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Popular Lake Tahoe ski resorts close amid coronavirus concerns

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) — Ski resorts across the United States are closing down to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including major resorts in Lake Tahoe.

Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company announced Saturday that whey will shutter 49 of their popular North America resorts.

This includes the popular Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, and Squaw Valley.

Mammoth and Big Bear Mountain in California will also shut down.

The resorts will close starting Sunday. The closures will be reassessed on March 22.

Vail resorts outside of California include include Vail, Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado; Park City Mountain Resort in Utah; Stowe Mountain in Vermont; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.

Alterra’s other locations include Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Crystal Mountain in Washington; Stratton and Sugarbush in Vermont; and Deer Valley and Solitude in Utah.

The closures marked a sudden change of course after the majority of the country’s resorts vowed earlier Saturday to stay open during the crisis while taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Vail Resort CEO Rob Katz apologized in a news release for the short notice and especially to guests already at the resorts or planning to come this week. He acknowledged it may seem confusing considering earlier announcements.

“This decision provides a pause for the entire ecosystem of our mountain resort communities,” Katz said. “It gives everyone the time to assess the situation, respond to ever-changing developments, and evaluate the approach for the rest of season, if we believe it is advisable or feasible to re-open.”

Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory also apologized but called it a decision in the best interest of the guests.

Both companies promised to work with skiers who had tickets or plans to come.

They followed closures announced earlier by a trio of smaller resorts: Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, Jay Peak Resort in Vermont and Shanty Creek Resort in Michigan. Taos will close for the season starting March 22, while Jay Peak and Shanty are closing for the season starting this weekend.

The other resorts that remain open are closing enclosed gondolas or aerial trams while others are encouraging skiers to ride lifts with only people they know as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Nearly every resort is promising extra cleanings of public spaces, more hand sanitizer stations and vowing to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A few resorts, including

Still, some ski resorts are touting the popular winter activity as a relatively safe option for diversion as concerts, sporting events and museums close.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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