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N.H. Ski Areas Close Due to Coronavirus; Governor Orders Cannon to Close

Dan Tuohy / NHPR
Mount Sunapee ski resort's last day of the season turned out to be March 14 -- and the Vail Resorts-owned area that day encouraged skiers to ride the chair lift only with their party to minimize COVID-19 risks.

UPDATE, March 19: Governor Sununu announced Wednesday, March 18, that he has ordered Cannon Mountain, a state-run ski area, to cease operations at the close of business on March 18.

“It has become clear today that large amounts of public congregation is occurring at Cannon Mountain," Sununu said in a statement. "With the weekend quickly approaching, I have instructed Cannon management to cease operations by end of business today.”

Three other areas that were open closed at the end of the day March 18: Bretton Woods, Gunstock, and Waterville Valley.

An earlier version of this story published March 17 continues below.

New Hampshire ski areas have ended their winter seasons early in light of coronavirus concerns.

Loon Mountain in Woodstock has closed indefinitely. Spokeswoman Alexandra Malloy says it meant they had to lay off some part-time seasonal workers a month early.

“As we became aware of the social responsibility part of this, we decided on Sunday that closing indefinitely would be the best possible decision or not only our team members but also our guests," Malloy says.

She says the risk of spreading COVID-19 in their small North Country town outweighs the likely economic hit their business and the community will take in the meantime.

Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain, Gunstock, and Waterville Valley were the final operating ski areas - before they closed at the end of Wednesday, March 18. (Update: Governor Sununu ordered Cannon, a state run ski area, to close by the end of the day on March 18 - see update at the top of this story). View a list of ski areas closed/open

But they're closing their indoor services, in line with state orders, and enforcing social distancing practices on their trams, lifts and elsewhere.

(This article was updated March 18 at 1:15 p.m. with Governor Sununu's statement ordering Cannon Mountain to close by the end of the day March 18, and March 19 with information on the closure of Bretton Woods, Gunstock, and Waterville Valley.)

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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