride, including Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Big Sky Mountain Resort in Montana; Stratton, Killington and Sugarbush Resort in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada; SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada; Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird in Utah; Thredbo and Mt Buller in Australia; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt in New Zealand; Niseko United in Japan, and Valle Nevado in Chile. Special offers are available at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-accessed hiking operation. For more information on the Ikon Pass, visit www.ikonpass.com.

About Alterra Mountain Company
Alterra Mountain Company is a family of 14 iconic year-round destinations, including the world’s largest heli-ski operation, offering the Ikon Pass, the new standard in season passes. The company owns and operates a range of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage, retail and service businesses. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, with destinations across the continent, Alterra Mountain Company is rooted in the spirit of the mountains and united by a passion for outdoor adventure. Alterra Mountain Company’s family of diverse playgrounds spans six U.S. states and three Canadian provinces: Steamboat and Winter Park Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Stratton in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario; Crystal Mountain in Washington; Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia. Also included in the portfolio is Alpine Aerotech, a worldwide helicopter support and maintenance service center in British Columbia, Canada. Alterra Mountain Company honors each destination’s unique character and authenticity and celebrates the legendary adventures and enduring memories they bring to everyone. For more information, please visit www.alterramtnco.com.

About Arapahoe Basin
Founded in 1946, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area hosts the longest ski and ride season in Colorado, and one of the longest in the world. Located high on the Continental Divide, A-Basin is known for its legendary terrain and breathtaking views. It’s also an authentic Colorado ski experience with a laid-back culture and vibe.
Experience unique events, some of Colorado’s most adventurous terrain and gourmet culinary experiences throughout the season. Visit www.arapahoebasin.com for more information about the mountain.

Ski your way to bargains: Finding affordable vacations across the country.

If you’re one of those skiers who pledged to give up the sport once lift tickets topped $40 a day, you probably haven’t skied in many years.

Yet there are some money-saving deals to be had that can make a ski vacation surprisingly affordable.

While Colorado offers some of the best skiing in the U.S., it’s also typically the most costly. Instead, consider Utah or Lake Tahoe, which offer incredible skiing and snowboarding at dozens of different resorts. Not only are the conditions equivalent to Colorado, but the prices are lower and the crowds are much smaller.

Outdoor recreation accounted for 3.1% of Colorado’s economy last year

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy made up 3.1% of the state’s total economy last year, according to data released by the federal government.

Outdoor recreation contributed $12.2 billion in total to the state’s economy and employed 149,140 people in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which released the data this week.

Colorado’s largest conventional activity was snow sports, like skiing and snowboarding, which contributed $1.7 billion, while other outdoor recreation activities contributed almost $1.75 billion.

Colorado is one of 11 states where outdoor recreation made up 3.1% or more of a state’s economy. The states where outdoor recreation added the highest percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) include Hawaii (5.8%), Vermont (5.2%), Montana (4.7%), Florida (4.4%), Wyoming (4.2%), and Maine (4.2%).

Nationally, outdoor recreation made up 2.1% of the country’s GDP in 2019, contributing $459.8 billion, according to the BEA.

The Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) said the industry plays a key role in the country’s economic recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“The industry is a vital component of national, state and local economies, as well as an important catalyst to America’s economic recovery,” OIA Executive Director Lise Aangeenbrug said in a statement.

OIA said it anticipates the industry’s figures will increase in 2020, “given the rise in outdoor participation during COVID-19.”

Activities on federal lands in Colorado contributed $7.4 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) and supported over 62,400 jobs last year, according to data released last month by the U.S. Department of Interior, which manages over 9 million acres of federal land in the state.

Those activities include energy and mineral development, which contributed $5.5 billion in added value, and recreation, which added $1.2 billion to GDP.

This article was originally published on Outdoor recreation accounted for 3.1% of Colorado’s economy last year

Ski Resorts Work to Stay Open as COVID Cases Snowball

TELLURIDE, Colo. — The day after Thanksgiving, Dr. Jana Eller and Dr. Shiraz Naqvi were seated beside an outdoor fire pit at the base of Telluride Ski Resort, taking a short break from skiing.

The two physicians from Houston had driven more than 18 hours to get here for the holiday weekend, and they were staying (and preparing meals) in a rented home. They traveled with another couple and their kids, colleagues they’ve been “bubbling” with in Houston.

“We got a COVID test prior to leaving and will get another when we return,” Naqvi said.

The skiing itself doesn’t feel much different during the pandemic, Eller said, but “the après ski scene is just gone.”

In March, at the beginning of the pandemic, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order requiring the state’s ski resorts to close in response to COVID-19, which had hit the state’s ski towns early and hard. Now, as the resorts enter their busy season, the state has taken pains to avoid blanket closures even though cases of COVID-19 are reaching their highest levels yet.

