Red Lodge Mountain’s general manager has announced he won’t reopen the ski area, which closed March 16 as a precaution during the new coronavirus outbreak.
The ski area initially suspended operations for a week with the hope that it could reopen at a later date.
“We care immensely for our employees, customers and local communities, which made this the toughest decision I have been involved in during my time at Red Lodge Mountain,” said Jeff Schmidt, general manager, in an email.
Schmidt did dangle some hope that the mountain could reopen if “health recommendations dramatically improve and we receive one of our famed late spring/early summer snowstorms, conditions permitting.”
The hill is typically open until mid-April, when it can receive some of its largest snow storms. After consulting with state and local health officials Schmidt made the call to close Red Lodge Mountain for the remainder of the 2019-20 winter season.
“This decision has weighed heavily on our hearts, however, we feel strongly about doing our part in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” the email said.
The note goes on to “sincerely apologize” to ski area customers who were looking forward to skiing Red Lodge Mountain.
To help out customers who had pre-purchased tickets the mountain has relaxed its cancellation and refund policy for date-specific lift tickets.
“We will review policies on other products and reach out to those customers in the coming weeks,” according to the email. “Please note, we anticipate a high call volume over the next few days and appreciate your patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries. In the meantime, customers are encouraged to visit our website for updated information and answers to frequently asked questions.”
Other ski areas in Montana also chose to close earlier this week, including Bridger Bowl near Bozeman; Whitefish Mountain Resort in the Flathead Valley; and Big Sky Resort. Showdown Ski Area closed for the season on Friday.
Discovery Ski Area near Anaconda and Snowbowl in Missoula are remaining open until April 5.