Sun Valley will shut down mountain operations on Monday, March 16, after the coronavirus outbreak reached Blaine County on Saturday, the resort announced Sunday afternoon. The decision is a change of course for the resort, which as recently as Saturday expected to stay open through Easter.
Sunday's announcement follows a string of high profile closures. Vail Resorts suspended skiing at all North American resorts for a week on Saturday. Alterra Mountain Company, its largest competitor, did the same for its North American properties a few hours later. And Colorado's Gov. Jared Polis ordered all ski resorts in his state to cease spinning chairs on Saturday.
"After careful monitoring of the ever-evolving environment around COVID-19, and following guidance from local and national health organizations, Sun Valley and Snowbasin Resorts have decided to close for the remainder of the 2019-20 winter season," Sun Valley and Snowbasin Resort CEO Bruce Fery said a statement. "This decision has been made proactively for the safety and interest of our employees, guests, and communities."
The closures include all on-mountain amenities. In Sun Valley itself, the village will remain open, including restaurants. Lodging will continue to operate with "limited service," Fery said.
Lift tickets, rentals or lessons bought online for March 16 or later will be refunded automatically within 14 days, according to the company.
"We recognize that this decision will have a significant impact on our employees," Fery said. "They are truly the heart of our operations and the reason our resorts are such a valued part of our communities. We are working closely to accommodate their needs during this time of uncertainty and transition and will communicate and coordinate with employees over the coming days.
"We are very grateful to all our customers, guests, pass holders, business partners, local officials, health care providers and other stakeholders who are working through this difficult time with us and our communities. We look forward to moving beyond this situation and welcoming everyone back for many summer and winter seasons to come."
Two of Idaho's first five cases of coronavirus were confirmed to be in Blaine County on Saturday.