Ski industry forced to jump through many hoops to stay open

Vermont’s ski industry faces an unprecedented test this winter as COVID-focused government seems determined to impose burdensome restrictions on resort operators.

According to new “Be Smart, Stay Safe” guidelines, when an out-of-state traveler arrives in Vermont, the first thing he or she must do is stay inside and not leave for two weeks: “All travelers must quarantine for 14 days — or you have the option to end your quarantine after 7 days if you have not had COVID-19 symptoms, take a PCR test and receive a negative test result.”

Face coverings must be worn at ski areas, except when seated with one’s traveling party and eating or drinking, and everyone must stay six feet apart while maneuvering through the lodges, restaurants and other attractions.

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SKI THIS YEAR?:  While resorts will be open this year, visitors will have to follow mask and distancing requirements and out-of-state visitors are expected to quarantine for two weeks.

Those who have had contact with anyone exhibiting one of COVID-19’s extensive range of common symptoms are advised to not visit resorts, and “tailgating, aprés-ski and other non-physically-distanced gatherings are to be avoided before, during and after skiing this season,” the guidelines state.

Sugarbush Inn’s public relations representative, John Bleh, told TNR that he’s encouraging visitors to follow the guidelines so the ski season can proceed.

“You need to abide by these quarantine guidelines,” he said. “It’s not impossible, especially if you work at home. You can do seven days and a negative test, or you can do 14 days without the test. You can do it in your own home — it’s just 14 days that you have to stay home and quarantine before you can come up and ski.”

Bleh said that all the sections where people hang out are going to be limited in capacity in keeping with state guidelines. For example, restaurants are capped at 50 percent capacity. Also, the only time people can expect to be mask-free is when they are actively going down the slopes or sitting down to have food or drink.

He said the various entrances and exits across the resort had to be reconfigured so that people can move around while maintaining distance. In addition, Sugarbush owners put a large investment toward outdoor heating so that people can choose to sit outside, all along the sides of the lodges, even in the wintery weather.

“We’ve invested in a bunch of outdoor heaters,” Bleh said, adding that dining will rely on “grab-and-go,” even though tables may still be reserved.

Despite the challenges and rules, Bleh said resorts are coping well so far.

“It’s not terrible,” he said. “Yes, there’s some investment to be made in signage and these heaters and things like that. The biggest part is really just being able to get these protocols in place and then educating people — that’s kind of the hardest part.

While hyping the dangers of coronavirus, Vermont’s Department of Tourism and Marketing will spend $6.5 million of its federal CARES Act money on promoting tourism in Vermont.

One of the ads put out by the state shows the beautiful scenery of Vermont and then reads in capital letters across the bottom: “QUARANTINE REQUIRED. KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU VISIT.”

Elsewhere in the nation, tourism is taking a big hit during the lockdowns. In lockdown-heavy California, about 4 in 10 jobs lost are from the hospitality industry, and revenue is expected to drop by half for the year. Other impacts include a drop in travel revenue by 54 percent.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Public domain

6 thoughts on “Ski industry forced to jump through many hoops to stay open

  1. My question is this.
    Do all the people in the government, and their Karen workerbees that are wiping out the states businesses actually remember that they live here too?

    Do THEY actually want to also live in the fallout of what they’ve done to the state?
    Do the beautiful people that work within the gubbamint want to live somewhere where there are no restaurants, bars,bookstores, antiques shops, hair salons, schools, colleges, skiing and things to do?
    A place that looks like a wasteland because no one has jobs or money to maintain anything?
    Is this what they want?

    You have failed schools so now you have more desperation and crime.
    Does this sound like where they want to live?
    Because being in this together, they are going to be stuck in it all too.

    So again, do THEY want to also live in what THEY are creating for a home and a life out here?
    I hate to remind them of what Detroit *used to be* and what it is now.
    If they don’t think that could happen to the whole state then they aren’t too bright.

  2. Hey — AllsIKnow is that they are chomping at the bit — At Bolton Valley folks have already started climbing up to be there for the first run. As Lindsay DesLauriers says “Safety&Survival” — let the games begin. Good season to all!

  3. May we see a list of where our Vermont state government has cut spending since Covid began to make the property taxes bearable and living in Vermont more financially inviting for homeowners and businesses alike? Any list…any where?

  4. $6.5 million dollars pissed away in order to attract more Covid positive flatlanders to Vermont. Any damned fool with even a half ounce of common sense knows that 90 percent of our southern neighbors will not abide by quarantine laws anymore than they do turn signal and speed limit laws. Meanwhile native Vermonters are hunkered down trying to do the right thing as the virus spreads like wildfire through no fault of their own. On top of that the state is already talking about an enormous property tax increase next year to cover shortfalls. 6.5 million would go a long way towards covering that deficit. Let the ski areas pay for their own advertising!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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