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As our industry approaches the beginning of winter and areas prepare for opening, our thoughts turn to ‘what if’?  All indications are that there will be a significant increase in skiers this year, both in the back country and at our groomed ski resorts.  This is an exciting time for cross country skiing, but it comes not without peril.  What if we are overrun with skiers looking for lessons and rentals beyond our capacity?  What if our staff contracts the virus?

The November 4th call focused on the opportunity and the potential pitfalls.  Panelists discussed key changes they have made to their operating procedures for selling day tickets, how to handle season’s pass holders and provide safe passage through rentals.  Our panelists also discussed the contingency plans for two possible crises:

  • Such an increase in skier traffic that the crowds are difficult to control or be serviced well
  • Sickness within the staff that results in shut down or reduced available staff

Audio – 

Panel

  • Mike Hussey – General Manager, Rikert Nordic and Middlebury Snowbowl, VT
  • Nick Mahood – Nordic Center and Recreational Trails Director, Woodstock Nordic, VT
  • Brittany Perkins – Programs Director, Crested Butte Nordic, CO
  • Richard Hodges – Nordic Director, White Pine Touring, UT

Discussion

  • White Pine – UT
    • Has been selling passes at their Store location and fulfilling them there to the purchaser does not need to go to the touring center to pick it up, however they do want people to come in the shop to purchase retail items.
    • Has alternate date direction travel
    • Entry level ski packages are selling well as they have been across the US & Canada
    • They are working on a back pack strategy, what do skies do with their stuff
    • Major Concerns
      • Staff safety very important
      • Controlling crowds – will have people wait outside and have directional travel inside
    • Rikert Nordic – VT
      • Middlebury Alpine and Nordic will be reservation only to get into the parking lot
      • Seasons pass holders must also make a reservation.
      • They will not run any school groups
      • Everything will be purchased online – Liftopia
        • They have a small retail shop that does not produce much revenue
      • Messaging through local paper, word of mouth, website, social
      • Very concerned about staffing issues
    • Crested Butte – CO
      • CB will have everything on line
      • No one allowed inside
      • Have a new rental software package that has not been tested
      • Online created data for contact tracing
    • Woodstock Nordic – VT
      • Moving into a large existing space to spread out
      • Retail gear will be spread out covering upstairs and downstairs locations
        • Retail represents 1/3 of business, very important
      • Have new activity center ½ mile away that will take some pressure off the Nordic center. Skiers may purchase trail passes and lessons, get fitted for rentals and purchase retail gear
      • Season’s passes on sale far earlier than usual
      • There will be a health check when you enter the building
      • Staffing could be a huge issue.
      • VT has very strict COVID guidelines
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