What’s a skier or snowboarder to do when winter storms are dumping snow in various parts of the country making for prime early season conditions when, on the other hand, government and health officials are urging Americans not to travel and just stay home? Perhaps this question is similar to investing: It all depends on one’s tolerance level for risk.
Most areas of the country are getting snow. For a humorous overview of what currently is happening in the snow sports world, tune into Halley O’Brien’s The Snow Report.
The behemoth storm may be a mixed blessing according to the Northeast Skiology Group’s Skiology Matt. He has an insightful post regarding conditions in that part of the country and what skiers and snowboarders might expect after the “big dump” that hit mid-week. The Facebook post is called “What to Expect at Big Resorts This Weekend”. It is worth a read.
Further south, nearly all Pennsylvania ski areas are opening this weekend joining four – Blue Mountain, Jack Frost, Blue Knob and Seven Springs – that previously had opened. This past week’s storm dumped more than 12 inches on parts of the state. It was “icing on the cake” making for some good early conditions, according to officials at the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association. Most of the openings had been planned in advance.
While PA resorts are opening, restaurant services are not. On December 10, PA Governor Tom Wolf mandated that all restaurant service – indoor and outdoor – be suspended due to high Covid numbers in the state. Wolf himself tested positive for Covid. Resorts are coping by focusing on “Grab N Go food and food trucks, according to Irvin.
Pennsylvania is lucky in that the state primarily is a “drive-to” market with 50% of its 2.4 million skier visits coming from within the state. That is not necessarily the case for a state like Vermont that has a large “drive to” market but from out of state or such as major Western resorts that rely on “fly in” business. As has been reported, Vermont has one of the strictest Covid policies in the country and parts of Colorado are also cracking down.
Ski Area Management’s web site saminfo.com is reporting that western resort bookings are down during November. The culprit is surging pandemic and resort capacity limits combined to negatively impact lodging reservations from out-of-towner and, up until recently, a lack of natural snow. The situation apparently did not deter locals who flocked to popular destination resorts and created visuals of long lift lines resulting from Covid restrictions and limited open terrain.
One of Colorado’s most popular destination resorts – Aspen – is requiring visitors to prove a negative test for Covid or face a 10 day quarantine, according to several news reports.