STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Walk down Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs and people will see a new sticker on nearly every business window.
It's a big "SOS." A call to come together to save the ski season.
The new campaign 'Save Our Season - Stop Our Spread' urges residents to follow COVID-19 restrictions to keep people healthy and businesses afloat – as the virus threatens both.
Mountain towns like Steamboat Springs depend on the winter season. The entire community is built around being an international ski destination. The strength and success of the winter season are tied right into the local economy.
Ski resorts have worked hard for safe openings. But there's still a looming threat of things shutting down as COVID-19 spreads.
"We bet our future on the ski season," Robin Craigen of Moving Mountains said. "If we don't save our season, stop our spread, we're really not sure where this is going to go."
Steamboat Springs had a low prevalence of COVID-19 over the summer. It has seen more cases recently. Routt County was under, Orange 'High Risk' Safer at Home level on Tuesday. The county's positivity rate was at 7%.
"This is on us. We like to socialize too much and we got too comfortable," Craigen lamented. "We let our guard down and now our cases are skyrocketing. Our fate is governed by the COVID dial "
Craigen, a lodging company founder in Steamboat Springs, explained business during the ski season counts for 90% of the total year. He has 60 families connected to his company, Moving Mountains, that could be impacted if the ski season isn't successful.
"If we don't get to have ski season, every one of those people is worried about if they have a job and if they can stay living here," Craigen said. "All of us have mortgages to pay, rent to pay, we have dreams and hopes."
Craigen wants the Steamboat Springs community to take the pledge to Save Our Season. That means continuing to follow the COVID-19 restrictions communities have heard for months. Wear masks, keep social distancing and limit large gatherings.
"This is us coming together and saying 'let's get everyone on board with the idea the ski season is truly in danger,'" Craigen said. "We have to connect our actions with the consequence of this community will not survive without the ski season."
Winter Park and Fraser have jumped in on the campaign. Craigen added friends in Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek have looked into joining as well.
While the movement is founded in concern, it's coming from a place of hope.
"It's a message that someone in the community is changing the way they're thinking about their social interactions over the coming weeks," Craigen said. "If it can save the ski season, then maybe I can do that."
People can join the pledge by using the hashtag #SaveOurSeason or changing their social media profile picture to the SOS logo. They can also download that image from the Save Our Season website.
Craigen has started a Go Fund Me that will help pay for stickers, window clings, social media campaigns and print advertising.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Coronavirus