Lessons Learned About Ski Resorts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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For avid ski enthusiasts, the bad news for a short ski season came when most resorts in the United States closed their season down early in 2020. Unfortunately in some cases, refunds were not issued. However, the resorts tried to do their best to make up for it by providing other concessions such as a discount on the upcoming 2020 – 2021 season ticket prices. Among those resorts were Snowbird, Park City, Jackson Hole, and Mammoth Mountain. If you were a season ticket holder, you may have noticed the concessions given out. On the flip side, no refunds were able to be given to others who only purchased single-day tickets which led us to learn a few lessons for the foreseeable future.

Season ticket holders will always get the best treatment

Of course, from a business perspective, this makes sense. The people who spend the most money with you should get the best treatment since they are contributing to keeping the lights on for you. This also doesn’t have to be a one-way street. As ticket holders, we are able to enjoy the special treatment and extra concessions since in a way, we are entitled to it by paying a little more than the average single-day pass goer. If you plan on visiting the resort more than a couple of times during the season, it may be worth it to pay for the season pass so you can visit as much as you’d like, while also having the peace of mind that you will be taken care of should something happen due to nature that’s out of everyone’s control.

Find a resort that doesn’t solely rely on trams

During the pandemic, a lot of gondolas and trams were shut down due to the fact that they were considered risky since it was not safe to have those types of transportation packed with people in a closed, tight space while riding up. As a safety precaution, resorts had to shut them down. In some cases, this was the only way up the mountain for skiers which made it impossible to ski. If this happened to be your experience, you may want to look into resorts that have other ways to travel up the mountain. A chair lift or rope tow both have the open-air benefit that allows resorts to keep operating them safely.

Ski rental deliveries and backcountry skiing are more reliable

When there’s a will there’s a way. Skiers were able to enjoy the season even with all of the cancellations and closures with the help of ski rental delivery services. Ski rental deliveries were able to continue operating without the problems of renting through a brick-and-mortar store. Unlike waiting at a store, delivery service is safer because it allows you to stay away from the crowded brick and mortar stores that leave you waiting in a jam-packed room for your rentals. If the pandemic has turned you into a germaphobe, delivery service is the better option since you can avoid germs and crowds by having the rental company bring the equipment to you.

Another way to avoid resort closures is by going backcountry skiing. Since the government can’t shut down a mountain, skiers found a way to hike up the mountain and ski all the way down. If you haven’t tried backcountry skiing, it is recommended that you go with someone that is familiar with the mountain by experiencing it several times. It is also suggested that you never go alone. Because there are a lot more threats such as avalanches and forested areas, it is never a good idea to venture on your own.

One of the greatest things we saw this past season was that both skiers and snowboarders are not politically divided. Everyone obeyed the rules and helped each other enforce the mask mandate while standing in line. With more people becoming vaccinated, we don’t know if masks will be required this season but if it is, I think we can all agree that nothing matters more than powder and a simple mask safety shouldn’t keep any one of us from enjoying shredding the slopes.

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