In mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to take over the world, spring break was in full swing in Fruita, Colorado, an iconic mountain biking destination that typically booms from March to May. Over the Edge Sports recorded two of its busiest days in recent memory, back to back. Campgrounds were full; dirt was tacky. Life was proceeding as it has for decades in the high desert.

But with the virus spreading faster than public-health officials could track it, people in Fruita took note and began to fear what could happen if normalcy continued. The day after their second straight revenue windfall, Over the Edge’s owners decided to close. “We did it to protect our staff and to protect Fruita as a whole,” said general manager George Gatseos, who is also a part owner. “We wanted to bring as little of the virus to Fruita as we could.”

For a couple of weeks, as citizens across the country adjusted to an unprecedented reality, crowds stayed away. But the recipe had already been written for that to change. The country’s ski resorts had closed around the same time, and mountain-town trails across the West were buried under multiple feet of snow. Major metropolitan areas teeming with COVID-19 outbreaks and antsy recreationists, many of them out of work, started to bubble out of their pots.

Sound off in the comments below!

Join the conversation