Covid Update #4
Photo NY Magazine, David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock
February 15, 2021
You don’t need us to tell you the damn virus is still with us. And surprise surprise, the ski industry continues to struggle with it. The good news is that generally we have been able to avoid large outbreaks such as the ones that closed the resorts nationwide last March 14/15. We at conSKIerge had even started to hope the ski industry would be able to go largely unscathed for the winter. However, there are recent signs of concern, even as overall cases in the United States continue to plummet.
Perhaps most troubling are recent Covid spikes in Colorado resorts. Winter Park has perhaps been the hardest hit with a significant outbreak in the last week. See the report from the Denver Post – Winter Park Covid Outbreak. While Winter Park’s situation is perhaps the most serious, Copper, Vail, Steamboat and Breckenridge have all had to deal with recent outbreaks. See Mercury News CO Covid Report. If there is a silver lining to these flare ups, both the resorts and regulators have stated that the primary issues are within the resort staff and not within the tourist population. Apparently off duty activities (read – parties) and staff housing seem to be the primary sources. It is too early to tell in some cases though to what extent the tourist population has been infected.
Speaking of resort workers and tourists…there have always been tensions between locals who call a ski town/resort home and the tourists who visit these “homes.” It’s the classic love/hate relationship; a can’t live with em, can’t live without em thing. Jackson/Jackson Hole is perhaps the “poster boy” in the industry on these issues. And Covid has certainly heightened these tensions. See Time – What America’s Richest Ski Town’s Handling of COVID-19 Says About the Country for an interesting take on this.
Not that those of us in the US can travel to Europe to ski this season, but we will note that Western Europe continues to struggle with Covid issues. While Austria has allowed resorts to operate, they have announced a 10 day lockdown for the entire area of Tyrol, the location of several major resorts. France has yet to allow the lifts to operate, and Italy was allowing certain areas to open only as of February 15 but has now shifted that date to March 5th. See Daily Beast – It’s Ski Week.
Covid has brought together some strange partners, but MIT and Alta might be among the most unique Covid “partnerships.” Turns out that a group of brainiacs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management worked with the town of Alta in the fall of 2020 to analyze how the town could best approach Covid during the ski season. You can review a synopsis of this study released by the Salt Lake Tribune here SLT Summary of MIT Study.
We will leave you with hope. We know you have been worried about where ski lifts go to die. Read Old Ski Gondolas Find New Life as Private Dining Rooms to find out how Covid is responsible for saving some old gondolas.
Ski Well and Mask Up