Look, this article might come off any number of ways. There will be those of you who will think we are already protesting or complaining a bit too much, too soon. There will be those of you who will email us thanking us for getting the message out there to the masses – again.
Personally, I have my own, very definitive, thoughts about the whole subject of covid-19. However, neither MY opinion nor yours is important. What is important is what our state governments dictate on the subject AND how cooperative visitors to the mountains within our five state, southeast and mid-Atlantic region – will be.
Let me rephrase that in simpler terms. Whether you think that our government has greatly over-reacted to covid-19 or not is not important. Whether you are a 20-something who doesn’t care about your own health or others. What is important is that there are guidelines that have been set by the various governor’s offices within each state that our ski areas operate in and if they discern that those guidelines are not being followed, we could see ski & snow operations cease within a moments notice.
There will be some within the industry who might want to email me that I should not have even broached this subject on this website. Some might feel it better left unspoken. We certainly don’t want to draw too much attention.
I share these comments because we are only a week or two into the 2020-2021 ski and snowboarding season and thus far there are only 6 of the 16 southeastern ski areas operating and they all have protocols that have to be followed. However, this reporter is here to tell you that we’ve been receiving reports and photos clearly showing that some of our visitors are not cooperating.
Personally speaking, I would have no fear whatsoever of climbing on a chairlift with a stranger who was not wearing a mask. While I am not 10 feet tall or bulletproof, I’m just not overly concerned about it. If I get a virus, I’ll most likely get over it quickly.
However, common courtesy, respect for others, and the LAW dictates that we all have to follow the rules this season or one or two bad apples might spoil the fun for all of us. All it takes is a few people ignoring the face-mask protocols and state governments could easily pull the plug on the season even before it gets going in full force.
“Mike, I was in a lift line with several young people who were wearing no mask. A lift operator would come by and ask them to mask-up and they would do so, only to pull them down the moment they were out of sight”, shared one anonymous observer.
Another shared, “Hey guys, I was in line with someone who was freaking vaping with no mask on!”, stated another..
We’re Appealing To All Who Read This – Wear Your Mask!
The truth is, our ski area mountain ops crews, marketing departments and all of our outreach (SkiSoutheast.com included) will probably not be able to get 100% participation. We live in a world where people simply have less respect for themselves, each other and rules and regulations. To be honest, I could personally be classified as someone who might be a bit rebellious at times. However, there is a time and place for everything and the facts are many ski resort insiders have been discussing what this season will look like for several months prior. There have been countless conversations that have shared HOPE and CONCERN.
Hope – that everyone will cooperate with the rules and protocols to “mask-up” at all times and respect social-distancing guidelines in an effort to keep ski areas open and operating.
There has also be Concern – that a small percentage of idiots will ruin things for all of us.
You could even take that message a step further and make the claim that one ski resort which is not staying diligent on the subject could cause a complete shutdown statewide – when all the others were going the extra mile to be cautious and diligent.
It’s All About Optics, Really
We live in a social world now where you guys are sharing photos and videos of your travels to all of your Facebook and Instagram friends…as well as with people like us, here at SkiSoutheast.com. We have a wealth of resources these days to see what things look like on the slopes. People are snapping photos and videos tens of thousands of times a second. We have LIVE cameras at all of the resorts and those have been invaluable for showing guests and potential guests of how great things look or what to expect when you visit your favorite ski area.
So we are more visible than ever, and that’s great…except that there IS a double-edged sword this season. We have already seen two ski resorts bump their webcams up so that lift lines cannot be viewed online. To be honest, I think that is the wisest and smartest thing I’ve seen within this early season. It simply isn’t “good optics” to see a mass of people waiting in line…and especially so if some are not wearing masks.
Out of sight, is out of mind?
No not this season. I’ve personally received emails and photos from visitors who have already had the opportunity to ski or ride this season and they’ve expressed real worry over whether or not they were already placed at risk in a lift line this season. One wrote, “I was at [redacted] ski slopes and witnessed several people not wearing a mask. We only skied a couple of times down before leaving because we became worried that we might be subjecting ourselves to the virus. [Redacted] has GOT to do better about policing their crowds.”
That could be a problem this season. We may never see one spike of covid-19 cases as a result of visiting a ski resort this season, however, the OPTICS might be such that the message gets out that more and more people are complaining about this and the result could be that your planned ski trip to your favorite ski mountain might not happen this season.
Spread the word. If you’re going to ski or ride this season, you simply have to wear a mask at all times. If you see someone in a lift line NOT wearing their mask, attempt to ask them nicely to “mask-up”. If they don’t then take a moment to step out of the line and point that person or persons out to the closest ski patroller or lift op.
We’re all in this together. Trust me, we ALL want to see the 2020-2021 ski & snowboarding season last until April.
It won’t if enough idiots get their way.
Ski Well, Be Well
In mid-November, we posted the Ski Well, Be Well protocols that were put together with the cooperation of the National Ski Areas Association, and all of the state ski associations and individual ski areas within each state.
We have also placed a link on every ski resort page on SkiSoutheast. To see what each ski resort has setup for covid-19 protocols, simply click on any resort page on SkiSoutheast and then mouse over “PLAN YOUR TRIP” and click on “Covid-19 Protocols” to see the resort’s policies in place.
Will We See A Full Ski Season, Or Will A “FEW” Mess it Up for All of Us?
This will probably be one of those stories that our readers will grow tired of this season. However, we will continue to spread the word.
Feel free to email me at [email protected]