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First Day Reports, 2020

#22
Not their opening day (that was Monday), but I skied Sunday River today and the snow was FABULOUS. Oh my goodness, such great conditions even though it was misty rain and low visibility sometimes. That didn’t matter though, you didn’t need to see this snow to ski it. There was also almost no one at the mountain, so could ski right onto the lifts and really open it up on the empty trails. Most of the open trails were groomed, so they were just soft hero snow. Two had snowmaking whales on them, one was a bit sticky but the other (Monday Mourning) opened mid-morning and it was so much fun I had to do it 3 times in a row! :ski:

Today was my first time using RFID at Sunday River and that went well, no issues at all. Something of note was that one liftie mentioned that while it’s not busy it’s totally fine to ride the lifts solo (this was at a quad) that when things pickup they’ll be loading 2 singles on opposite ends of the chairs. Not sure if this carries over to the triples as well or not. I think I’d be more comfortable with the quad than a triple myself, but we’ll see where that goes. They were also trying to train people to wait outside of the gates for others in your group and only enter the line at all once everyone is gathered to keep things as clear as possible in front of the RFID gates. I think it’s smart that they’re starting that now.

So no Covid operation surprises. I didn’t enter the lodge at all so not sure if anything was notable there. For the most part I didn’t see anything concerning in terms of people masking and distancing in line and the base area. All of that went well. I saw a couple of noses, but that’s it. People definitely pulled their masks down while on the lift and while skiing until getting close to the line, which I’m fine with. It was chilly enough that I actually kept mine up most times on the lift or I’d breath freely a little and then pull it back up.

It was just an all around awesome day! I skied from ~8:45am-1:00pm and then headed back to the condo for a hot shower and Thanksgiving Turkey. I could definitely do this every year for the holiday..:bounce:

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#25
Tremblant opened today. I dithered a lot about going but decided to give it a try and see how things are working. I just skied the morning as I had stuff this afternoon, but it was pretty darn good. Very limited terrain, of course, but the snow was good, weather mild, lifts uncrowded, and everyone seemed (more or less) properly masked. And I remembered how to ski (which at my age is a GOOD THING)! What I hadn't remembered, however, was to have my skis tuned. The season ended so abruptly - I think I kept hoping it might resume. Anyway, forgot about my skis.
 
#26
... What I hadn't remembered, however, was to have my skis tuned. The season ended so abruptly - I think I kept hoping it might resume. Anyway, forgot about my skis.
Thanks for the reminder!
 
#27
I had a great first day at Northstar today! Stuff seems to be managed extremely well; they've shut down the satellite Castle Peak lot and are directing everyone to the Village View lots that don't need a shuttle.

I arrived around 9:30 and didn't have to wait in line to go up the gondola; I actually got a cabin to myself, so no COVID concerns there.

Lines looked longer than they were due to spacing; I don't think I spent more than 5 minutes waiting at any point. Lifties were directing singles to sit together at opposite ends of four-person chairs, which felt fine to me given that everyone was masked. I didn't see any pressure from other skiers to merge non-household groups.

I think I only saw one person the whole day who wasn't wearing a mask, and she was just in the parking lot. I did overhear one staff member direct a skier to put their mask on and backed it up with "we want a full season, not like last year, and masks are how we're going to make that happen," and I heard numerous instances of staff members thanking skiers for wearing masks.

The snow was fine. Most of it was standard humanmade; a bit of a crust earlier in the day and drifts of snow by mid to late afternoon. Coverage in some areas was sparse but manageable.

Lunch was managed really well. I think I spent 5 minutes total inside getting food before heading back out. Space on the patio mid mountain was definitely at a premium, though, but I didn't see anyone forced to eat on the snow. It honestly makes me wonder if Vail calibrated reservation capacity based on dining estimates.

Anyway, will post a separate thread with more about the actual skiing later, but a good first day, all-in-all! I feel a bit more confident that we can manage to have a safe ski season.

Edited to add: Northstar is not currently operating day lockers, so be aware of that. Bring yourself and what you need that'll fit comfortably in your pockets (or backpack if you like).
 
