Every Resort in the Region to Close – Except Sugar Mountain Resort

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…at least that seems to be ‘the word’ as it stands as of 1pm Sunday.

The photo of the day shows it is snowing at Canaan Valley Resort this morning.
In a Cruel Twist – it is SNOWING in West Virginia and there’s PLENTY of snow on the slopes…and resorts are closing for the season due to the Covid-19 Virus.

On Saturday evening we updated some abrupt (but understandable) decisions that several ski areas made to close for the season. Snowshoe Mountain (through Alterra) announced literally at the end of the day on Saturday to close for the season. Winterplace Resort joined them, electing not to open for today’s sessions.

Seven additional ski resorts in the region will close for the season after today’s (Sunday sessions).

CLOSING FOR THE SEASON AFTER SUNDAY SESSIONS

Beech Mountain Resort
Bryce Resort
Canaan Valley Resort 
Cataloochee Ski Area
Massanutten Resort
Ober Gatlinburg
Wintergreen Resort

CLOSING FOR THE SEASON AFTER MONDAY SESSIONS

Appalachian Ski Mountain

ALREADY CLOSED FOR THE SEASON

Sapphire Valley Resort
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
The Omni Homestead Resort
Winterplace Resort – reserving the option of reopening next weekend.
Wisp Resort
Wolf Ridge Resort

NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF SUGAR MOUNTAIN

While every ski resort in the region and most every ski area nationally has made the decision to close for the season to aid in the prevention of spreading the Covid-19 Virus, it appears that Sugar Mountain Resort may remain open.

There’s a huge part of me that not only supports the right to make that decision, and also the basic idea that the risks are anywhere from non-existent to minimal for those visiting each of those ski resorts. However, I will say that it isn’t a good look when every resort in the five state area will be closed at the end of today except App and Sugar.

Here is Appalchian Ski Mountain’s “Operational Update” as of this morning:

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has been carefully monitoring the dynamic and evolving situation related to coronavirus (COVID-19), and in the interest of the health & wellbeing of all our guests, staff, friends and community, the last day of the 2019-20 season will now be Monday March 16.

We would like to thank everyone for a great season, and are already looking forward to the 2020-21 ski season, scheduled to begin Friday, November 20.

Any guests who have purchased a ticket for the coming week in advance can contact us for a full refund.

Sugar Mountain Resort’s Latest: As of 1pm

SUGAR MOUNTAIN RESORT MEMORANDUM
TO: GUESTS AND EMPLOYEES
FROM: GUNTHER JOCHL
SUBJECT: CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
TODAY’S DATE: MARCH 15, 2020

Sugar Mountain Resort offers fresh mountain air, great groomed slopes, and wide open

spaces. We remain committed to providing our guests and employees a healthy and safe
environment to recreate and work.

Sugar Mountain Resort will remain open.

We are taking the following measures to ensure a clean and healthy environment:
– As always, we are committed to the highest safety, health, and sanitation
standards. We communicate and reinforce with guests and employees to follow
hygiene practices, including cough and sneeze etiquette, hand sanitizing
procedure, and staying home when sick.
– We are taking further steps by adding extra hand-washing supplies and hand
sanitizing stations in public areas, restrooms, and employee areas, as well as
increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols throughout the resort.
– Gatherings of people will be limited to small groups.
– On-property first responders are trained in first aid, biohazard cleanup, and CPR.
– We are educating employees on COVID-19 awareness to make better-informed
decisions.
– If a guest has the desire to distance themselves from another guest, they can
request to ride the lift by themselves. Sugar Mountain Resort has several open
chairlifts to access the open terrain.

Sugar Mountain Resort continues to monitor the situation and will make any changes if

necessary. Thank you for your understanding and we wish everyone good health.

 

COULD WE SEE ALL SKI AREAS CLOSED BY THE END OF TODAY?

Sugar Mountain Resort seems to be of the mindset to remain open. However, guys don’t be surprised or shocked if these last two “holdouts” don’t also announce closure for the season, effective after Sunday or Monday sessions.

Of course we will update you immediately of any changes.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND OTHER COMMENTARIES…

REAL PEOPLE, REAL AFFECTS, REAL LIFE

People have already taken to email and social media remarking about some of the abrupt closings and the appearance that App and Sugar may remain open.

Several Facebook posts alluded to people calling on Friday to verify that resorts would be operational, only to drive long distances (in one case over 1000 miles), check in to their lodging, rent equipment and only upon connecting to the local WIFI found out that the resort had just closed.

A few people posted that they found out a resort was closing WHILE ON THE DRIVE up.

Can you imagine? This is really tough for all concerned.

I was discussing some of this with an industry insider yesterday and even this morning and their comment was similar to my thoughts:

“You know Mike, you have to feel for the resorts and the guests. I mean Wal-Mart is open, Lowes Hardware is open; you can still find plenty of restaurants open to dine at. So resorts certainly have the right and it would even be understandable if they want to remain operational. However, you know these owners and managers are talking with their attorneys and risk-management people and they’re being advised to close.”

It only takes ONE person to claim that they got the virus while visiting a resort to make a case. Whether or not a ski area would or could be liable would be up to the courts and even if you win, there’s cost in financial terms and in marketing image.

It is strange times, indeed.

HERE IS THE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM CATALOOCHEE:

After careful thought and deliberation over the past few weeks watching the spread of COVID-19, and under the guidance of public health experts and Governor Roy Cooper, we believe it is in the best interest of our guests and employee’s health, Cataloochee will be closing Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 4:30pm for the remainder of the 19-20 season. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this short notice will undoubtedly create and thank you for your understanding. We look forward to welcoming you back to the mountains for our 2020-2021 season.

Be safe. Stay well.

HERE IS SNOWSHOE’S LATEST:

After careful thought and deliberation of our duty in the face of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, and in what we believe is in the best interest of our guests, employees and local communities, Snowshoe Mountain will suspend operations starting the morning of Sunday, March 15, until further notice. All lift operations, food and beverage, retail and rental services will be closed. Lodging front desk locations will be open to assist with check-out. We will work directly with our guests in canceling their visit and will provide refunds to those who have hotel and other bookings during this closure period. We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries. Please see the front desk, or contact us at 877-441-4386 for assistance. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this short notice will undoubtedly create. We look forward to welcoming you back to the mountains as circumstances improve.

While most social media posts range anywhere from “understanding” to frustrated to down-right angry, this one from long-time reader, Frances Miller expresses great thought:

While we lament the lack of skiing, many of those that work at resorts now have no job. Granted they knew that would happen at the end of the season but it is immediate. Also many resorts employ people from other countries who now are in limbo, unable to travel with no income. So before we complain about no skiing say a prayer for all those affected both medically and economically.

Here’s an email I just received after posting this morning’s snow report:

I’m not sure what to think about app and sugar staying open through the end of the month. Kind of wonder if this is about money or they’re just smarter than the rest. i’m reading where a bunch of people are mad about other resort closings. On the flip side it does have a selfish or bad look though.

Editor’s note: To be clear, Appalachian Ski Mountain has now announced they will close for the season after Monday sessions. Additionally, Sugar Mountain Resort is always very close-to-the-vest about when they will close every season.

Closing comment….

We will have a lot more to share about these most recent events as well as how nutty this entire season has been. We’re not going anywhere for a bit just yet. So be sure to continue to visit our website and social media links as we’ll keep the “fires burning” for a while.

Suffice to say (for now) that the 2019-2020 ski and snowboarding season has been one for the history and record books. We’ll be talking about this one for years and years to come.

Email me as you like at [email protected]

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