Covid's Effect on Ski Industry

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Burke - The covid-19 pandemic has paralyzed the entire world for over a year now, shutting down businesses left and right. In Vermont, one business affected was the ski industry. At the beginning of the pandemic, ski resorts were forced to shut down to abide by the Vermont guidelines. Hundreds of workers were furloughed throughout the start of the pandemic and were forced to seek unemployment. 


 

However, not everything about the pandemic has been a negative for Burke's ski resort. Unforseen positives have come from it. One challenge that came about this year was making sure all the guests and staff were following the mask mandate and practicing social distance across all aspects of the operation. Jessica Selcher, Director of marketing stated "Keeping staff and guests safe was our number one prority and the challenge of installing signage was certainly a big one early on". On a positive note, Jessica stated that this year they saw a growth in their season passholder as well as day tickets. "We saw an uptick in pass purchases with new skiers and riders deciding to give Buke a try as well as returning passholders we havent seen in three or four years" Jessica said.  

This year, besides social distancing and mask wearing, the resort hasn't done anything too new. Their biggest addition this year was launching their new ecommerce platform which allowed online sales of tickets, rentals, and lessons. Jessica said "This was a key component and covid requirenment to ensure proper contact tracing for some resorts, allowing them to accurately manage the number of guests on property at any given time". For Burke, this was also a way to manage lessons and rentals in advance to keep up with inventory. 

Throughout the season Burke didn't limit the amount of ticket sales at the resort but they did ensure mask wearing and proper social distancing. Now, with spring here, Burke mountain is getting ready for their end of the season. On April 4th, they will begin to shut down the lower mountain and beginner zones and the summit terrain by April 11th. Last week Burke made more snow to try to extend the season on open slope around the lower Warren's way area and the summit terrain which according to Jessica, are the most vulnerable areas for early snow melt.