Covid Protocols and Reopening on November 27
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Written by Tom Chasse
Greetings to our Schweitzer Family,
It was great to see everyone this past weekend! I’m sure it was as exciting for you to be back on the mountain as it was for me. As good as it was to be on my skis again, I wish I could say the opening weekend went off without a hitch, but that was not the case. We, Schweitzer staff and guests alike, have some work to do in order to keep our operation up and running.
Honestly, I was surprised at the turnout we had this weekend. I had anticipated approximately 800 passholders would show up for opening day and that we would cruise through the weekend. As you hopefully noticed, we added structured lift lines with “ghost lanes” in an effort to provide lateral social distancing assuming that at typical ski length would provide enough fore and aft distance.
With the turnout of 1700 passholders on Saturday, we exceeded the length of our structured waiting areas, creating an uncomfortable situation relative to social distancing. Our strategy surrounding lift operations also compounded the situation. Our plan was to eliminate the singles line so as to not merge unrelated groups together. This meant that singles and doubles could ride alone, but it ended up creating longer lift lines. Or in some cases, singles tried to join in with groups creating another uncomfortable situation.
On Sunday, we implemented some changes and doubled the length of the waiting area in an effort to extend the safe zone. The combination of our extension to the structured lines and a smaller number of passholders, made for a somewhat better environment in the lift line.
We put a heavy focus on protocols covering our indoor spaces in order to maintain social distancing to limit the spread of the virus. I want to thank you all for following our request to use facial coverings when inside our lodges. Your efforts are much appreciated and were a great first step but more needs to be done outside with our lift lines as well.
We learned a lot from both Saturday and Sunday and several changes will come into play this coming weekend.
- We anticipate adding Musical Chairs and the Musical Carpet, which will spread people out a little more and should reduce the length of the lift lines slightly.
- We will not sell any day tickets and once again only provide access to our season passholders and lodging guests.
- We will establish a controlled point of entry around the clock tower to help remind everyone to be respectful and “Buff-Up” as you enter any of our lift loading areas.
- We will require everyone to wear a facial covering while in the lift line.
- If these additional protocols come up short, our only recourse will be to cease daily operations until we get more lifts and terrain open to spread out the demand.
We take this seriously and hope that each of you will too and support our efforts to continue uninterrupted daily operations.
CEO & President Schweitzer Mountain Resort