OFF TOPIC The COVID-19 virus hits the Vermont ski industry

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OFF TOPIC The COVID-19 virus hits the Vermont ski industry

Post: # 23093Post admin
Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:19 pm

In case you are wondering, there may or may not be a ski season as you know it. At the very least it will be very different. Ski areas are facing three problems:

Finding skiers who don't need to quarantine because they live in a area of the northeastern US that has a low infection rate. The problem is compounded because areas declared acceptable can suddenly change to unacceptable making it virtually impossible to make an advanced booking. Vemont ski areas rety heavily on key markets such as the Boston area, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. For a resort like Jay Peak, or Stowe which rely a lot on Canadian skiers, the problems are even worse, because the border is going to remain closed to non essential travel, at least for the forseeable future. The border will only open when infection rates in both countries are reduced substantially. Jay Peak has applied for a PPP loan and says it may have to close if it doesn't get it.

Ski areas are finding it almost impossible to find employees to run many of their services at very low wage rates. Normally ski areas rely on foreign students, but Trump has banned them from coming to the U.S. Ski areas like Mount Snow in southern Vermont are already warning that they may not be able to fully open without those low cost employees.

Reduced occupancy: Vermont lodging establishments, including ski areas are severely limited on how many people they can accomodate. Social distancing rules also apply including a requirement that customers register full contact and health information in case tracing has to be implemented. Ski areas say they will fully comply but it remains to be seen how you police a ski area for masks and social distancing. Young people in other parts of the country have shown little willingness to comply.

Some politicians have suggested that Vermonters will fill the void, but with so many out of work, who can afford a $100 ski ticket.



Advise: Don't make any bookings and wait to see what happens. The situation could change, like a recent incident in Killington. At least 14 people tested positive after attending a private party at the Summit Lodge. There were only about 45 people attending. Still, it just goes to show that whenever people gather together, whether on a quad chair lift, a lift line, or cafeteria, the chances are that the infection will erupt. It is entirely posible that there will be very little skiing in Vermont this winter so hang on to your money!


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