I got a chance to see how A-Basin has approached reopening under the new COVID-19 health protocols. Skier visits have been very limited during this reopening with the use of a lottery system to award skier days. Most base area services are closed or very limited in scope. On mountain operations primarily utilize social distancing, barriers, and/or the use of masks. All employees go through daily health screening upon arrival at the mountain.
Ticket scanning is handled at a station at the bottom of the mountain from the safety of a Plexiglas barrier. Tickets are scanned only once until the guest returns to the base lodge and then re-scanned as they head back to the slopes. Lift lines are set-up for social distancing and masks are required while in line, inside all buildings and in other zones where social distancing cannot be maintained. Chairlifts are not bumped by the lift attendants. The fixed-grip Lenawee Lift is run at a slower rope speed to make a self-bump easier for guests. (BMX Lift is a detachable and no-bump is required). Guests ride solo or with those in their immediate group.
F&B ops are limited to outdoor serving at mid-mountain or social distancing at the 6th Alley in the base area. Retail ops are also extremely limited with counter style service. Tailgating and gathering in groups is prohibited.
Huge props to the A-Basin team for hanging in there for over two months before being allowed to reopen. They have set a great precedent to show that Colorado ski areas can still function in today’s health landscape. It was very interesting to see firsthand how the handful of ski areas have approached reopening this spring. While it is a great start, one can only hope that at least the outdoor portion of ski area operations can function at some type of normal by next winter.