Jeff Kottkamp upset after ski vacation totally ruined by coronavirus

Colorado Governor seemingly unimpressed over former LG's woes.

The coronavirus scare has closed down Walt Disney World and Universal Studios and prompted a travel advisory on Port Everglades. It’s killed more than 5,000 people, including more than 60 Americans and four Florida residents.

And now, it’s ruined former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp’s vacation.

The Cape Coral Republican expressed outward anger as he drove into Vail, Colorado for a family vacation, only to learn there would be no skiing.

He arrived the same day the town declared a state of emergency over COVID-19. That prompted Vail Resorts to shut down all its North American properties.

Thank you for making this announcement as we are driving in to Vail,” Kottkamp tweeted upon the news. “Came all the way from Florida only to have our family’s vacation destroyed.”

The politician-turned-lobbyist’s message reached not only his 3,700 Twitter followers, but was the top comment visible under the Vail Resorts tweet announcing news to its 33,000 followers.

Vail Resorts owns 15 North American resorts. It made the decision to close down its destinations amid news Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was pondering an executive order forcing all ski resorts in the state to close.

The drastic measure for the Democratic Governor would be similar to urging by Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for any events in Florida with more than 250 people to be canceled.

Polis took a veiled swipe at Kottkamp online, tweeting his response to the tweet, “Thank you for your deep concerns regarding the health of our residents in the face of a global pandemic, as well as your heartfelt sympathy for the difficulties faced by those who work in the ski industry and hospitality.”

And both Democrat and Republican state leaders also joined in bipartisan bruising of Kottkamp.

State Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Democrat who represents Vail, snapped ““We should be commending (Vail’s decision), not complaining. But, please keep thinking of yourself.”

Sage Naumann, spokesman for Colorado Senate Republicans, siggested an alternate take for Kottkamp.

“‘Came all the way from Florida only to realize Colorado is actually stepping up to prevent the spread of a global pandemic,’” Naumann tweeted. “Fixed it for you, Lieutenant Governor. Colorado is united in beating this.”

Kottkamp, for his part, sent a response to Gannett reporting and stressed his problem wasn’t with closure but with notification.

“I obviously have no quarrel with Vail Resorts taking steps to prevent the pread of the coronavirus,” he said. “However, the was they abruptly closed their resorts was very unfair to thousands of visitors to the state. Only 10 hours before the announced closure, Vail Resorts said on social media that they would ‘remain open as schedule’ and outlines steps they were taking to reduce the spread— steps I thought were appropriate.

“That statement that Vail Resorts would ‘remain open’ led people to believe they could go forward with their travel plans. Had Vail Resorts simply given people a week’s notice before their closure, as was done by DisneyWorld and Universal Studios in my home state, lots of heartaches, inconvenience, and financial loss could have been avoided.”

Disney and Universal, which close after Sunday close of business and remain shuttered through the end of March, gave four days notice.

It’s not the first time Kottkamp has missed the scope of nationally watched story generating devastating consequences both for public health and the hospitality industry.

Kottkamp last year testified to the Florida Legislature, while lobbying for the oil industry, that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 didn’t even reach the shores of Florida and that tar balls are naturally occurring. But it did and they aren’t.

Instead of skiing, Kottkamp spent Sunday re-tweeting articles about the coronavirus.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Ben Lough

    March 15, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Mr. Kottkamp, This is like going to your state only to have that vacation destroyed bc of a hurricane that changed Now you may say that one should have been prepared for such an eventuality. Same to you, sir. Be a leader, not an entitled brat!

    As a proud Coloradoan, thank you for visiting our home. You are most welcome now, and in the future.

  • Tuatha Dé Danann

    March 15, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Aww, poor entitled little dooshbag. Vail didn’t get a lot of notice from the coronavirus either. If he is so butt-hurt, maybe he should stay the f out of our lovely state from now on.

  • Harold Finch

    March 15, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    I think he makes a very good point!

  • Randi Young1

    March 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    He wanted Vail Resorts to give him a one week notice that the mountain would be shutting down. Given that COVID-19 is estimated to be spreading exponentially, that one week would have allowed COUNTLESS more people to become infected. But, hey — it’s his family vacation and all…

  • Scott King

    March 15, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Certainly understand the frustration when Vail Resorts publicly announces they will be open for business and then reniggs on their statements. A little venting seems appropriate and harmless. The muckraking by the author seems to be quite petty and continues to help fuel a divide so apparent in our mainstream political arena. It’s hard to believe the author would even spend his time on a response. But hey! Let’s see what other insults we can hurl at each other! Keep stirring it up Jacob, your significance depends on it.

  • Gerry Boarman

    March 16, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Pandemic….we are all in this together. A little understanding and tolerance goes a long way. Counting to ten before one tweets is also a good practice.

  • erik

    March 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    To me, the best part is that a “highly successful” (in Florida terms) attorney seem to have packed his family into the car and driven two thousand miles to go on vacation. Time is money?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn