October 24, 2021

Amid virus, ski resorts ready to adapt this winter season

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Wesley Kryger, the president of Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Virgil, shows COVID-19 guideline signs Saturday that will be installed. Various safety changes will be made prior to the opening of the ski and snowboarding season anticipated for early December.

The weather is getting colder and the leaves are all but gone from the trees.

The snow may not be here, yet, but winter is coming and with that comes skiing and snowboarding season.

Ski resorts like Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Virgil are getting ready for their season, which may look and operate differently than past years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We understand this is going to be a very fluid session and we’re prepared to make those shifts that we need to,” said Drew Broderick, the vice president of marketing and sales.

Several changes will be implemented before the planned opening of the season of Dec. 12, President Wesley Kryger said.

These include:

  • 70 new snowmaking guns.
  • Required face coverings everywhere except when eating or skiing/snowboarding.
  • Reduced capacity in all dining areas.
  • Requiring guests store items in their cars unless a daily locker pass is purchased.
  • Limits on the number of riders on a lift and not having unrelated parties ride together.
  • Opening two outdoor ticket windows.
  • Having a grab-and-go option for food at the outdoor Waffle Shack.
  • Encouraging buying passes online as a means of contact tracing in case of an exposure

“I think the guests and customers are getting used to the fact that there are changes they have to adhere to,” Kryger said. “I do think it’ll take some time to get them all in the groove of it.”

Additionally, lessons for children ages 3 to 6 will now all be private, Broderick said.

Other ski and snowboard resorts in the area also expect changes.

At Song Mountain and Labrador Mountain, guests will have to remain 6 feet apart and unrelated parties will ride as singles only, according to a September letter by Peter Harris, the president of both ski and snowboard mountains.

Private lessons are also recommended to be scheduled in advance.

Harris could not be reached for comment about when the mountains would open for the season.

“Bottom line … Just enjoy our beautiful CNY winter (lake effect and all) outdoors skiing and snow-boarding,” Harris said in the letter. “There’s really nothing else to do!”

While there are many changes in place, both Broderick and Kryger said they think the lack of open entertainment venues elsewhere and concerns of contracting the virus will lead to an uptick in people skiing or snowboarding or learning how to do so.

“I think it’s going to be really nice to see people who don’t typically come out and find it’s quite enjoyable to be outside,” Broderick said.

Kryger said it may be comparable to the summer, which saw a large increase in people taking advantage of the resort’s mountain bike trails.

“That business was definitely better this summer than others and we kind of expect that this winter,” he said.