Aspen Skiing Co. drops vaccine requirement for workers, customers of indoor facilities |

Aspen Skiing Co. drops vaccine requirement for workers, customers of indoor facilities

Employees who resigned rather than vax can apply for open positions

Aspen Skiing Company liftie Luis Ramirez from Mexico helps people board onto the Silver Queen Gondola cabs at the base of Aspen Mountain on Monday, March 14, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Aspen Skiing Co. eased COVID-19 policies for workers and customers on Friday in accordance to Pitkin County health guidelines and the falling number of cases statewide and nationally.

Workers will no longer be required to be vaccinated. Customers won’t have to show proof of vaccination to enter Skico lodging properties, sit-down dining locations or the snowcats used for powder tours.

“With infection rates declining and high vaccination rates in our community, we are dropping all vaccination requirements for guests and employees,” Skico announced on its website. “We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation through the season and through the Omicron variant surge. This allowed us to get open and stay open.”

COVID vaccines will still be recommended but no longer required of Skico employees. In addition, Skico will welcome back employees who resigned this season rather than got the jab, according to a newsletter released on Thursday. Employees who wish to return must re-apply for open positions for which they are qualified.

Returning employees will recover their lost year of employment credit as long as they return before one year of absence, the newsletter said.

About 10 employees resigned rather than get the vaccination, according to the human resources department, Skico vice president of communications Jeff Hanle said. It’s unknown how many prospects declined to apply because of the mandate.

Hanle said it is “impossible” for the company to gauge yet if former employees will be interested in returning this season with the days dwindling.

“People probably had to move on and get jobs,” he said.

However, there are incentives to return. Skico raised pay across the board by $3 per hour last month for those on an hourly wage and the equivalent for those on salary. Skico’s newsletter said returning employees may be eligible to re-enroll in Skico’s insurance plan rather than waiting for 60 days for it to go into effect.

Employees who had exemptions from getting the vaccine this season had to get weekly tests. That testing was eliminated as of Friday.

Skico is the largest private sector employer in the Roaring Fork Valley so its policies are influential. Skico employs about 4,000 full- and part-time workers during the height of winter. The company announced Sept. 14 that vaccinations would be mandated for employees for the 2021-22 season.

Skico is keeping policies in place for sick employees. A person who is vaccinated and boosted must isolate for five days if they test positive for COVID. “You can return without testing as long as your symptoms have improved and you are fever free,” the newsletter said.

An employee who is vaccinated but not boosted must isolate for five days and can return after they have a negative rapid COVID test or 10 days if they are symptom-free but don’t get a test.

Unvaccinated employees who get COVID must isolate for 10 days and be free of symptoms and fever.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of our local county health boards,” Skico informed employees in the newsletter on Thursday. “Should COVID restrictions return, we will yet again consider these policies but this is the right decision now for where we are today.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.