Ski resorts vow winter reopenings

  • Skiers and snowboarders prepare to take a run at Jay Peak in Jay, Vt. The Northeast Kingdom ski area plans to stay open into May. Marty Basch photograph

Published: 8/23/2020 9:01:23 PM
Modified: 8/23/2020 9:01:22 PM

As summer draws to a close, Vermont ski areas are broadcasting high expectations for opening this winter.

COVID-19 continues to claim about 1,000 U.S. lives each day. The U.S. unemployment rate was 10% in July, and businesses are operating in a state of unprecedented uncertainty.

But ski areas are used to having no idea what conditions they’ll face in winter, their most critical time of the year.

So, they’re planning to adapt, according to Adam White, spokesman for the Vermont Ski Areas Association.

Vermont businesses are subject to new virus regulations that can arrive unexpectedly from the governor’s office, such as closing and opening rules for business sectors and the state’s Aug. 1 mask mandate.

One of the directives that keeps changing are the quarantine rules that govern the actions of visitors from key markets, such as the Boston area, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Those rules are critical to the success of the coming ski season, White said.

“It’s hard for anybody on the outside to predict as far as the regulations go,” he said. “One of the advantages the ski industry has is we do have to be able to shift gears. Things like weather have made us nimble.”

Ski areas are communicating to the public and their customers that they’re putting safety first and, if there is snow, there will be a way to ski.

Vail plans to open all its resorts, including Stowe, Mount Snow and Okemo.

Vail CEO Rob Katz published an open letter July 29 to ski communities that emphasized safety, saying Vail will encourage face coverings in all public places, indoor and outdoor.

“We’re not going to rush into anything,” Storrs said.

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