Kirkwood Ski Resort, Texas ski resort gets $3M deal
KILKWOOD, Texas (AP) The owner of a remote resort in southern Texas says he is closing his doors amid the state’s wildfires, leaving about 500 employees without a job.
Statewide, more than 1,000 people have died in wildfires, and wildfires are spreading across the country, with many places experiencing more than 200,000 acres burned or destroyed.
Kirkwood Ski Ranch is the second resort in Texas to close, according to its website.
The first, the Kirkwood Resort & Spa in El Paso, closed in February.
It was the last resort in the state that didn’t close as part of a wildfire declaration.
Karen McAllister says she was planning to stay at the resort, but she decided to close it as the wildfires were getting worse.
The resort is one of only a handful of resorts in Texas that offer full-time employee health care, which is required for the health care insurance coverage that the federal government requires for people to qualify for Medicaid.
The state’s health insurance exchange is a major issue for many, including McAllisters son, who was a full-fledged employee at the ski resort when the fires began.
The family says the closure will hurt because it means no one will be able to pay for their care.
“The insurance has been in jeopardy, so we are really concerned for the future of the insurance,” McAllists son, Daniel McAllist, said.
“I just want to make sure the kids don’t have to worry about this.”
The state has declared a state of emergency for all communities that have burned.
McAllisons family is in Texas, but the McAllers are still living in El Paso, Texas, and Daniel is also working at the facility.
Daniel McAllista said the family is struggling financially, and he hopes to be able pay his bills and care for his family.
“I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do,” he said.
He said he is not worried about losing his job, though.
“It’s going to be a while before the weather clears up, so that’s the big thing,” he added.
“They’ve been working really hard and it’s just going to take a while for it to be back to normal.”
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth