If you want a taste of what next winter will look like, here’s what’s happening at Vail Resorts six northeastern resorts this summer. On June 18 Vail Resorts sent out the following release announcing the opening of Stowe, Okemo and Mount Snow, in Vermont, plus Hunter Mountain, in New York, and Attitash and Wildcat, in New Hampshire with a limited summer footprint focusing on mountain access and scenic lift rides.
Masks, social distancing and reduced capacity for everything from lodges and dining facilities to lifts are all part of the plan.
Vail Resorts has established certain guidelines across all of its resorts and properties in North America, which include physical distancing protocols, face-covering requirements, enhanced cleaning measures, employee health screenings and safety training, cashless transactions, and revisions to regularly offered programs and services.
Each resort and has a unique operating plan that aligns with these guidelines, and was developed in consultation with state, provincial and local health
“Summer is a special time in the mountains and we are excited to welcome guests back to the outdoors to have fun, refresh and recharge,” said Pat Campbell, president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division. “While we are offering limited summer activities, we are lucky that our beautiful outdoor settings provide a landscape to experience nature and to easily practice physical distancing so we all can safely return to the mountains we love. It is our expectation that guests help us ensure the experience is safe for them and for our employees by following our new guidelines. As summer progresses, we look forward to opening more activities and adventures at our resorts.”
“It’s a great feeling to be able to once again welcome our guests back to the mountains,” said Doug Pierini, vice president and COO of Vail Resorts’ Eastern Region. “We’re happy to offer the opportunity to find your own ways of making this summer in the mountains a special one, be it with a scenic lift ride, a hike with your family, a day of golf, or however you choose to recreate in some of the most beautiful settings in New England.”
OPENING DATES AND ACTIVITIES
· Okemo (June 26): Open Friday to Monday for scenic chairlift rides; hiking; mountain coaster; golf and disc golf.
· Mount Snow (June 26): Open Friday to Sunday for scenic chairlift rides and hiking; Bullwheel to offer grab ‘n go food. Golf and Fairways (grab ‘n go) opened June 17 for Wednesday to Sunday operations.
· Stowe (June 27): Open daily. Auto Toll Road and hiking opens June 27. Scenic gondola rides and Waffle to offer grab ‘n go food on July 18.
· Hunter (July 4): Open Saturdays and Sundays for scenic chairlift rides and hiking.
· Attitash (July 18): Open daily for scenic chairlift rides; hiking; alpine slide;
· Wildcat (August 1): Open Saturdays and Sundays for Wildcat Express scenic chairlift rides; hiking; cafeteria to offer grab ‘n go food.
VAIL RESORTS’ COMMITMENT TO SAFETY
In addition to complying with local orders, the Vail Resorts is enforcing its own safety measures to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the mountains this summer. Safety has always been one of the Company’s core values and the new procedures and protocols being implemented have the safety of employees, guests and communities in mind. Protocols include:
· On mountain, the resorts’ vast outdoor settings make physical distancing easy. But in the base areas and other locations where it is more difficult to do so, we will have signage and decals to ensure guests remain six feet apart.
· Guests will be required to wear face coverings in certain areas. This includes in lines, when loading and unloading chairlifts, when loading and riding in gondolas or bubble chairs, on activities such as an alpine slide or mountain coaster, and in indoor resort facilities. Guests are strongly encouraged to bring their own face coverings, but resorts will have them available upon request, subject to availability. Employees will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
· Plexiglass barriers have been installed in areas where physical distancing measures are not possible, including at points of purchase.
· Capacity of lifts and gondolas will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. Guests will only be allowed on lifts and gondolas with travelers in their party.
· Employees may limit the number of guests in any area of the resort to ensure proper physical distancing (e.g. indoor spaces, parking lots, common spaces, etc.).
Employee Protocols & Training:
· All employees are required to wear a face covering and follow the Company’s safety protocols and procedures at all times, including regular hand washing and use of PPG.
· Employees will undergo daily health screenings and receive appropriate training to ensure safety.
· Employees are required to stay home if sick.
· Guests are asked to stay home if they are sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
· Guests are required to wear face coverings in certain areas, including in lines, when loading and unloading chairlifts, when loading and riding in gondolas and bubble chairs, on activities such as an alpine slide or mountain coaster; in indoor resort facilities, and whenever it is not possible to maintain a six feet distance from unknown parties. Guests are strongly encouraged to bring their own face coverings, but resorts will have them available upon request, subject to availability. Guests who are unwilling to comply with this safety requirement will not be permitted to participate in the experience.
· All guests are expected to comply with physical distancing guidelines outlined by public health as well as resort signage or as directed by resort employees.
Enhanced Cleaning & Sanitization:
· High-touch surfaces will be frequently cleaned and disinfected with EPA-approved products that kill the COVID-19 virus.
· Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting will take place daily in our gondola cabins, frequently throughout the day in our public restrooms and after each use on our alpine slide and mountain coaster carts.
· Hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the resort. Frequent handwashing is required of employees.
· All transactions will be cashless for lift and gondola rides, mountain activities, on-mountain dining as well as at the Company’s lodging, retail and rental locations.
Hospitality & Lodging:
· Guests will be asked to maintain physical distancing guidelines and use face coverings when in common areas.
· One guest per family will be allowed to enter the lobby for check-in/out.
· Transactions will be cashless.
· Room keys will be cleaned and disinfected before they are placed into guest packets.
· To ensure physical distancing, dining facilities will run at reduced capacity with updated floor plans in common areas. Outdoor seating will be available.
· On-mountain dining will only offer grab n’ go food and all transactions will be cashless.
Opening photo: mountain biking at Okemo. Courtesy photo.