The 12/9 CCSAA COVID Round Table Zoom Call was centered around a learnings from ski areas recently opened.
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 take a ways from the call:
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- Christie Hicks – Executive Director, Crested Butte Nordic, CO
- Sally Jones – Manager, Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, CA
- Richard Hodges – Nordic Director, White Pine Touring, UT
- Kris Cheney Seymour – Nordic Director, Mt Van Hoevenberg, NY
- Nick Mahood – Nordic Center and Recreational Trails Director, Woodstock Nordic, VT
Crested Butte – Christie
- Opened Nov 14 to record setting crowd for this time of year, both visitors and residents – early traffic 10x normal Thanksgiving time traffic
- 5k of trail to start
- Seasons pass sales up approximately 40%
- Inside not open to public as it is very small. All rentals and passes soled online and through window. Rentals delivered outside.
- Had a good plan, but was a bit overwhelmed the first few days, created new systems within the first few days.
- New rental management system working well
- Have iPads for those that did not reserve in advance
- Was planning on being able to have a reduce staff due to new efficiencies, but that is not the case. Staff has almost doubled, lots of instructors.
- Need tons of signage to reduce questions, what ever you planned for, be prepared to add more.
- On revenue side, events and yurt dinners way down, initial indicators is that passes, rentals and lessons will be up.
Tahoe Donner – Sally Jone
- Opened Nov 27 with a new online reservation system and no lessons. Hoping to ease into the season. Limited skiing
- Season pass skier numbers were strong, but day trippers were a bit slow.
- Increase the rental shop with reservations required. Customers are allowed in the rental shop but are moved along quickly.
- Need more signage than was originally thought and needed to move several to different locations based on customer traffic trends. Suggests making temp signs until you determine where they are going.
- Found it was hard to hear through plexiglass and masks. Solution was a few simple intercoms from one of the big box stores
- Currently on budget for early season, but food service is only grab and go, so those number will decrease.
- Added additional staff that can multi task and cover several different position as the situation warrants. Online rental system has reduced the number needed in rentals at this point. Have not had a big day yet for rentals.
- Still lots of unknowns, every day is a learning opportunity.
White Pine Touring – Richard Hodges
- Had snow early, then lost it. Skiing was very busy when there was snow. Store has been very busy even without snow.
- “Every day is Saturday” this year says Richard, non-stop customers.
- Season’s passes are up 500% over last year.
- Opening weekend saw limited rentals, but showed the plan was working
- Added an outdoor tent
- Last year was huge for sails, up 40%, but this year on track to crush that.
- 1/3 of ski wall already sold and boots 38-40 in short supply
- Soft goods selling well, but nothing huge.
- Tour bookings way up, people are looking for something to do
- Many alpine skiers are getting shut out of reservations are coming over.
- For staffing, started very early looking new talent, has been successful
- Lessons are now only privates and family groups, reservation only, no walk ins.
- Have a zero tolerance for no masks.
Mt Van Hoevenberg – Kris Cheney Seymour
- Opened Nov 27 with skiing on manmade loop only, about 1.5 k
- Mostly seasons pass holders on opening weekend
- Venue was open all summer so felt they were well prepared.
- They are struggling with the state on contact tracing regs, asking people to check in at the lodge, newbies fine, long time pass holders not.
- Struggling a bit with staff. Many long-time employees taking the year off due to COVID concerns.
- New school systems are setting up cross country ski programs for the first time as indoor school sports have been canceled. Apparently, they have money.
Woodstock Nordic – Nick Mahood
- Not open for skiing as there has been no snow
- Retail open and sales are up, mostly hardgoods. Will see holes in inventory soon. Kids gear super strong
- Must contact trace for state regulations.
- All junior programs postponed