Snowstang bus to ski resorts unlikely to return this winter due to COVID-19

It looks like the Snowstang bus service inaugurated last winter to three Colorado ski areas will not be back this winter because of COVID-19.

“We’re recommending to the transportation commission that we shouldn’t operate, after consultation with our partners, with our resorts,” said Michael Timlin, senior manager of mobility operations for CDOT. “The transportation commission will actually make the final determination regarding Snowstang for this winter.”

That probably will happen at a Colorado Transportation Commission monthly meeting either this month or next, Timlin said.

Snowstang buses can accommodate 51 passengers, but Timlin said they would need to be limited to 22 in order to meet COVID-19 distancing restrictions. That, he said, would make it “very, very difficult” to meet the revenue requirements to make the service work.

Snowstang operated weekends last winter with service from Union Station and Denver Federal Center to Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Steamboat Springs. It began Dec. 14 and was scheduled to continue through April 19, but was suspended March 18 after Gov. Jared Polis shut down the state’s ski industry due to the pandemic.

Related: Winter Park ski train won’t run this winter due to COVID-19

Timlin said CDOT was “ecstatic” about ridership figures last winter. Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Steamboat Springs helped subsidize the service to those areas.

“We’re pleased with the ridership numbers, and they all were, too,”  Timlin said. “Long-term, they’ve all committed to to the viability and operation for Snowstang, once we get out of this COVID situation.”

Winter Park and Amtrak previously announced that the Winter Park Express ski train from Union Station also will not operate this winter because of COVID-19.

“Amtrak and Winter Park Resort evaluated seating options on the Winter Park Express and agreed that with social distancing requirements, it was not possible to operate the train successfully this season,” according to a joint statement issued last week.

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