Hello Everyone –
I guess unless you have been under rock or deep in a cave somewhere the last ten-months, you realize that due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, the 2020-2021 ski season is going to be filled with lots and lots of challenges. At the end of the day, if we all work together, we will get through the challenges and have fun again this season.
Okay, now that I got the niceties out of the way, I will get to the point of this week’s collection of words. If you don’t realize it, there are a lot of eyes on every one of us that enjoy sliding on snow. I know how I and my family feel about the pandemic and how we are dealing with the matter. I am also not blind to the fact that not everyone out there agrees with how we are handling it and truthfully that’s okay, we all will just need to move forward.
To be clear, when I become eligible to have the vaccine administered to me, I will be one of the first in line. Growing up I also did so for the polio, mumps, measles and chicken pox and like I said, I will get my shot in the arm for this one also. If you aren’t one who believes in the vaccine, I am okay with that, we will still be friends.
Now you say, what does this all mean to the 2020-2021 ski season. To be honest with you, the vaccine probably doesn’t mean a hill of beans to the season, but other social distancing aspects will have a lot to do with us making it through the end of the season without having to shut down.
Due to my position with the West Virginia Ski Areas Association, I know firsthand what has gone on behind the scenes for ski resorts throughout the region to develop operating plans that take safety measures in account. Each state association in the region had to put together a plan on how to handle the situation at hand, submit it to the various state officials and act accordingly with the guidelines in hand to open for the season.
These plans were not developed overnight. There was a tremendous amount of thought and discussion that went into every aspect of the operating order. You need to also understand, in most cases the ski officials were dealing with state officials that probably don’t totally understand how a ski resort operates. Keeping that in mind, it was an education in bringing the officials up to speed on such things like lift lines. I know for a fact that one official asked, “What do you mean people have to wait in line to ride a lift?” I wanted to ask if they had ever been to an amusement park, but I bit my tongue. Full disclosure, this was not said by a state official in the southeast, but in the Midwest.
These plans were along the lines of the national “Ski Well, Be Well” guidelines developed by the National Ski Areas Association, with the help from groups like the National Ski Patrol, National State Associations, etc. Many an eye was on the document prior it to being released and utilized by most of the states. If you are curious of what is in the plan, you can view it by going to www.nsaa.org.
This past Saturday, this site’s founder and chief bottle washer, Mike Doble let his thoughts be known about the situation facing the industry this year. I have known Mike for nearly two decades and always appreciate conferring with my friend on matters such as this facing everyone these days. His words in his article were straight to the point and should be recognized as such.
I am here this week to make sure everyone knows where I am coming from on the subject and that it is up to everyone to work together to get through this season. When I say there are a lot of eyes on the industry, I mean just that. We are lucky in the southeast that the ropes can be dropped, when conditions allow, in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee. There are states out there that have had their season put on hold or their daily capacity is being greatly reduced. Not in the southeast and that is a good thing.
I know everyone is ready to get outside on the slopes and have some fun. This year at all of the resorts, you are going to see a number of signs that are directly related to getting through the pandemic and still have some fun.
For starters, and I think the biggest, is the wearing of face coverings. I will be honest with you, your beliefs of if it being necessary or not, really doesn’t matter to me. For ski resorts to operate under the guidelines from the various health departments, face coverings are part of the equation this season. When a lift attendant asks you to put your face covering on, just do it and don’t drop it when they turn their back. Again, we are all in this together and it might take just one, numskull to ruin it for everyone, if you catch my drift.
I recommend that before you head to your favorite resort this year, go to their website, and make sure you are up to speed on their COVID-19 procedures. What you may have found to be the case in past seasons, may not be available this year. An example of that are ski lockers, just make sure you know before you go, that’s all.
We will get through this season if everyone works together and pulls the rope in the same direction. Don’t be the reason, they have to pull that rope across the slopes, and no one gets to have some fun.
That’s it for this week, thanks for joining me for my weekly thought process. Just remember whether it be cold or whether it be warm, we will weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. I still believe this season is going to be a lot of fun but challenging. Remember, Mother Nature provides the best social distancing these days.