Ski areas in New Hampshire are gearing up for the 2020-21 ski season and are developing plans to keep guests and staff alike safe. And while ski area operators are optimistic about offering skiing, riding, and other on-site activities this winter, visitors should expect things to look and work differently.
“New Hampshire ski areas are looking forward to being open this winter, and based on the enthusiasm we saw for outdoor activities and experiences this summer, we expect demand to be high. That said, there’s no question that the 2020/21 ski season will be different for skiers and riders than any previous season. While guidance is still being drafted and resort plans are also in the process of being developed, there are some changes that I think will be universal across the board that are being designed to protect the health of everyone who visits or works at our ski areas,” said Jessyca Keeler, President of Ski New Hampshire.
Some adaptations to the pandemic that will likely be implemented statewide at NH’s ski areas include the wearing of face coverings inside buildings as well as in areas where 6’ physical distancing cannot be achieved (such as in lift lines and mazes), requirements at some ski areas to buy tickets online in advance to avoid lines and in-person transactions at ticket windows, and social distancing requirements and capacity controls within lodges and other indoor facilities. It is likely that some services or other operational elements of skiing at any particular resort may be either unavailable or adjusted this year. “What all of this points to is the fact that in order for people to ensure the best possible experience for a day on the slopes or trails, they need to do some research and plan ahead. ‘Know before you go’ is our mantra for skiers and riders this year,” said Keeler.
“We are optimistic about the upcoming winter season. We feel we can maintain social distancing with our staff and guests but we also realize that wearing masks will be part of the equation. The good news is that chairs on chairlifts are well distanced and all of our lifts are open-air which will help us to properly adhere to guidelines,” said Ben Wilcox, Cranmore Mountain Resort president and general manager.
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. “It will take our loyal guests and our staff working together, while following the guidelines, to make this ski season a success. The reward is the joy and enthusiasm you will feel when you get outside and slide on the snow,” said Tom Day, Gunstock Mountain Resort president and general manager. “Together we can ensure a successful—albeit rather different—2020/21 ski season,” added Keeler.
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.