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So what's going to happen next season?

I think it's going to be busier. Between virtual learning and working at home, I think more people than ever are going to have the opportunity to ski during the week. So I think weekdays will definitely be more crowded. Also in the East, I think fewer people will be flying out west for ski vacations. They'll be more likely to take drivable trips, which means the slopes could be busier especially during holiday times.
I agree that probably there will be more people on the slopes midweek. But not at the same level as the usual weekend in the past few seasons. If that happens, any ski area/resort will have to change their winter operations plan in order to limit access to the lifts, assuming they don't already have a reservation system of some sort in place. Any plan to open is made in cooperation with local health departments. No one, including the resort management, wants to be the first with a positive case among customers.

Any plan also needs to include what happens if an employee or guest tests positive. The experience at Timberline Lodge during the summer was interesting to read. There were a few instances when an employee tested positive. They had stayed home as soon as the had any symptoms, clear contact tracing was done, and info was provided on the website as the situation evolved. I don't have the impression that the slopes or Timberline Lodge was ever closed or that there was any guest put at risk. Certainly no more risk than if a guest had gone to a local shop while staying at the Lodge. The Lodge is only open for guests who have booked rooms. Unlike the normal approach where anyone could visit it like a free museum during daytime hours.

I've been using my annual pass at Biltmore Estate and Gardens all summer since my daughter is in college in Asheville, NC. Last week was busy since fall colors are starting, clearly with many first time guests. But at the same time, the number of tickets to visit the house are severely limited. Timed entry has been used at Biltmore for decades. Once in the house, there are not the usual crowds in the popular rooms. Only 10 people are allowed to view a room at a time, even the very large ones, and there is a staff member keeping watch for every room who encourages people to move along. My daughter and her BF went during the summer since he'd never seen it and she didn't remember going as a kid. I've been people watching the entrance line. Very organized per usual.

Many destination resorts in multiple regions were open for summer operations. Quite a few had chairlifts running for scenic hiking and/or mountain biking. Between the knowledge being shared by ski resort managers from Australia and New Zealand and the summer experiences, N. American ski areas/resorts are not starting from scratch about what changes to make to keep employees and guests safe.

VR's reservation system means that for those resorts, the numbers can be tightly controlled both for Epic holders and day tickets. I see no way that there can be the usual number of people at a resort during any holiday period. Although it was bumpy during the first few weeks at Perisher in Australia in Jun/Jul, afterwards those who had a reservation/ticket had a good time because lines on weekends looked long but moved relatively quickly. Per usual, once away from the base lifts there was hardly any wait at all. Waits at the primary base were shorter than last season. Perisher is like Sunday River in the sense that there are multiple peaks and multiple base lodges, with the ability to ski between them when 100% of the terrain is open, or there is a shuttle bus, or people can park at any base.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
I think it's going to be busier. Between virtual learning and working at home, I think more people than ever are going to have the opportunity to ski during the week. So I think weekdays will definitely be more crowded. Also in the East, I think fewer people will be flying out west for ski vacations. They'll be more likely to take drivable trips, which means the slopes could be busier especially during holiday times.
NOOOOOOOOOOO
 

Olesya Chornoguz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think it's going to be busier. Between virtual learning and working at home, I think more people than ever are going to have the opportunity to ski during the week. So I think weekdays will definitely be more crowded. Also in the East, I think fewer people will be flying out west for ski vacations. They'll be more likely to take drivable trips, which means the slopes could be busier especially during holiday times.
I was thinking about the more remote ski resorts in the West. Meaning ski resorts that are not close to major metro areas like SLC, Seattle and Denver. I doubt those will see increase in skier traffic mid-week.

With the NE that's a good question, there is the proximity to large population centers like Boston and NYC the increase of skier traffic during the week is a possibility. My understanding that ski resorts in NE and everywhere else are implementing capacity limits as @marzNC pointed out above so that would help. I think they have to have those capacity limits in place with the current situation. You don't think that travel restrictions will deter out of state visitors? Or do you think that travel restrictions will be further relaxed?
 
