Limited operations, focus on health and safety
By Kendra Walker
The wait is over. Crested Butte Mountain Resort will open for summer operations starting this Friday, June 26 with a limited summer footprint focusing on mountain access and scenic lift rides.
According to CBMR senior communications specialist Will Shoemaker, the currently planned offerings will include scenic chairlift rides on the Silver Queen Express Lift; hiking including the Peak Trail; grab ‘n go food and drink service at Butte 66; and retail operations open at the Crested Butte Mountain Outfitters.
The Queen will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., an hour earlier from past summer schedules, in an effort to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. However, bike hauls will not be available and some trails will remain closed, specifically those that contain human-made features.
Trails that will be open include Happy Hour, West Side, Lower West Side, Up Up and Away, Columbine, Painter Boy, Primer, Prospector, Deer Park and Meander.
“While operations and activities are more limited compared to past years, our mountain can still be enjoyed through hiking and biking,” said Shoemaker. “Guests are free to ride some trails on the mountain this summer and should know that this is entirely at their own risk, and patrol services and bike hauls will not be available at this time… As always, we ask guests to observe all posted signs and closures.”
As for on-mountain events, “Many events the resort has hosted in the past or that were organized by third parties are no longer planned to occur this summer,” said Shoemaker. “Some of our events will not occur due to local public health regulations capping event sizes.”
Additionally, CBMR will not be offering its children’s summer camp programming this year.
“For our summer operations, we focused on a smaller footprint to best protect the safety of our employees, guests and community,” explained Shoemaker, but he noted that additional activities may open as summer progresses and restrictions ease.
Some of CBMR’s furloughed employees have returned to work in preparation for summer operations, said Shoemaker. “We do not have a definitive timeline as to when we will be able to return all of our furloughed employees back to work. To ensure we reopen safely, we cannot reopen all of our operations and businesses at once. For our furloughed employees, this means that not everyone will return to work at the same time.”
Vail Resorts is also implementing COVID-19 safety measures to prioritize the health and safety of employees and guests. “We are taking a company-wide approach to safety, with each resort enacting the COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan, which includes social distancing measures, enhanced cleaning protocols and revisions to regularly offered programs and services,” said Shoemaker. “Similar to the Skier Responsibility Code, we ask guests and employees to take on a new level of personal accountability to ensure the safety of our mountain communities.”
According to Vail’s announcement released last week, CBMR employees will be required to wear face coverings and undergo daily health screenings. Guests will also be required to wear face coverings in certain areas, including lines, when loading and unloading chairlifts and while in indoor resort facilities. Guests are encouraged to bring their own facemasks but masks will be available upon request. Lift capacity will also be reduced to allow for physical distancing and Plexiglas barriers have been installed in areas for points of purchase. Hand sanitizing stations will be provided and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day.
Guests are encouraged to visit the CBMR website to familiarize themselves with the resort’s safety measures and expectations. “Summer is a special time in the mountains and we’re excited to welcome guests back to the outdoors to refresh and recharge in the crisp mountain air,” said Shoemaker. “We’re fortunate that our beautiful and wide-open outdoor settings provide a landscape to experience nature and practice physical distancing so that our guests can return to the activities they love. We have reimagined the resort experience to further prioritize the health and safety of our employees and guests.”