The morning of March 15, 2020, skiers waited for the lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to start spinning. Those who bought lift tickets never got to use them.

Dangerous avalanche conditions and roads, combined with fear of the new virus that had just popped up in Wyoming, prompted a rare closure of the Teton Village ski resort. There was a sense that the mountain could open again, but some weren’t so sure.

Salt Lake City resident Spencer Lauder told the News&Guide that day he was heading home, cutting a multiday trip short.

“We just heard today, sure, but I don’t see why they’d open it tomorrow,” he said. “What makes tomorrow any different?”

Turns out, Lauder was right.

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Businesses across the valley shut down as the global pandemic settled in to Jackson Hole. Many were able to reopen after a few weeks using precautions while others remained shuttered for months.

By the next day, all three area ski resorts had closed, and that week Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell issued the first of many public health orders, this one closing most businesses in Teton County for two weeks. That week started a somewhat cyclical year in which Teton County’s coronavirus numbers have fallen and risen several times, sending the community into varying degrees of response.

“I describe it as a roller coaster,” said Jodie Pond, director of the Teton County Health Department.

For a look back at the past year, see this week's Jackson Hole News&Guide.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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