Colorado's downhill skiing ban extended into late May

On Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis extended a statewide ban on downhill ski operations until May 23 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In the order, Polis said mountain towns need to conserve their limited health care resources as much as possible as the virus continues to spread.

“Mountain communities, where many of Colorado’s premier ski areas are located, have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak in the State,” the governor wrote in Thursday’s order. “Medical centers in these areas have limited ability to meet the needs of individuals with COVID-19. Further strain on their resources creates a risk that medical personnel in the area will be unable to provide needed care to residents and visitors to our mountain communities.”

RELATED: Gov. Jared Polis cuts immediate state spending by $228.7 million, limits evictions, extends ski closures

At least three Colorado ski areas had considered reopening should restrictions loosen: Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands and Wolf Creek Ski Area. But the extension is a blow to many spring skiing hopes.

Initially planned to end March 22, Polis has already extended the ski ban a few times.

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