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#28
I had a great first day at Northstar today! Stuff seems to be managed extremely well; they've shut down the satellite Castle Peak lot and are directing everyone to the Village View lots that don't need a shuttle.

I arrived around 9:30 and didn't have to wait in line to go up the gondola; I actually got a cabin to myself, so no COVID concerns there.

Lines looked longer than they were due to spacing; I don't think I spent more than 5 minutes waiting at any point. Lifties were directing singles to sit together at opposite ends of four-person chairs, which felt fine to me given that everyone was masked. I didn't see any pressure from other skiers to merge non-household groups.

I think I only saw one person the whole day who wasn't wearing a mask, and she was just in the parking lot. I did overhear one staff member direct a skier to put their mask on and backed it up with "we want a full season, not like last year, and masks are how we're going to make that happen," and I heard numerous instances of staff members thanking skiers for wearing masks.

The snow was fine. Most of it was standard humanmade; a bit of a crust earlier in the day and drifts of snow by mid to late afternoon. Coverage in some areas was sparse but manageable.

Lunch was managed really well. I think I spent 5 minutes total inside getting food before heading back out. Space on the patio mid mountain was definitely at a premium, though, but I didn't see anyone forced to eat on the snow. It honestly makes me wonder if Vail calibrated reservation capacity based on dining estimates.

Anyway, will post a separate thread with more about the actual skiing later, but a good first day, all-in-all! I feel a bit more confident that we can manage to have a safe ski season.

Edited to add: Northstar is not currently operating day lockers, so be aware of that. Bring yourself and what you need that'll fit comfortably in your pockets (or backpack if you like).
Sounds like a great time! Glad you had a good day back on snow and are feeling more confident about the season!

About the same as my experience overall with lifts. There were enough people today that when I was riding solo later in the day they were pairing up singles on opposite ends of the quad. No problem there, my seat mates kept masks up etc. For triple lifts no one managed boarding in that way, and I always rode alone there.
 
#29
We had an attempted first day at Killington today, but the parking shuttle arrangement did not strike me as COVID-safe or at least within my personal comfort level.

We pulled in around 9:45 and the K-1 lot was full, so we had to park in a lot that requires a closed-air bus shuttle. The shuttle itself looked pretty full to my COVID-agoraphobic eyes... my guess was that it was probably half capacity, but even half capacity in a closed bus is too much for me. There was another Vermont truck in front of us that did the same thing — he turned right around when he saw the parking situation.

The lot had many non-Vermont plates and while it’s very possible that many of these were people who had quarantined prior to coming, the woman working at Darkside Snowboards said that she had a number of out-of-state customers say “See you next weekend!”

So, for now, no Killington for me unless I get there early enough to avoid the parking shuttle. I understand that this may strike some as xenophobic but the reality is that the ambient level of COVID is significantly higher outside of Vermont (even with our recent surge) and I didn’t feel the need to expose myself that situation.
 
#30
First day for the family at Snowmass yesterday, limited terrain but my kids are 4 (second season) and 7 (third season) so we were going to be on the beginner terrain for the whole day anyway. Kids passes were mailed to us a few weeks ago and my pass along with DH were just reactivated online, so touchless experience in terms of getting our passes. Parking situation was ok at the garage, will be the only time during the season we do that. Next week we'll be taking public transit from the free lots.

Saw masks on all Skico employees, there were quite a number of resort guests walking around base village without masks though.

Gondola access was good, we got there at about 0930h (gondola starts turning at 0900h), we got the whole gondola to ourselves, the employees were keeping parties separate. Windows were open on every gondola as well.

Elk Camp only had the beginner runs open which was perfect for us to ease the kids back into it before their lessons start next week. Lifties at Skico are always fantastic, slowing the chair lift for the kids and lifting my little guy up, high fives and fist bumps all around.

Beginner area was full of accents from different countries (we heard Italian, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese), some wearing masks while skiing, others not. I hope that they put them on in the lift line.

