Looking Forward - Covid and Winter 2020/21 at Schweitzer
Monday, August 17, 2020
Written by Tom Chasse
Greetings to all of our Schweitzer fans and family,
In an effort to provide full disclosure and transparency, I wanted to take a moment and fill you in on some of our current thoughts surrounding the Covid-19 environment at Schweitzer.
Summer operations are in full swing and we’ve seen a steady increase in daily visitation. The bulk of our summer business is focused on outdoor family activities including hiking, biking and our 9-week summer camp program.
Operating this summer has given us an opportunity to adjust and implement protocols associated with Covid-19. We’ve learned a lot about social distancing associated with indoor spaces (equipment rentals, dining, retail) and outdoor spaces (lift queuing areas, village activities and dining). We also experienced the impact of Covid on a more personal level as several staff tested positive this summer, affecting portions of our operations in various ways. It’s been frustrating knowing that we have little influence on how the virus can spread, but we’ve been proactive in our response to those cases by reducing or closing specific areas of concern.
At this point in time we remain optimistic about the upcoming winter season. Our goal for the winter season is to operate daily with no disruption, but it will take a community effort to keep us going. We’re anticipating several significant changes in the way we operate including mandatory face coverings in all of our indoor spaces.
Because of our limited indoor capacity and the need for social distancing, we also anticipate limits on day of on-site ticket sales. These limits will be based on historical data over weekends and holiday periods. At this point, I don’t expect any limits on season pass holder visits (or mid-week visits) and we are confident we can accommodate our passholders safely on the mountain. Although, as we approach our Oct 31st price break, there could be limits on season pass sales if we see a drastic increase in units sold compared to last year. We will continue to keep everyone updated as things progress.
We know there are many areas of our operation that may require changes to accommodate for the health and safety precautions needed to stay open – rentals, retail, food & beverage, lessons, lockers, bathrooms…the list goes on. We will continue to share with you as we develop plans that cover these areas and others.
As a reminder for those that have already purchased (or still plan to purchase) a season pass, you have until Nov 15, 2020 to roll your pass purchase over to the 2021/22 season if you decide that you are not comfortable skiing/riding during the 2020/21 season for any reason.
We’re genuinely concerned about the health and safety of our Schweitzer family and the Sandpoint community. Our commitment to safety continues as we learn to navigate our business operations during a pandemic. As a business leader we are prepared for and willing to respond to the recommendations of federal, state and local public health authorities.
As I mentioned in the beginning, our goal is to provide the winter recreational opportunities we all know and love but we’ll need your support and cooperation as we adapt. Thanks for being a part of the Schweitzer family. We look forward to welcoming you home this winter.
CEO Schweitzer Mountain Resort