As the days get shorter and summer starts to wind down, the prospect of what the 2021 ski season will hold is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. While many ski resorts around North America welcome visitors for their summer operations, the concern is centered around the high number of people drawn to the mountains in the winter. With COVID-19 safety procedures and requirements at hand, how will local ski areas handle the unpredictable season ahead?
While the issue at hand with the ongoing pandemic is affecting all ski resorts, many of the smaller, local operations are relying heavily on their winter season. Wolf Creek Ski Area, in particular, is proactively planning their reopening for the upcoming season. The small, off the beaten path resort located in southwest Colorado, is afraid they will be grouped in with the bigger ski areas that serve the more populated Front Range and be forced to close.
As part of an effort to dispute this, Wolf Creek is conducting a survey to acquire feedback from frequent visitors, as well as providing information regarding safety procedures and changes in place. The hope is to share the survey results with Governor Jared Polis to convince him and state regulators that despite the larger ski resorts, Wolf Creek operates on a much smaller scale and can do so safely. With the modest mountain’s model of low skier density and reliance solely on lift tickets, this puts them in a particularly vulnerable place financially.
Wolf Creek has been working to develop plans for reopening with San Juan Basin Public health, as well as county officials. Hoping to avoid last-minute decisions, the ski industry as a whole is stressing the need for early and diligent communications from the Governor’s office. While it is still a work in progress, loyal Wolf Creek visitors should expect modifications such as reservations, limited lift capacity, sneeze guards, and social distancing.