In reviewing the COVID-19 guidelines issued by Governor Brown today, we are pleased that outdoor recreation and sports are excepted from the two-week pause of certain activities intended to curb the spread of the virus. While we are still reviewing the guideline statement released today, we agree with the Governor that outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snow shoeing are vitally important. We also understand that the bar of responsibility has been raised, and we need to demonstrate that our team and our guests share a common goal to recreate responsibly and with purpose to keep each other healthy. In fact, our season depends on it.
The pause period runs from November 18 - December 2 and our scheduled opening date is Monday, November 30. While the pause will affect certain aspects of our indoor operation, (such as, our restaurants will offer takeout or to-go service only), the decision to open and operate will be determined by how much snow we have, how much terrain we can open, and how many lifts we can operate.
Our COVID operating plan anticipates turnout for each day of the season, and there is always heightened demand in the early season. That will be factored in when determining whether we can open, based on the amount of lifts we can operate, and quite frankly, how much snow we have to increase the size of our lift mazes. Historically, we’ve offered preview days and operated on a relatively small footprint with limited lifts and limited terrain. That is not in our plan this season, as social distancing requires we have enough room to spread - people - out. Know that we are going to be super conservative on this decision. If we think there will be too much turnout to open on the amount of terrain available on an early-season weekend, we’ll wait. The worst thing we could do would be to open with too much demand and not enough terrain so as to create an overly-crowded situation, which would then jeopardize our ability to operate this season.
So in short, our opening will be much more driven and dependent on our snowpack and ability to harvest snow to open more lifts and terrain. We are fully committed to that goal - and we will harvest all the snow possible from this storm, as well as track pack our runs to fortify them from next week’s warming weather. It’s a good start, but we are going to need more natural snow (come on La Niña) in order to start the season. It is in all of our best interests to open responsibly, when it is the right time, when we can match terrain and lift operations with demand.
We are as excited as you are to start the season. But let’s do it the right way, and until then, we need to be patient. We need to be flexible. And we need to be kind. Together, we can make it a great season.
Wear a mask. Watch your distance. Wash your hands.