Ski areas forced to delay openings

A snowboarder catches air off a jump in 2019 at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort. Renewed state restrictions due to COVID means the ski area must delay its planned Nov. 20 opening. Morgan Timms / The Taos News

Ski areas around Taos County were hit with a major blow Friday (Nov. 13) when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reimposed COVID-19 restrictions that will inevitably close ski areas until Nov. 30. Several local resorts including Red River Ski Area and Taos Ski Valley, had scheduled opening days for Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), and Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort was set to open Nov. 20. The ski areas are now reevaluating their opening day plans.

With the recent spike in COVID cases causing the closure of all non-essential businesses, ski areas and basins fall into the restricted outdoor facilities category. Now, they are being forced to plan for what could be a large second wave of COVID, which at its worst could mean shutting down for the whole season.

Red River released a statement Friday (Nov. 13) stating that the ski area remains optimistic about the possibility of being able to reopen. In a statement to guests, staff and pass-holders, President and General Manager Linton Judycki said that “We understand the disappointment that this announcement brings. We remain optimistic that when the time is right we will be able to provide a ski and snowboard season adhering to COVID-safe practices.”

Sipapu, which has always been one of the first resorts to open in the area, said in a statement that they will not be opening until at least Dec. 1. “We appreciate your patience, flexibility, and grace as we navigate the curveballs of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement from the ski area said.

Taos Ski Valley said in a statement released Monday (Nov. 16) that they had anticipated a tough season ahead. “[We] anticipated irregularities in its operations this season due to COVID-related closures.” They also say they have “developed plans to be nimble and efficient in the face of uncertainty this year. We look forward to welcoming guests on the mountain soon, and we encourage everyone to stay safe and healthy at home right now.”

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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