New York’s Hunter Mountain reopened on January 8 after being closed for four days due to Covid-related issues that affected personnel. Hunter administration said that, “due to a number of ski patrollers excluded out of work because of COVID-19, operations were affected”. Hunter is owned by Vail Resorts.
Earlier in the week, Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said he was unsure how many cases are linked to the resort.
Linger was not aware of any plans to offer on-site testing at the resort. On the other hand, Vermont is now treating ski patrol as first responders in their vaccine rollout and has already inoculated many of them, according to VTDigger.
Covid restrictions and repercussions also have affected the product side of the snow sports industry. North America’s largest product B to B show – formerly known as the Outdoor Retailer (OR) Snow Show – went virtual this year. The in person trade show was scheduled for January 27 – 29. Instead, In its place, Winter Online kicked off on January 6 with a “keynote presentation” and extends to March 19. It is a hybrid virtual event for product reviews and educational seminars and it typically had been held at the Denver Convention Center.
The Eastern Winter Sports Reps Association (EWSRA), 360 Adventure Collective 360 (formerly New England Winter Reps) and the Western Winter Sports Reps Association (WWSRA) have had to cancel indoor shows and outdoor demos.
EWSRA cancelled its December show at the NJ Convention and Expo Center in Edison, NJ, its January 25 – 28 Winter Sports Mart at the Kalahari Convention Center in the Poconos (PA) and its on-snow demo at Stratton in Vermont February 2 – 4.
The Collective’s January 27 – 29 show at the The DCU Center in Worcester was cancelled. The Center now will be utilized by the State of Massachusetts as a temporary hospital as a precaution in case there is a surge of COVID-19 cases due to the Holidays and Winter Season. The group also cancelled its on-snow demo at Pico in Vermont. The group says that the demo will return in 2022, according to their web site. Vermont, site of the two demos, has one of the strictest Covid restrictions mandates in the country. Their New Hampshire demo at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire is still on.
The Western Winter Sports Reps Association has cancelled all of its indoor and outdoor shows except its Intermountain expo in Salt Lake City January 12 – 14 and its Rocky Mountain expo in Denver January 26 – 28.
It is at these shows and demos that snow sports retailers from all over the country preview and decide on what products they will carry for the following winter. A recent article in Snews indicates that retailers will be anxious to return to live presentations when it is safe. Product sales have been robust this year despite the effects of the pandemic.