Last week, Winter Park Resort in Colorado reported that 109 employees tested positive for COVID. Currently, that is the most of any Colorado resort. Apparently, the outbreak was due to “employee housing” issues such as socializing while off the job and not via interactions with guests.
The ski season in Colorado is in full swing. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and environment, other resorts have also reported Covid-19 cases. But, the outbreak at Winter Park is currently the largest, according to CDPHE data.
For years, large destination-type resorts have been struggling with how and where to house relatively low-paying employees at resorts that attract a “high-end” clientele. This is just a new wrinkle. Some may be better at it than others.
For example, Colorado’s Keystone ( a Vail Resorts property) makes it very clear what the COVID conditions and and protocol are regarding the issue. In a normal year, few would give the topic a second look. But, in a COVID year, it is important to think everything through. In the case of Winter Park, that includes where employees live and what their do when not on the job. Same applies to other resorts as well.
Keystone and other Summit County resorts, such as Breckenridge. (both are Vail Resorts properties) had experienced a rash of COVID outbreaks in January. So far, February has been relatively quiet. When not teaching, PSIA instructors at Breckenridge are expected to help monitor lines to make sure skiers and snowboarders are wearing masks that cover the nose and mount, according to one New Jersey to Colorado transplant who is spending the winter there rather than try and deal with a New Jersey to Vermont trip that likely would ampler with Vermont’s strict regulations.
And, although COVID cases seem to be on the decline, some “ski states” continue to have stricter guidelines than others and the situation is ever-changing. Representative from two East Coast states on a recent Podcast echoed what ski resort personnel is telling everyone – plan ahead and do your homework.
Due to COVID, long lift lines at ski resorts have become legend this winter at destination areas, especially on weekends, a fact that has some locals grumbling. Resorts that require lift ticket and parking reservations seem to be faring better in regard to limiting crowd sizes.