Beginner area is always a risk, my little guy basically got cut off by a lady who was obviously out of control and he fell, but otherwise he was ok, just shook up a bit. Once more terrain opens up it will be better. Good reminder for my kids to "always stay in control" and keep your eyes peeled for others.

Lunch I posted about in the lunchtime thread. Seems to have good protocols in place, we felt comfortable inside eating at a table. Outside seemed to have less social distancing with the tables but inside there was a max capacity and tables were spread apart appropriately.

We left the Elk Camp area and decided to take one run down off Village Express mid-station. Lines were spread apart side to side, but people were still pretty close front to back, everyone wearing masks there. I did hear one girl who was skiing solo ask if she could go on the lift by herself and they said they could, so that was nice to hear especially since the chairlift is a 6-pack!

We left at 1430h and could tell that there was more mask leniency in the base village area by that time. Plenty of tourists not even bothering from what I could tell.

Not quite sure what the rest of the season will hold but I think Skico may have a harder time as the numbers start going up. Foreign tourists are their bread and butter for money making and it may be hard to get good mask compliance without taking the risk that you upset them! I anticipate if our numbers keep going up they may have to institute a reservation system...but, I definitely give them kudos for everything they have instituted so far!

It was really nice to get out on the slopes though. Kids have lessons starting next week with Aspen Valley Ski Club, so much harder for social distancing with the kids, but at least the AVSC lessons are only with local kids, they are kept separate from people from abroad.
 

StayWarm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#31
We had an attempted first day at Killington today, but the parking shuttle arrangement did not strike me as COVID-safe or at least within my personal comfort level.

We pulled in around 9:45 and the K-1 lot was full, so we had to park in a lot that requires a closed-air bus shuttle. The shuttle itself looked pretty full to my COVID-agoraphobic eyes... my guess was that it was probably half capacity, but even half capacity in a closed bus is too much for me. There was another Vermont truck in front of us that did the same thing — he turned right around when he saw the parking situation.

The lot had many non-Vermont plates and while it’s very possible that many of these were people who had quarantined prior to coming, the woman working at Darkside Snowboards said that she had a number of out-of-state customers say “See you next weekend!”

So, for now, no Killington for me unless I get there early enough to avoid the parking shuttle. I understand that this may strike some as xenophobic but the reality is that the ambient level of COVID is significantly higher outside of Vermont (even with our recent surge) and I didn’t feel the need to expose myself that situation.
I hear you on this -- I am also quite nervous about the parking shuttles here in Colorado. What we've been doing is showing up later in the day (around noon) -- so far, that has meant that we've been able to pull into parking slots quite close to the lifts that are left open when an early morning skier finishes up for the day. Might be an option for you?
 
#32
I hear you on this -- I am also quite nervous about the parking shuttles here in Colorado. What we've been doing is showing up later in the day (around noon) -- so far, that has meant that we've been able to pull into parking slots quite close to the lifts that are left open when an early morning skier finishes up for the day. Might be an option for you?
That’s a good idea! I wonder how it would work - Killington does seem to be very on-point on the parking reservations, so it’s a shame that there is this weak link in their COVID precautions. Luckily, once Sugarbush is open, it’ll be a non-issue for me... I could roll out of bed at 7:15 in time for first chair. :smile:
 
#33
That’s a good idea! I wonder how it would work - Killington does seem to be very on-point on the parking reservations, so it’s a shame that there is this weak link in their COVID precautions. Luckily, once Sugarbush is open, it’ll be a non-issue for me... I could roll out of bed at 7:15 in time for first chair. :smile:
Last week I left my house at 5:30 am to go sit in line for 2.5 hours to get tested ahead of going to Maine to ski! Get there earlier girl! Lol I got there at 6am for an 8am open and I was like the 50th car in line..! I can’t imagine ever rolling up to a ski area on a weekend at almost 10am ever and expecting a close spot, don’t they open at 8am today?? You are competing for spots with people who are doing the above to drive up there they are going to get there early and get a spot most certainly.

