Operators believe more skiers will hit the slopes this season because it provides the opportunity to get out of the house and be active
By Mary Beth Roach
Outside is in, and inside is out.” This is a quote that Peter Harris, owner-operator of the Labrador and Song Mountain ski areas, came up with recently. It captures the optimism that operators of area ski centers are feeling as they prepare for a season like no other.
To deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York state in October released guidelines for ski resorts, which will force them to retool nearly every aspect of their business, including capacity numbers restrictions, rentals, face coverings, lifts, food and beverage services, registration practices for the purpose of contact tracing, and changes in ski lessons.
While there is the possibility that ski centers will see a loss in revenue, officials at Labrador (Lab), Song Mountain, Greek Peak and Toggenburg (Tog) — four of the largest ski areas in Central New York — also see the silver lining.
Harris and Drew Broderick, vice president for sales and marketing at Greek Peak and Tog, believe that more skiers will possibly hit the slopes this season because it provides the opportunity to get out of the house and be active; and because by skiing in their home state of New York, there is no need to quarantine afterward.
A longer, snowy winter would also help.
“It really depends on if good old Lake Ontario gives us all that lake-effect we love,” Harris said, with a chuckle.
Greek Peak, Tog, Lab and Song all plan to be open by mid-December. In addition, the centers are prepared to help Mother Nature along, if need be, with snowmaking operations.
“We will closely manage operational expenses as much as possible, which means capitalizing on prime snowmaking conditions when they occur, especially long stretches of really cold temperatures,”Broderick noted. “Having other winter operations such as snow tubing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, mountain coaster, guided zip line tours and a lodge with indoor pools and waterpark features helps generate winter revenues.”
Lab, with 22 trails, and Song, with 24 trails, offer downhill and snowboarding skiing only.