CONWAY, NH (October 2, 2020)—This afternoon the Reopening Guidance for NH Ski Areas was released by the Office of Governor Sununu, and ski areas around the state are looking forward to continuing to develop their operating plans for this year around the guidance provided.
“The draft guidance that we submitted and presented to the Governor’s Reopening Task Force was put together with input and consensus across our ski area members. It’s been a real team effort and I’m very proud of the work that our re-opening committee and ski area members have been able to accomplish together,” said Jessyca Keeler, President of Ski New Hampshire. “The approved guidance takes the health and safety of our guests and staff seriously, and with additional input from the Department of Public Health, we’re confident that we have a guidance document that will lead us through this very different upcoming ski season.”
The COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for NH Ski Areas will be implemented statewide and includes guidance for staff and guests alike to wear face coverings inside buildings (except when eating or drinking); in lift lines and mazes as well as when loading, riding, and unloading from lifts; and in other places where 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be achieved. Resorts will implement enhanced cleaning regimens, implement employee protocols (many of which have been in place since summer operations began), chairlift rides will only group families and those who have traveled together, ski areas will shift to more online ticket sales to avoid lines and in-person transactions at ticket windows, and there will be physical distancing requirements and capacity controls within lodges and other indoor facilities. These adaptations and others will be common across the state’s ski areas and should provide a baseline of what guests should expect at any given area.
In addition to topics in the guidance that address ski-area specific operations such as chairlifts and lodges, other existing guidance is referenced that will be followed, including the NH Universal Guidance and guidance for the Food Service Industry, Child Care, Retail Stores, Amateur & Youth Sports, NH Performing Arts Venues, and various CDC guidance.
“Since March, our team has been meeting to review and analyze each facet of the resort. Given the diversity of our business, the guidance put forth by the Governor’s Economic Reopening Taskforce has been essential to helping us operate safely this summer and fall. As we transition to winter, the health and safety of our team members, guests and community continue to be at the forefront and this ski-area-specific guidance will further drive each decision we make. Loon is excited to welcome skiers and riders back to the mountain this winter, but we must all act responsibly and work together to ensure that is winter does not get interrupted. We’re in this together,” said Jay Scambio President and General Manager, Loon Mountain Resort.
“NH ski area operators are used to stepping up and dealing with adversity and this year, for sure, it’s pronounced. With that said, we think we have a winning formula of guests that are super conscientious, a sport that is primarily based outdoors in the crisp mountain air, and some of the most thorough, well thought out plans—that deal with ski areas specifics—I have ever seen. I am genuinely giddy to get going with the ski season and I think it will be successful if everyone does their part,” said Kris Blomback, General Manager at Pat’s Peak Ski Area.
Resorts will be responsible for implementing operating plans designed to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19. Guests will be responsible for following these procedures prior to and when they arrive at the ski area. Skier services will vary by resort as each area will decide which parts of its operation will be available to its guests. Guests should check the ski area’s website for the status of each ski area’s offerings and policies before arriving.
“We’re all looking forward to this ski season. It’s almost as if we have some unfinished business after having our season come to an abrupt end in mid-March,” said Keeler. “That said, the key to opening and staying open this year will be for ski areas to do their part, and guests to do theirs. It’s up to all of us to observe and respect the new protocols being put in place that are designed to keep staff and guests safe and healthy.”
“These guidelines will help our guests to have the confidence to get out to ski and ride. Now’s the time to get pumped for the ski season—the rest is up to Mother Nature,” said Tom Day, Gunstock Mountain Resort president and general manager.
Ski New Hampshire is the statewide association representing 30 alpine and cross-country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, trail conditions, vacation planning, and updated winter events at Ski New Hampshire resorts, visit SkiNH.com. For statewide travel info, go to VisitNH.gov.