At Sunday River people did this and were upset when it took an hour+ in line to pick up their season passes.. Meanwhile I went before the lifts opened my first day out and it took me 10 mins and was easy peasy. I think the name of the game this season is to get places ahead of opening if you want to have less to worry about with other people. No different than hiking trail heads this summer, they were filling up way earlier than usual with people trying to get spots and avoid the later crowds.
 
#34
So, for now, no Killington for me unless I get there early enough to avoid the parking shuttle. I understand that this may strike some as xenophobic but the reality is that the ambient level of COVID is significantly higher outside of Vermont (even with our recent surge) and I didn’t feel the need to expose myself that situation.
I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to be cautious. It is clear that no matter where people come from, plenty of them are still running around (or getting on lift lines) without a mask. Not to mention the folks wearing it under their nose.*

And the bus situation sounds ridiculous. That’s quite clearly not safe if you’re on the bus for more than 10-15 minutes. If everyone is masked and they open some windows, that’s a huge improvement. (For crying out loud. You get people out of the lodge and then stick them on a bus!)

The odds of contagion from unmasked others skiing by are very low. Outdoors, very brief proximity.

It’s not xenophobic. It’s being cautious. Dr. Pugs and you are an influence on my thinking, and there are always situations that aren’t accounted for in the basic public health advice. OTOH, we all know that getting outside and skiing will lift our moods, help us keep in shape, and be a little bit social. All of which will boost our immune systems. So getting out to ski is important too.

*My 18-month-old granddaughter remembers not to let her mask slip under her nose. Come on, people! Wear your masks! (Shouted to the masses, not targeting Divas!)
 
#35
Taught opening day, and the next two, at Jackson Hole. They surprised us by opening more lifts than were planned. Not the best opening day, but close! Feeling lucky. No new storms on the horizon, but it is still early season. The snow was soft, and the man made that they always make was very well groomed.
 
#36
I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to be cautious. It is clear that no matter where people come from, plenty of them are still running around (or getting on lift lines) without a mask. Not to mention the folks wearing it under their nose.*)
At Sunday River yesterday the lifties were calling people out, including with masks below their nose coming into line. Is it perfect? No. We are only on like day 7 of opening though, and the poor liftie told me he’s already been called every name in the book because of it which shocked me (even though it really shouldn’t). I thanked him for being vigilant. When I look around though, it’s pretty darn good and I think consistently reminding people early season will help train people as we go on. We can’t assume someone is being a jerk because they pull up with their mask down to the line, it’s just not second nature while skiing yet. Especially with pretty warm temperatures. I did it a few times and then was oh crap and pulled it up as I was gliding into line. I chastised myself before anyone else even noticed, it’s just easy to be breathing a little hard after a bump run and not think about it as quickly as needed.

Today I tried out my Ski the East mask and didn’t feel the need to pull my mask down while skiing at all, super breathable and comfy so that’s a major plus and will help greatly. If I don’t need to pull it down while skiing I have less of a chance of forgetting to pull it back up. I have another couple on order so hope they come soon. I also got one yesterday from Sunday River that appears to be the same construction though a little larger than my youth STE one.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#39
We had an attempted first day at Killington today, but the parking shuttle arrangement did not strike me as COVID-safe or at least within my personal comfort level.

We pulled in around 9:45 and the K-1 lot was full, so we had to park in a lot that requires a closed-air bus shuttle. The shuttle itself looked pretty full to my COVID-agoraphobic eyes... my guess was that it was probably half capacity, but even half capacity in a closed bus is too much for me. There was another Vermont truck in front of us that did the same thing — he turned right around when he saw the parking situation.

The lot had many non-Vermont plates and while it’s very possible that many of these were people who had quarantined prior to coming, the woman working at Darkside Snowboards said that she had a number of out-of-state customers say “See you next weekend!”

So, for now, no Killington for me unless I get there early enough to avoid the parking shuttle. I understand that this may strike some as xenophobic but the reality is that the ambient level of COVID is significantly higher outside of Vermont (even with our recent surge) and I didn’t feel the need to expose myself that situation.
Once Bear opens, park over there, instead. It's a lot easier to walk to the lift from the lot, and it's not as busy.
 

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