Major Tahoe-area ski resorts joining widespread closures over coronavirus

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Four of the largest ski resorts in Northern California announced Saturday they’re shutting down in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The Tahoe area resorts — Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood — will be closed for a week starting Sunday, its owner Vail Resorts Inc. announced Saturday.

Separately, Alterra Mountain Co. said it is suspending operations at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, another major Tahoe resort, as well as Big Bear, Mammoth Mountain and other resorts it owns around the country. The closure begins Sunday morning and will last “until further notice,” the company said.

In a letter to skiers, Vail’s Chief Executive Rob Katz said the company will use the week’s closure “to reassess our approach for the rest of the season.”

The decision affects Vail’s other resorts in North America, including those in Colorado, Utah and British Columbia.

The ski industry becomes the latest entertainment sector to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the cruise industry, the performing arts and professional sports.

“This decision provides a pause for the entire ecosystem of our mountain resort communities,” Katz said. “It gives everyone the time to assess the situation, respond to ever-changing developments, and evaluate the approach for the rest of season, if we believe it is advisable or feasible to re-open. This was not an easy decision to make, as we deeply considered the impact it will have on our guests, employees, and the people and businesses in our communities.”

He said customers will receive refunds. That will include those who purchased lift tickets for dates after the resorts are tentatively scheduled to reopen.

As for Lake Tahoe resorts with lodging, such as Northstar, Katz said guests “can remain at the hotel through the end of your reservation.”

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