Please remember that his is a very fluid situation and that we are discussing solutions for the situation we believe we will be in as winter nears.

We understand that every Nordic center presents its own set of parameters and limitations, and that there will not be a one solution that fits all Nordic centers.  We also are concerned with any reduction of capacity and are looking at how to create new systems that do not rely on cutting our existing skier capacity or any revenue stream.

Below are simple takeaways from the call:

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  • Sally Jones – Manager of the Tahoe Donner Cross country ski area, CA
  • Nick Mahood – Former Head Chef of a farm to table restaurant and current Nordic Director, Woodstock Touring Center
  • Richard Hodges – Nordic Director, White Pine Touring, UT
  • Ellen Chandler – Nordic Director, Jackson ski Touring, NH
  • Matt Sabasteanski – Outdoor Center Director, Pineland Farms, ME
  • Mike Hussey – General Manager, Rikert Nordic and the Middlebury Snow Bowl
  • Gareth Houben – President and General Manager, Hardwood Ski and Bike, Ontario

 The panel was discussing plans for the coming season, lessons learned from summer business and issues still unresolved:

Nick Mahood

  • Using previous used space to expand the rental shop and create more space for guests to spread out.
  • Moving rental skis and poles outside
  • Expanding the cross country operation to the new Activity Center located next to the Woodstock Inn
  • Looking at changes made now as ideas to keep after COVID

Richard Hodges

  • Has limited indoor space to annex, looking at permitting for one to two yurts.
  • Hoping to move rental equipment to the new Yurt
  • Looking at the exhaust/ventilation for ways to improve
  • Curbside drops for those requested
  • Anticipating significant amounts of old gear needing service
  • Reducing numbers of racks on retail floor to open up space
  • Using directional arrows although there is not that much space to work with
  • Increasing fire pits – encouraging people to hang outside

Ellen Chandler

  • Hoping that her guests will assist in social distancing after 6 months of practice already
  • ½ of business comes from season’s passes
  • Has no additional space to expand
  • Will add outdoor fire pits and encourage people to congregate outside with masks
  • Remind guests that the car is the new base lodge
  • Hoping to move more casual skiers to season’s pass holders – reduce recurring day pass purchases
  • Due to space, traffic flow in building is difficult
  • Working with vendors to create videos to help explain how the equipment works
  • Has scheduled ZOOM calls with staff to discuss and share ideas.

Matt Sabasteanski

  • Pushing everything outside – goal to keep most people outside entirely.
  • Indoor space is 400sq/ft, goal is to keep staff safe
  • Rental equipment will be inside, but people will order outside and it will be delivered outside.
  • Adding more parking closer to the ticket windows
  • Will be adding staff, ambassador types, to help during busy times outside
  • Has a complete market upstairs with food, deli, light groceries, coffee, etc.
  • Creating a QR code system on the trails where guests can order food to pick up when they return to the market area
  • Adding 4 new firepits

Mike Hussey

  • Mike reminded the group that Nordic skiers can and will adapt to the new norm at cross country ski areas
  • Rikert will have single directional flow inside the building
  • Biggest concern is ticketing
  • Considering remote parking for season pass holders, those that do not need to be anywhere near the lodge
  • Will have fire pits out on the trails
  • Does not believe capacity on the trail system will be an issue

Gareth Houben

  • Summer was great, very busy
  • Did run summer camps, the negative was events
  • They do have two large tents outside, but they will be less useful in winter.
  • They have been running bike rentals outside from a large container since their fire a few years ago. This works well.
  • They have been serving food all summer.
  • They are currently limited to 50 inside, 100 outside by the province
    • Their capacity is 1200 people on a busy day
  • From the alpine side, officials believe they will see a 30% decline in skier visits and a 20% decrease in revenue

Sally Jones

  • Tahoe Donner has a 10,000sq/ft lodge – they are looking to minimize access to the building keeping rentals and rest rooms only open inside
  • Will have messaging to be prepared to be outside
  • Will be important to keep employees safe, reduce stress on them by minimize contact with customers
  • Suggesting a reservation to visit the retail store
  • One way flow through building for those inside
  • Uses Aspenware for most transaction
  • Creating logoed facemasks
  • Door pulls with feet
  • No dog day passes, season dog passes only
  • They do have a pass guarantee
  • Their risk department has Ok’d online signatures
  • Ski patrol is a bit of a concern and not figured out yet
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