I think it depends on the spread of the virus. They're predicting another wave, starting in November, and if it gets bad again, places will again (or continue) to require negative tests and quarantines, and that will deter out of staters. I doubt travel restrictions will be relaxed, if the numbers keep increasing, and we get the second wave.
 

Olesya Chornoguz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think it depends on the spread of the virus. They're predicting another wave, starting in November, and if it gets bad again, places will again (or continue) to require negative tests and quarantines, and that will deter out of staters. I doubt travel restrictions will be relaxed, if the numbers keep increasing, and we get the second wave.
Yes, I completely agree. I was thinking that too, that the travel restrictions will depend on the infection rates in winter. Several infectious disease experts are predicting they will rise due to people being indoors more and other factors.
 
I was thinking about the more remote ski resorts in the West. Meaning ski resorts that are not close to major metro areas like SLC, Seattle and Denver. I doubt those will see increase in skier traffic mid-week.
I thought that this was going to be a perfect year for hiking and camping in WA's national parks. No cruise ship tourists, no international tourists, and Americans surely wouldn't travel across the country during the pandemic to come to the upper left-hand corner of the US for a vacation, right?

BWAHAHAHA Boy was I wrong. Outdoor vacations were the main kind people took. Everyone had the same idea--that this was a perfect year for that kind of trip. International trips and cruises were cancelled, so everyone needed a Lower 48 destination. National parks were filled with out-of-state plates. Our San Juan Islands, which is about as far NW as you can get in the Lower 48--were packed, despite the fact the state said ferry travel was for essential purposes only. No one cared. They came anyway. It was mobbed out there, weekdays and weekends. It's still, in mid October, unseasonably busy. I was at Mt Rainier on Wednesday and the number of out of state plates was over 50%. Remote parks like Yellowstone--not near any metro area, and with none of the many usual international visitors or tour buses--broke attendance records. Other remote outdoorsy areas, not even in national parks, like the Sawtooths in Idaho, which are normally kind of a secret, underused area, were overwhelmed.

I think it will be the same with skiing. It's all there is to do. What other kind of vacation can people take this winter where they can just get in the car with the family? I think this will be the year that everyone that doesn't know how to ski decides to learn. I have already heard so many people say they are planning to go to a less busy ski area with ski in/out options. I think everyone thinks they are going to beat the crowds that way. Like I mentioned earlier, there are an awful lot of Americans now looking for US alternatives to their usual Canadian destinations.

Of course the places with capacity limits/reservations won't be subject to this, but I think that will just increase pressure on the places that don't have those restrictions. (So Vail might be the sanest place to ski this winter!)

I would LOVE to be wrong about this.
 
places will again (or continue) to require negative tests and quarantines, and that will deter out of staters
I wonder about this. Many western states never did this even when rates were high (I mean, Idaho will never do it). WA never did it, and we took the virus as seriously as any state, maybe more so.

What I've noticed on travel message boards is that people in states that never took the virus particularly seriously--FL, TX, AZ, the South in general--seem to have no clue that other places ARE taking it seriously. When we were still in phase one there were so many questions from travelers from those places about coming to visit Seattle and the PNW. Many were genuinely surprised that restaurants were closed, masks were required, etc. We are in phase 2 now, which I guess we are going to live at forever, and travelers continue to be surprised by this. Maybe some people will be deterred if there are big outbreaks, cases rise, etc, but I think there are an awful lot of people that are either clueless, or don't care.
 
I'm not sure the US ever exited the first wave. :frown:
The situation in the U.S. depends a great deal on the region. Looking at a graph for the entire country isn't that useful. Some places are starting a second wave, some may be on a third, while some are probably just finishing their first wave after having very few cases during thru August. Clearly the situation in the northeast is very different from the southeast or midwest. What's happened in western states is entirely another story even looking at the coastal states versus those in the Rockies.
 

Olesya Chornoguz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I agree that Vail Resorts on Epic pass are probably best prepared with capacity limitations, they also acquired experience operating in current conditions because VR owns ski resorts in Australia.

