CBMR plans still up in the air

Lodging reservations starting June 1

By Kendra Walker

While local businesses and organizations have started to open back up or prep for opening in line with county public health orders, Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s specific plans remain a mystery, and it’s uncertain what to expect with mountain operations this spring and summer.

“What’s CBMR doing?” has been a common question in many recent county industry subgroup Zoom meetings, as various tourism-driven businesses attempt to plan for a potential county reopening this summer.

“Just as we closed in March to protect the well-being of our guests, employees and our communities, we will not open or return employees to their normal work locations until we are confident it’s safe to do so,” said CBMR senior communications specialist Will Shoemaker. “We will continue to work closely with government and health officials at the county, state and federal levels to determine when it is safe to resume operations.”

Shoemaker was unable to share specifics surrounding any plans for spring maintenance on the mountain, but said the mountain remains closed to hiking, biking and uphill skiing until further notice. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in adhering to posted closures,” he said.

Shoemaker said, “While we are hopeful to reopen our mountain operations this summer, it is too early to make a definitive announcement regarding specific opening dates and activities… We also recognize that even when we can open safely with new protocols, it will likely be with more limited visitation levels.”

In a May 19 report to Mt. Crested Butte town council, mayor Janet Farmer shared an update from Tim Baker from a recent Mayor/Manager meeting. “[CBMR/Vail Resorts] are working on a whole new set of policies and procedures for how to function in the new normal,” she wrote. “Because of the uncertainty around summer, their focus is on next winter.”

While CBMR’s summer plans remain vague, Shoemaker said that lodging properties at Vail’s North American resorts are currently accepting reservations for arrival dates of June 1 and beyond, in line with Gunnison County’s tentative reopening plan to phase in visitors.

In March, CBMR donated most of the remaining perishable food from the resort to the Gunnison Country Food Pantry to help serve folks in need. Additionally, Vail Resorts’ CEO Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, donated $50,000 to the Community Foundation of Gunnison Valley’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, to support non-profits providing critical services to the community. This was part of Katz’ $1.5 million total donation toward emergency relief grants across all of Vail’s resort communities. Katz donated an additional $1 million to create a new fund within Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise Employee Foundation, which will help employees with medical and unpredictable setbacks.

Due to the early mountain closures in response to the pandemic, Vail Resorts began sending credits last week to 2019/20 pass holders to apply toward the purchase of a 2020/21 season pass. Credits range in value based on how frequently a pass was used this season, starting at 20 percent up to 80 percent for those who did not have a chance to use their pass at all. Credits will be valid toward a 2020/21 pass purchase through September 7, 2020.

Vail is also launching a free Epic Coverage program that will replace the need for pass holders to purchase pass insurance. The pass insurance provides a refund in the case of an eligible injury, job loss or other personal events that prevent the use of the pass, as well as a refund for certain resort closures, including for events like COVID-19.

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