News Roundup: Middle of Winter

18 thoughts on “News Roundup: Middle of Winter

  1. Phoenix February 5, 2021 / 8:28 pm

    I’d be curious to see how many exchanges per hour happen in a cabin with the windows closed; when it’s windy most people close the cabin windows despite all the signs saying not to do that. I briefly glanced at the study and didn’t see data on that.


    • jcpierce05 February 5, 2021 / 9:07 pm

      With the chances of getting COVID in the gondola being so low, I don’t see why we can’t be loading chairs to full capacity right now. Sure, if someone wants to ride alone, or separated they can do that, but many people just don’t care, or want to get on the mountain faster. Besides, we are all wearing masks.

      At school, we can be working in groups, non-social distanced for 15 minutes max. Most lifts rides are less than 15 minutes, and wind is blowing in your face, so the risk seems pretty low. I don’t mind the related parties only gondola loading, or social distanced singles, but for lifts, I think we should start loading chairs to full capacity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phoenix February 5, 2021 / 9:21 pm

        “Many people just don’t care” isn’t a reason to lift restrictions; quite the opposite in fact. If the people who don’t care about social distancing get covid, they’re likely to go around and infect many others so we need restrictions to keep those people from catching it.

        That being said, I see your point about fully loading chairs. If the chair is completely open your chances of getting covid are very low, and in my opinion areas would be fine just requiring one open seat between unrelated parties. I still think covid is a large enough concern and enough people are wearing perforated ski masks (ie, not really wearing a mask) that it’s a good idea to have one seat of space between parties.

        As far as bubble lifts and gondolas go, I think it’s still a good idea to only load related parties as the primary air exchange in these lifts happens when they are open in the stations; you’re sharing air during a ride. While the odds of getting covid obviously are much higher if you’re with someone longer, you can still catch it in the time it takes to ride a lift.


        • Utah Powder Skier February 6, 2021 / 10:53 am

          Is it possible to lock the bubble closing mechanism on temporarily on the heavy side to make it more Covid safe? It would essentially be as safe as a chairlift by making it open air. Also, Have ski resorts tried to use UV light to disinfect gondolas?


        • Chris February 6, 2021 / 11:56 am

          One of my local mountains did use straps to fixate the bubbles on their chondola in the open position to, but that obviously affects both the heavy and the light side. On my next visit it they were back to normal though. Not sure if that day had to much wind, or the authorities did not accept this adjustment – in Austria bubble lifts and gondola can only be loaded 50% of their normal capacity, and all passengers need to wear heavy duty FFP2/KN95 masks. Regular chairs and surface lifts have no capacity limitation and only require normal face masks.


      • skitheeast February 5, 2021 / 11:01 pm

        The odds of contracting it in general outdoors are pretty low, as indoor establishments are really the hotspot, especially in instances like dining where masks are not used. The problem is that the public’s overall mental perception does not reflect that reality, and taking measures that perhaps go above and beyond what is necessary to maintain safety from a scientific point of view is needed to give everyone a state of perceived adequate caution. Plus, it will make state health inspectors happy, which is a good thing when they have the power to shut the mountain.

        With that being said, I really think the current loading procedures are excellent at the resorts I have been to. The pandemic has allowed me to visit a decent number of resorts so far this year, and while they all have slightly different rules, the general rule of one party per chair or two singles on opposite ends (sometimes three singles spaced on a six) is a good idea. If you really wanted to max capacity and keep space, I guess you could argue for the creation of a doubles line to put them on opposite ends of a six-pack or across from a single on a quad, but that could overcomplicate and change a process that is so universally understood and used that it might end up slowing the entire process down with confusion. Packing the chairlifts without space between parties is not a good idea when there is zero way to enforce mask compliance on the lift ride itself except for fellow skiers/rides yelling at each other, which itself is not a good idea.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Owen Mitchem February 6, 2021 / 6:34 am

          Over the summer Timberline was forcing 4 to a chair on Palmer and as soon as you got out of midway 80% of people would just take their masks off. As was said above, there is no mask enforcement on the lift other than skiers yelling at each other.


        • Myles Svec February 6, 2021 / 6:46 am

          For example, Steamboat had barely any social distancing in lines and there were occasionally people checking for masks but it was social distanced on the chairs and people would usually take masks off midway up chair.


      • Donald Reif February 6, 2021 / 6:04 am

        This is a case of “something arbitrary that makes it look like we’re ‘doing something’ and can thus appease our state governors as well as the vocal minority of irrational hypochondriacs who wouldn’t visit us anyways but would blast us on social media”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris February 6, 2021 / 12:13 am

    Japanese research also says that loud talking or singing massively increases the infection risk. That is a good argument against casual dining where groups come together, especially with alcohol, and against churches being open. It also is a good argument for requesting groups to stay quiet in gondola cabins.

    FYI, I skied the Visnitzbahn on opening day of Samnaun this season, I’ve never the place so empty. Still can’t get used to the chair style of the D-Line with the foot rests between your legs, and the separates between the individual seats.


  3. Ryan February 6, 2021 / 3:16 am

    Red chair is back up and running as of late last night at Magic Mountain. Awesome job done by maintenance team. The old Red lives!!


    • ne_skier February 6, 2021 / 4:16 pm

      Hopefully they can get Black up and running to avoid unexpected problems like this. Still, it shouldn’t be forgotten that if this were to happen 3 years ago, there would have been no skiing whatsoever.


      • skitheeast February 6, 2021 / 4:55 pm

        I am not too optimistic about the ability for them to get Black 2.0 ready by the end of the season. Construction is always more difficult during the winter and Magic’s tight financial decisions typically result in endless delays. Plus, they always talk about a project more when there is good news or an optimistic timeline, so given the recent lack of updates, I am a bit pessimistic.

        Liked by 1 person

        • ne_skier February 6, 2021 / 5:52 pm

          I don’t see Black happening this winter, I’d expect completion in the early summer months. I’m a passholder and I was there last weekend, they still have to do load/unload ramps, chair safety bars, more electric stuff, and get it certified. It wouldn’t be a big deal otherwise, there are only about 6ish days a season they really need Black. If I were them, I’d keep working on Black, but I wouldn’t make any promises for opening dates until the lift is completed and certified.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Ratcliffe February 6, 2021 / 4:09 pm

    What a great article in regards to the inventor of the chair lift I had always assumed that the chair lift was first invented in Europe As a former Doppelmayr emploi I had seen pictures of farmers using cable lifts to go up to milk there cows and then send the jugs back down
    Very interesting


    • Mr Incredible February 8, 2021 / 2:04 pm

      Another interesting historical note on ski lifts is the first ski lift was actually water powered similar to how a water mill operates.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kevin Ratcliffe February 6, 2021 / 4:25 pm

    On another subject but totally related to Ski Resorts, is there some one out there that is as fascinated about Snow Making as Peter is about Ski Lifts?
    I hesitate to say Ski Lifts as I think that In a very short time the number of new Ski Lifts will be surpassed by a new term that will correspond with the huge growing number of Urban Transport Projects???

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Somebody February 6, 2021 / 5:28 pm

    What Sugarbush is conveniently leaving out in their blog post is that they are only loading chairs with an average of 2-3 people on them. Sure, people are spaced in line, but that spacing doesn’t go away. The lines this year are around as bad as they look.

    Liked by 3 people

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