Bear Creek Mountain Resort is gearing up for a busy season, but it’s also gearing up for a safe season as it implements new processes to protect skiers from COVID-19.
Gary Kline, director of marketing and guest experience for the Macungie resort, said if the weather cooperates this year, it should be a busy ski season. “We’ve actually doubled the number of season passes we sold over last year,” he said.
With more people looking for outdoor activities that provide natural social distancing, heading to the mountains for some skiing is an attractive option.
“It’s going to be different this year for sure, but at the end of the day skiing is an outdoor activity that is one of the safest things you can do,” he said.
Kline noted that most skiers are already wearing masks and gloves, and by the nature of the sport they are social distancing, but that doesn’t mean the resort isn’t doing all it can to make sure skiers stay safe on the slopes.
Being a four-season resort, Bear Creek reopened in June, so it has already implemented a number of social distancing, cleaning and response protocol, but with winter skiing being the busiest time of the year, the resort is adding more.
One of the biggest changes is a switch to online ticket ordering and reservations for rentals and classes. Kline said the resort sold a limited number of tickets online in the past, but most day tickets were purchased by skiers when they show up.
He said with the need to control crowd sizes, that wouldn’t work this year.
“We definitely knew we were going to control the amount of guests on the mountain,” Kline said. “Rather than have guests come to the mountain and be turned away, they can schedule in advance.”
That means day passes will be day specific, although season passes can still be used at any time.
The resort will factor in the number of season pass holders that normally come at a particular day and time and make a manageable number of tickets available for daily ticket purchases.
He said it’s best for Bear Creek if skiers to reserve tickets as early as possible so they can plan ahead for crowd management.
There’s also an incentive.
The resort will be using dynamic pricing, providing a discount to skiers who book weekday tickets in advance, when the mountain will be less crowded.
COVID-19 restrictions aside, Kline said the resort is looking forward to a strong season and hopes to start making snow to open by mid-December.
The weather should be cooperating. In a recent release, AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok predicted that most regions of the U.S. with a strong ski industry should do “fairly well” this year in terms of weather.