Vail Resorts informed the state this week that it has furloughed nearly 2,000 workers effective Monday at its various ski resorts, lodges and hotels, equipment rental stores and shuttle service.
The notices, 13 in total, were emailed to the Colorado Department of Labor under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, and follow earlier announcements by the company that it would let workers go in response to widespread closures related to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“We hope to end the furlough as soon as possible,” wrote Jenn McHose, a senior analyst in employee relations at Vail Resorts. “We expect that the furlough will end within six months, but we do not have a specific date.”
If workers are brought back in six months, the timing would line up with the start of the new ski season. But the furloughs leave the fate of the summer tourist season, which has grown in importance as a source of visits, up in the air.
Beaver Creek Resort had the largest number of temporary job reductions at 297, followed by Vail Mountain at 204, Keystone Resort at 147, and Breckenridge Ski Resort at 105.
Ski resorts across the state were initially excluded from orders banning large gatherings. Vail Resorts and Altera Mountain Co. announced on March 13 they would voluntarily shut down their Colorado resorts, and the governor ordered all ski resorts in Colorado closed a few days later.
Although hotels were allowed to remain open under the governor’s shelter-in-place order, many have shut down because of the lack of guests. Resort counties, which have been harder hit by the pandemic, have urged visitors to stay away so they can preserve their health care resources.
Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, which underwent a $25 million upgrade in 2018, furloughed 250 workers. The Lodge at Vail furloughed 89 people, Arrabelle at Vail Square let go of 82, Vail Beaver Creek Properties let go of 79.
Keystone Lodging furloughed 200 workers and the Keystone Conference Center in Dillon sidelined 75 workers.
Colorado Ski & Golf, which Vail Resorts also owns, furloughed 133 workers at its stores in Arvada, Aurora, Littleton, Lone Tree and Colorado Springs. Bicycle Village said it had furloughed 65 retail workers at stores in Aurora, Boulder and Littleton.
Colorado Mountain Express, a shuttle service owned by Vail Resorts, said it has furloughed 198 workers at locations in Edwards, Silverthorne, Glenwood Springs and Denver. Drivers, dispatchers, administrative and operations staff were impacted.
Vail Resorts, which is based in Broomfield, informed investors in March that the closure of its North American operations would cost $180 million to $200 million in lost profitability for its third quarter, which ends in April.
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