Telluride: Resort, Govts, Med Center, Tourism – Urgent, Unified Message

Telluride: Resort, Govts, Med Center, Tourism – Urgent, Unified Message

With RED lights flashing in our rear view mirror, the ALL CAPs message from the unified front of the Telluride Ski Resort, downtown and uptown governments, Telluride Tourism Board  and Dr,Sharon Grundy of the Telluride Medical Center is the same: TO SAVE TELLURIDE’S WINTER (read SKI SEASON – AND LIVES), RETHINK THANKSGIVING and ALL INDOOR GATHERINGS.

From Chuck Horning, Owner/CEO, Telski: 

“We will lose our ski season” is the message the owners of Telluride Ski Resort would like to impress on the community.

The Horning family is appealing to the community to make immediate changes to behavior because the ski resort is at risk of being shut down, most likely prior to the Christmas holiday week.

“To save the ski season, we must all immediately limit Thanksgiving and future indoor gatherings to only members of our immediate households,” advised Chad Horning.

This means not having a traditional holiday with anyone who does not live full time in the household, not having relatives over and even students who are coming home from college.

Additionally, all winter indoor events and gatherings of unrelated people, including weddings must be cancelled.

“Telluride Ski Resort has cancelled all of our weddings scheduled to take place over the next three months,” added Horning. “This was a very difficult decision, but one we feel protects the safety of our guests and our employees.”

It has been determined that one of the primary causes of COVID-19 transmission is activities among friends and family in home settings. Indoor events of unrelated people, such as weddings and church services are also “super spreaders” for COVID-19.

There is also a dangerous shortage of hospital beds in Montrose and Grand Junction. If this crisiss persists, the Telluride medical community will not be able to service critical care needs of residents and our skiers because there will be no place to transport.

“Please do this immediately, so that we may save our ski season. A successful winter is so important to all of our livelihoods,” added Horning.

From Dr. Sharon Grundy, Telluride Medical Center & Public Health:

My plan was simple: Keep Thanksgiving dinner to under 10 people and within two households, just as the state public health order dictates.

Our bubble after all is a tightly knit one, consisting of two families each with only three members. Every one of us takes great care to social distance, wear a mask, practice good hygiene, etcetera.

And then came 2 a.m. on Sunday. I woke up with total resolve to cancel our plan.

My sleeping mind woke me to the truth I had been denying: Having even a small gathering to share a meal indoors is dangerous. Not only for the health of my family and your family — but also for the economy of our community.

Sacrifices are likewise required for the sake of our ski season.

Just this morning, the Telluride Ski Resort issued a plea to the community to make immediate changes to behavior.

Chad Horning went so far as to say: “To save the ski season, we must all immediately limit Thanksgiving and future indoor gatherings to only members of our immediate households.” 

So yes, even my own holiday plan needed a serious edit.

And not only because in both of our neat families of three, there is a child — which means our bubbles are bigger than we can really even know. (Read: The Contacts of our Contacts, which begins with a powerful quote from Governor Polis.)

But also because I know very well — kids or not — this virus is everywhere people are, it is everywhere we gather.

As I write this, there have been a total of 177 local cases and seven hospitalizations. In fact, 1 in 25 locals, who we know have had this virus, were hospitalized. And thankfully recovered.

The recent spat of cases in the country stems from Halloween — and a general resistance to appreciate the increased risk of infection that comes along with cold, dry air and indoor environments. What we’re seeing here is that most of our recent cases could have been avoided, if the Five Commitments had been observed.

The Five Commitments: Wear a mask; Maintain six feet of physical distance; Minimize group size; Wash hands frequently; Stay home when sick and get tested.

But the reality is this: Telluride’s risk of COVID-19 changed dramatically in the past three weeks.

And just like you, I don’t want my family to contribute to the increasing numbers.

And like everyone, I want the ski area to open safely (for my own mental health, I desperately need to feel the snow under my skis) and for our local businesses to sustain, if not thrive, through the winter.

The pandemic we’ve been preparing for, talking about, and bracing for since March (when we thought we were showing up for a 5K), is here now and will most certainly be here for the 90+ days ahead.

Turns out we’re in for an Ironman Triathlon. And we must get to that finish line.

To do so, we must double-down to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have to acknowledge that none of us can count ourselves an exception to the rules we expect others to follow. We all must make personal sacrifices.

Without dramatic changes, the next three weeks will bring an exponentially greater number of infections, greater hospitalizations and potential lock downs, closed businesses and restrictions on travel.

The Telluride Ski and Golf Club is preparing to open the ski resort on Thanksgiving Day. To do so the resort will limit capacity, among the myriad other adjustments they’re implementing, including forgoing all group sales and weddings for this upcoming season.

Financially drastic measures, yes, but totally necessary if there is to be a 2020-2021 ski season. (For the full skinny on their 2020/2021 plans, visit

So what can you do? Look at your Thanksgiving plans and make adjustments.

My new plan: We will see one friend on Thanksgiving, a dear friend, who for the first time in over 15 years won’t share a meal with her aging parents on Thanksgiving.

We will spend the holiday outside, hopefully skiing, possibly hiking. We will share a fireside moment (with masks on), we’ll laugh, share what we’re grateful for, exchange side dishes, and head our separate ways.

Please, join me in rethinking what a holiday celebration can look like. It’s not too late to change your plans to make an impact on the health and well-being of our community.

And if you absolutely must travel, limit contacts with other households, opt for take-out and outdoor dining over dining-in. And, when you return home, please consider an earnest quarantine effort for 14 days.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to share my personal experiences and my thoughts with you. I’m wishing you the best possible holiday and continued good health.

And to underline Telski’s message, other key players weigh in with a variation on this sobering theme:

We have an urgent message for our community. We are calling on all of you to help us save lives
and save our local economy this winter. For everyone’s well-being please cancel your plans to visit
with others who are not in your immediate household for the next few weeks to avoid spreading the
virus. We are at a critical point. We are taking actions, our business community has taken actions
and now we need every one of you to strengthen your efforts to reduce your social interactions,
especially indoors, keep your distance and wear a mask in all public places.

We know from Colorado and local data that one of the primary causes of COVID-19 transmission
in the last many weeks has been indoor gatherings among friends and family. We also know that we
face an immediate threat of surpassing our regional and statewide hospital bed capacity, which
means that we will not be able to meet critical medical needs of our residents and visitors. This
means that if you, a family member or a visitor has a serious cardiac event or breaks a femur, we
will have no place to transport. At that point we would need to ask visitors to leave and our ski area and other businesses would have to close for a minimum of two weeks.

Twenty counties across Colorado have moved to Level Red: Severe Risk as of Sunday evening. San
Miguel County has been asked to take immediate mitigation measures and will likely be placed in
Level Red soon. If we do not limit our gatherings over Thanksgiving and the virus continues to
spread, we will face a Stay At Home order that will impact our entire winter season.

Our actions as individuals today will help our local economy survive this winter, keep our schools
and day care centers open and could save the life of a family member or friend. Please join us by
doing your part. We are all in this together.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.