Despite forecasts of an Arctic blast bringing single-digit high temperatures and dangerous wind-chill conditions to northern Colorado ski resorts on Thursday, it seems unlikely that any will close due to the cold.
Ski areas sometimes suspend operations when high winds create dangerous conditions for lift operations, especially on the upper reaches of their mountains, but not for cold.
“I’ve been here for 25 years,” said Jeff Hanle, a spokesman for Aspen Snowmass. “To my knowledge, and our VP of mountain operations, we’ve never shut down anything because of cold. We provide extra hand warmers for employees. We encourage them to take more breaks. We send a lift supervisor around to give people time to go inside and warm up.”
High temperatures on Thursday for Aspen, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass are expected to be from 9 to 11 degrees. Twelve northern Colorado ski areas are predicted to have single-digit high temperatures and many can expect high winds as well.
At Loveland, Thursday’s high is forecast to be 2 degrees.
“We will do everything we can to keep our guests safe and the lifts turning,” said spokesman John Sellers. “There have been times when we have closed some of our upper lifts because of cold temperatures, but I am not aware of any full ski area closures at Loveland strictly due to low temperatures. We are not planning on any closures at this time, but we will continue to monitor the weather and adjust our operations as necessary.”
At Copper Mountain, where Thursday’s high is forecast to be 6 degrees, spokeswoman Loryn Roberson said cold temperatures in the past have led to the closure of some lifts high on the mountain but not a shutdown of the entire resort.
“The possibility of closing the resort entirely is really going to be dependent on what we’re actually faced with in the days ahead,” Roberson said. “We are working with our Risk and Safety Manager to communicate the appropriate safety messages and procedures so that we can prepare our employees and guests, and keep everyone safe.”
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