November 30, 2021

Winter resorts stay busy

Skiing, snowboarding popular escapes amid pandemic

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Skiers descend a mountain Saturday at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Virgil. While the pandemic has canceled other forms of entertainment, ski mountains have remained popular places to go.

For Carrie Chavez and her family, skiing this winter has provided a good way to have fun while following COVID-19 safety protocols.

Even with frigid weather Saturday, Chavez and her family hit the slopes at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Virgil for what was estimated was the 13th or 14th time this winter.

“Today’s a good day,” said Chavez, of Ithaca. “Colder than the rest of the year but in general, the winter has sort of been mild, which is a good thing” as to avoid potential spreading of the virus in indoor facilities.

While the pandemic has continued to put other activities on hold, skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor winter activities have remained popular activities.

Drew Broderick, the vice president of sales and marketing for Greek Peak Mountain Resort, said even with reduced capacity mandates in place, “we’ve been very busy.”

Skiing and snowboard lessons have increased over previous years and snow tubing reservations frequently sell out, she said.

Broderick said part of this may be from school sports being canceled, so children have more free time and look for other athletic activities.

“With those sports not happening, we’re seeing those kids, which is nice,” she said.

Even adults who have written off learning how to ski and snowboard in the past are starting to take it up as there are a lack of entertainment opportunities elsewhere, Broderick said.

“We’re seeing people saying, ‘Why not try skiing and snowboarding this season?’” she said.

Kelly Sebastiano of Clyde took up that adventurous spirit by trying snow tubing for the first time Saturday.

“It was really fun,” she said. “I’d suggest everybody do it if they’re looking for something to get out of the house.”

Peter Harris, the owner and operator of Labrador and Song mountain ski centers, said he wasn’t sure if business had increased in terms of the number of skiers and snowboard but “people are anxious to get outside.”

Like Greek Peak, Harris said similar protocols have been put into place at both Song and Labrador mountains and he is looking forward to President’s Day week in February, which usually is a busy week because schools are on break.

As the season is about halfway through, Harris said he’s hoping to continue the good trend.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed for a good finish,” he said.