BILLINGS — In response to COVID-19, all recreation and uphill travel at Red Lodge Mountain will be temporarily prohibited starting 12:01 a.m. Saturday in an effort to reduce non-local tourism traffic and lessen the threat of recreation related injuries to local hospitals, the ski area announced in a Facebook post Friday.
"We have seen surprisingly large numbers of people from outside of our region and state visiting Red Lodge Mountain to recreate during this time, and unfortunately, social distancing practices aren't being followed," the mountain wrote in a comment clarifying the original post.
The closure is in response to the public's failure to comply with the stay at home order issued by Montana Governor Steve Bullock on March 26, the mountain wrote.
In addition, Ski Run Road will be closed to all non-essential traffic at the intersection of Ski Run Road and West Fork Road by the Carbon County Sheriff's.
There is no mention in the post of when recreational activities like hiking, touring, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, tubing and snowshoeing will be allowed on Red Lodge Mountain property again.
The base lodge area and parking lots are on private property and will be closed to the general public, according to the post.
Another reason for the closure is to prevent possible recreational related injuries that have the potential to overwhelm the local health care system.
"We are located in a small town with limited resources in both emergency medical services and medical facilities. By prohibiting Uphill Travel, our aim is to significantly reduce the amount of non-local traffic to our community, prevent potential injuries that could overwhelm our medical clinics, and slow the spread of the Coronavirus," the mountain's post stated.
On March 19, Red Lodge Mountain announced it would close for the 2019-20 season that was supposed to run until April 12.
The start of the season was promising for Red Lodge, with the resort receiving the most pre-season snow of any Montana ski resort. The snow was so good that for the first time in ten years, the mountain opened opened early to offer a bonus weekend.
This year marks Red Lodge's 60th season of Montana skiing.