How to stay open amid the pandemic is an issue resorts across the U.S. are facing. Mandatory face coverings have become the norm, but other COVID mitigation efforts vary by site. Vermont resorts ask skiers to certify their compliance with rules governing interstate travel during the pandemic when buying a lift ticket, and in Colorado’s Pitkin County (home to Aspen), visitors will be required to confirm they’ve had a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of travel or pledge to quarantine for 14 days after arrival or until they obtain a negative test result.

Telluride is an internationally renowned destination trying to operate safely while protecting the 8,000 or so permanent residents in the area. Located in a remote southwestern part of Colorado, its economy depends on tourism, and the resort posts as many as 6,500 visitors on its busiest days.

On Nov. 25, with its COVID case numbers skyrocketing and its positivity rate hitting 4.6%, San Miguel County, which includes Telluride, closed its bars and restricted its restaurants to takeout and outdoor dining only. Signs posted throughout the resort remind visitors of the “five commitments of containment” — wear a mask, maintain 6 feet of physical distance, minimize group size, wash hands frequently and, when you feel sick, stay home and get tested.

How bad would things have to get to close the resort? That’s hard to gauge, said Grace Franklin, public health director for the county. People are going to do what they will regardless, she said.

“If we shut down the ski resort, how many people will take to the backcountry and get injured or trigger avalanches where the impact is greater? It’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation,” Franklin said.

Instead, Franklin said, the question becomes “How do we create safer, engineered events so people have an outlet, but we minimize as much risk as possible?”

Skiing itself poses relatively little risk, said Kate Langwig, an epidemiologist at Virginia Tech. “You’re outside with a lot of airflow, you’ve got something strapped to your feet so you’re not in super close contact with other people, and most of the time you’re riding the lift with people in your group.”

Gathering in the lodge or bar is by far the biggest COVID risk associated with skiing, said Langwig, who grew up skiing in northern New York. “In my family, one of the things you do after a day of skiing is connect with friends and have a beer in the lodge,” and it’s this social aspect of skiing that’s too risky right now, she said.

In an effort to discourage tourists and residents from congregating, local governments, medical facilities and the ski resort released a co-signed letter in November urging people to cancel any plans to gather with those outside their immediate household and celebrate the holidays solely with people from their own household. Keeping the resort open will require everybody to do their part, said Lindsey Mills, COVID public information consultant for San Miguel County.

“We are not telling anybody not to come, at least not yet,” said Todd Brown, Telluride’s mayor pro tem. But local officials are broadcasting a strong message to everyone in the area — “Chill out. Don’t have the big party with five families.”

Officials aren’t worried only about coronavirus transmission; they’re also concerned about overtaxing their medical facilities. San Miguel County has an urgent care center but no hospital, and its medical center experienced a 22% staffing shortage at the end of November, mostly because so many employees are in quarantine. Hospitals in nearby Mesa County reached their ICU capacity last month, and other hospitals in the region are also pinched.

“We can’t have a situation where people break their legs on the slopes and we can’t get them care,” said Franklin.

The resort has taken steps to facilitate physical distancing among visitors. Reservations aren’t required at Telluride, but lift tickets must be purchased in advance, and the resort can restrict ticket sales if necessary, said Jeff Proteau, vice president of operations and planning at the Telluride Ski Resort. Gondolas are operating with the windows open and each load is restricted to members of the same household.

To reduce contact in and around the lifts, workers have created “ghost lines” of empty space to ensure a 6-foot distance between groups while they wait in lift lines. People from the same household can stand in line together and ride the two- to four-person lifts next to one another, Proteau said, but when riding a lift with someone from another household, guests are asked to leave a vacant seat between them.

Langwig was a children’s ski instructor for many years and worries about ski school. “You interact pretty closely with the kids,” she said, noting that runny noses are common. “You spend a lot of time getting kids bundled up and to and from the bathroom.” This could be especially challenging if indoor spaces are closed, she said. “Hot chocolate breaks are one of the ways you get kids through the day, and that’s not safe anymore.”

In anticipation of visitors needing to take breaks to warm up, the resort has installed six temporary structures around the mountain with insulated ceilings and heated panels. When the sides are rolled up, they’re considered outdoor spaces, Proteau said, but they can be closed into confined spaces with limited occupancy as needed, especially on a blustery day.

The risk for most employees on the mountain should be relatively minimal, Langwig said, at least at work. “Lift attendants are outside wearing thick gloves and a mask most of the time. Compared to someone who works in a restaurant, their risk is pretty low.”

Employees are generally assigned to work in small groups that can be quarantined, if necessary, without wiping out a whole department, Proteau said. There’s also contact tracing in place for resort employees.

Arizona native Joey Rague moved to Telluride last year and works as a ski valet on the mountain. He said there’s a huge incentive among employees to keep the resort open. With affordable housing sparse in Telluride, “all of us are struggling seasonally to be able to pay rent.”

So far, he said, most visitors have been respectful and conscientious of the rules.

“It seems as though people understand that if we want to stay open, we have to come together,” he said.

This article was originally published on Ski Resorts Work to Stay Open as COVID Cases Snowball