@Christy One can drive for a day trip to all of the outdoor destinations you listed if you live in WA, correct? So I guess remote is relative if you can drive to it for a day trip. Though obviously Yellowstone is not easily drivable tp for a day trip from any major metro area and if that was packed this summer so I see your point.

I was thinking about destinations that are not easily drivable to for a day trip like Taos and have skier capacity restrictions in place plus travel restrictions as well.

I don't know, I think it's hard to predict what happens.
 
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Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
We had so many issues this summer in the tourist area just south of where I live. I have many relatives that live there permanently. Because of the pandemic, the Provincial Park lower the capacity rate to 1/2. So the park would be closed by 10am on summer weekends. People were lining up super early, just to get in. When they didn't get in, they would park everywhere and anywhere just to get into the water. It was crazy. Lots of private property owners had issues with people parking on their lawns. One of the wineries that is on the Lake had to close as people were using their waterfront to swim. It's ultimately private property. Policing in The County is paid for by the residents. The 2 Provincial parks do not pay taxes. So it should be interesting to see what County Council does over the winter.

Right now I would like to see the people in our red zones be made to stay there, like they are doing in Quebec.
 
I wonder about this. Many western states never did this even when rates were high (I mean, Idaho will never do it). WA never did it, and we took the virus as seriously as any state, maybe more so.
The only state out west with travel restrictions is NM. Well, maybe Kansas but I think of that as being in the midwest. Alaska is quite a different situation and more similar to Hawaii. Although there are some local situations, such as for people who fly into Chicago. Apparently people who fly into Boise are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14-days.

The best summary I've found is in the NY Times, although I like the map that NBC News has. However, NBC News doesn't seem quite as good about keeping up with changes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/travel/state-travel-restrictions.html
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-new...el-restrictions-inside-united-states-n1236157

Screen Shot 2020-10-10 at 12.50.04 PM.png
 
I agree that Vail Resorts on Epic pass are probably best prepared with capacity limitations,
Well I should be good at Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood. Except for 90+% of Silicon Valley is WFH and can do that easily in Tahoe. Thankfully, reservations for skiing will take care of the crowds. I just hope I can get one when I decide to go on the fly....
 
@Christy One can drive for a day trip to all of the outdoor destinations you listed if you live in WA, correct? So I guess remote is relative if you can drive to it. Though obviously Yellowstone is not easily drivable to and if that was packed this summer then I see your point.
Rainier is, but again, it was more than 50% out of state plates even last Wednesday. The Olympic coast and rainforest, which were big destinations for tourists this year, are 4-6 hours from Seattle, so too far for day trips. I was out there quite a bit for work this summer and the out of state plates (and crowds) were significant. Everyone legitimately thought it was the perfect year for a national park road trip.
 
Alaska is quite a different situation and more similar to Hawaii.
AK's requirements are widely known to be unenforced. You can walk right be the people at the airport that are supposed to be making sure everyone has test paperwork, and many do that. Other reports say that the health officials are apathetic and just give the paperwork a cursory glance. HI is the only state doing real enforcement.
 

Olesya Chornoguz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I was thinking about destinations that are not easily drivable to for a day trip like Taos and have skier capacity restrictions in place and plus travel restrictions as well.
I think its going to be the capacity restrictions that make the difference, and I bet that will make it a good experience. In terms of driving I think a resort needs to be out of not just day trip distance but weekend distance too. Thinking about all of the ski areas in ID and MT that people in WA can drive to in 6-8 hours, and will because they can't drive to BC....it's so easy to imagine people taking the longer drives, staying longer and maybe even working a bit from there.
 
Rainier is, but again, it was more than 50% out of state plates even last Wednesday. The Olympic coast and rainforest, which were big destinations for tourists this year, are 4-6 hours from Seattle, so too far for day trips. I was out there quite a bit for work this summer and the out of state plates (and crowds) were significant. Everyone legitimately thought it was the perfect year for a national park road trip.
Yep. I was surprised that a family with parents who are visiting scholars in NC for 2020 drove all the way from NC to CA during the summer. They have a couple sons who are in elementary school. So the idea of studying in the U.S. for a year was to let them experience traveling in America. They were clearly very careful and had little trouble keeping healthy.
 

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