I hope this finds you all doing well. Last season was certainly one for the ages. With all the rules and regulations that were implemented to help protect one another from the pandemic it was quite a dance not only within our workforce or between guests but also between guests and our work force. By the end of the season, I was thrilled we pulled it off successfully, and ecstatic to not have to do it again. Or so I thought. Last season we had some pretty restrictive protocols and thankfully some of those have been lifted for now, but some protocols will still have to be implemented due to the current surge in the pandemic. Without a doubt there were numerous things we learned and we will continue to implement some of our changes from last season because they were beneficial on many levels. Most importantly, we will be keeping changes that improved the guest experience.
So, yes, you will see that we still have plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizer everywhere. We will continue to provide a touchless environment the best we can, and all employees will be wearing masks while indoors in public facing areas whether they have been vaccinated or not. We are doing so not because we are being forced to by our local health department, but because we strongly believe we need to do whatever we can to protect those who have not been vaccinated. We all know that children under the age of 12 cannot get a vaccine yet. They are the lifeblood of our community, and we must protect them. In this light I recommend that everyone wears a mask indoors for now. It would be a good show of community pride whether you have traveled from afar or live nearby.
About vaccinations, we are not mandating that all employees be vaccinated since over 65% of our employees work outdoors. Currently there are no restrictions outdoors regarding distancing or mask wearing. We are mandating some departments who work closely with the public, especially with those who are age 12 and under, to be vaccinated. Ski School Instructors, Ski Patrollers, Cat Skiing Guides, and Administration all must be vaccinated.
Last season we restricted the number of tickets we sold on the weekend and during the holidays. This season we will not be doing that, per se, but may have to if crowding and/or parking becomes an issue. There is still only one way to ensure that you can ski any day you like and that is to purchase a Monarch season pass … which, mind you, is the best season pass in the industry. The value of our pass is unmatched with unlimited skiing here and over seventy days of skiing at our partner resorts.
To improve your experience here we have increased our parking by several hundred spaces and made some improvements to the lodge to help consolidate the Food and Beverage venues and increase space in the retail shop. We are also introducing RFID gates at the lifts. Your passes and tickets will no longer need to be visible for us to scan. As long as you have it in a pocket on your left side somewhere between your knee and shoulder the gate will automatically open for you. Don’t worry – we will still have a Liftie there to greet you, view your digital photo, and help should anything go awry. Many resorts are using this technology so you may already be familiar with this kind of ticketing, but for those of you who are not, feel free to hit us up with any questions you may have.
Lastly, contrary to my hopes, we need to remember that this pandemic is not over. As such we still need to hunker down and get this right. At the very least, we know that outdoor recreation is a great way to enjoy sharing our passions. It will be comforting to be able to see everyone’s smiling faces in the lift lines again and indoors we can get back together more so than last season.
So if I may one more time? … and at risk of repeating myself, I ask you to consider the following:
Avoid weekends when possible. If given the choice, we strongly recommend skiing the weekdays; continue with the “Weekday Warrior” movement. We know this is not possible for everyone, but those who can and do will be helping those who cannot.
Avoid historically busy days. This season these days are December 26 through January 2, MLK weekend, and Presidents Day weekend. Let’s let our more holiday constrained visitors have some fun during this time.
It is still important to “know before you go” so keep checking www.skimonarch.comfor developing stories and updates or stay in the loop to all our offerings by joining our newsletter from the website.
**Of course, should we need to adjust as the environment either worsens or improves we will.
Operations for the 2021 – 2022 Season:
All Monarch season passholders will have access to the lifts any day of the week all season long. No black-out dates and no reservation needed.
Any purchaser of a four pack from a special preseason event will have access to the lifts all season long except for blacked out dates as designated on the ticket: December 26 through January 2, and February 19 and 20.
Any purchaser of the ‘Monarch season pass benefit’ four pack will have access to the lifts all season long except for blacked out dates as designated on the ticket: December 26 through January 2, and February 19 and 20.
Any purchaser of an online ticket will have access to the lifts on the day they select, if available, and as designated on the ticket. The number of tickets sold each day might be variable should we need to reduce peak visitation periods.
All Monarch employees will wear face coverings indoors while in public facing areas.
The seating capacity in each of the rooms on campus are still reduced some to provide more space.
Overall capacity levels of the main lodge will be monitored and will be limited.
As always there should be no lengthy reserving/hording of tables.
Food and/or beverage that has not been prepared by Monarch Mountain cannot be brought into the lodge. “Sack lunches” will need to be eaten outdoors or in one’s vehicle. No coolers, crock pots, etc. are permitted in the building.
Lockers are available but it is still recommended that changing of one’s clothing should be done at home, hotel room, or at one’s vehicle.
Items left in the lodge unattended will be picked up and moved to Lost and Found at the Guest Service Desk.
Ticket windows have been updated to accommodate touch-free Credit Card processing as well as providing partitions between guests.
One can reduce their time in lines and reduce time with staff by using the RFID Kiosks which have been installed by the ticket windows for picking up one’s pre-purchased online ticket.
Plexiglass shields remain installed at all guest-facing areas.
Readily available hand sanitizing stations remain in place throughout the lodge.
Childcare at the Children Center remains suspended for the 2021-22 season.
Sanitation and cleaning regiments will continue to be enhanced throughout the lodge and bathrooms.
It is permissible to ride the lift with any other person, be it a family member or stranger.
Individuals will be permitted to ride alone should they request to do so at all lifts except for the Pioneer Lift (Four-Seater).
When necessary, individuals who do not wish to ride with a full chair of strangers will be asked to ride with another individual they may not know on the Pioneer Lift (Four-Seater) with two empty seats in between individuals.
Masks or face coverings are not required while skiing or riding or while in the lift line.
Tickets will now be scanned at the lifts by a touch-free RFID Gate. These gates will be at all lifts including the Panorama Lift.
Monarch Cat Skiing will be selling full cats (10) or single seats. All riders in the cat must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test no later than the previous 72 hours.
Cat Skiing guides and Ski Patrollers are vaccinated.
Cat Skiing guests will undergo a brief health screening.
Cat Skiing group size has been reduced to ten.
Guests must wear a mask while riding in the cabin of the snowcat.
Parking lot shuttles will follow Transportation Department guidance. Currently guests must wear a facial covering while riding on all shuttle busses.
Food & Beverage
The Sidewinder Saloon, and Java Stop will be open 7 days a week.
The Gunbarrel Cafeteria, Elmo’s, and Flyby Burritos will be open Friday through Sunday and during Holidays.
Shredders will be open during peak Holiday periods.
The Gunbarrel Cafeteria will have grab and go items only, no special orders from the grill.
Booths with dividers between them remain installed in the Sidewinder Saloon.
Bar stools have been put back in place in the Sidewinder Saloon.
Java Stop has moved to the Cafeteria level.
There is additional seating (Adirondack chairs) to encourage eating and relaxing outdoors.
No sack lunches/coolers/crock pots/etc. will be permitted in the lodge including the tunnel level.
At the Sidewinder Saloon, one must wait to be seated by the host/hostess.
Ski & Ride School
Only half day lessons are available this season.
All programs are half day only.
Family private lessons are specially designed for families of all levels to learn together.
Private lessons are highly encouraged.
Private lessons for 3 to 6-year old’s, without childcare, are available.
Advance booking of lessons/rentals will be required the week of 12/26/21 – 01/02/22.
A post-reservation/pre-arrival email will be sent to guests to inform them of what to expect.