The owner of Wolf Creek Ski Area in Colorado wants to reopen this weekend but will need approval from Gov. Jared Polis on a variance from an executive order limiting travel for recreation to 10 miles in the state.
The Colorado Sun reports Davey Pitcher’s plan for a limited reopening of Wolf Creek this weekend won unanimous approval from boards of county commissioners in Archuleta, Rio Grande and Mineral counties. He got the go ahead from the Silver Thread Health Department, local hospitals and ambulance services. The Forest Service gave him the thumbs up. He even surveyed 300+ season passholders and all but two supported the plan.
Gov. Jared Polis’ strict stay-at-home order expires Thursday and Pitcher is ready to reopen Friday, but would limit the number of skiers to a tenth of the resort’s capacity. The major hangup is the remote nature of the Southern Colorado ski resort and the 10 mile travel limit for recreation which will still be in effect. Essentially everyone who comes to the ski area atop Wolf Creek Pass between South Fork and Pagosa Springs must travel more than 10 miles. Pitcher had this to say about his frustration with the travel limit:
“I’m fed up man. I’m disappointed there is no empathy, there is no consistency in this stay-at-home order. Contractors are busy building houses. Police are busy writing tickets. All the stores are open. No one here is wearing masks. I mean Jiminy Christmas, the local hardware story has a popcorn machine that everyone is reaching into.”
So far Pitcher has been in complete compliance with the governor’s orders and shut down his ski area on March 15th after receiving notice from Polis’s office. He is currently waiting to hear back about his request which he was told would take three days:
“We’ve done our due diligence. It’s a good plan that everyone has agreed to. I developed a plan that we all thought would be the gold standard, showing the governor that it’s not about profit but just about getting people outside doing what they love in Colorado. The governor said last week he would turn over decision-making to counties and everyone here was really excited about that.
I don’t think a variance for a waiver should take three days to review. It should take a five-minute phone call. And still we have to go through these bureaucratic hoops. Today, it just feels intentional. It feels like the state health department is intentionally dragging its heels, trying to make it so we can’t ski this weekend.”
Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.
WOLF CREEK’S PANDEMIC REOPENING PLAN
-No more than 500 passholders.
-Day tickets are capped at 120.
-All skiers need to make online reservations 24-hours in advance to secure their spot on the hill.
-Parking and lift lines are spaced to prevent crowding.
-Masks are mandatory.
-Lift lines would be spaced.
-No food service.
-Decks are closed.
-No shuttle buses.
-Bathrooms cleaned every hour with using 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water solution.
-Guarantee to shut down if health officials in nearby Mineral, Archuleta and Rio Grande counties have any concerns or see an uptick in COVID-19 cases.