By Ben Olson
The “sneak peek” opening weekend on Nov. 20-21 saw more than 1,700 season passholders show up to Schweitzer Mountain Resort the first day, surpassing the expected turnout, according to CEO Tom Chasse.
“I had anticipated approximately 800 passholders would show up for opening day and that we would cruise through the weekend,” Chasse wrote in a press release.
Schweitzer added “ghost lanes” to the single chairlift line in order to provide lateral social distancing, but the large number of passholders on opening weekend caused Schweitzer to implement some tweaks to the line format on Nov. 21.
The resort doubled the length of the waiting area in an effort to extend the safe zone and eliminated the singles line to avoid singles trying to join with groups, hopefully avoiding uncomfortable situations.
The official opening weekend on Nov. 27-28 will see additional changes, including the opening of Musical Chairs and the Musical Carpet and establishing a controlled point of entry around the clock tower to remind everyone to be respectful and “buff up” as they enter the lift loading areas. Also, Schweitzer will not sell any day tickets on opening weekend — once again only providing access to season passholders and lodging guests.
Chasse said everyone will be required to wear a facial covering while in the lift line, as well as inside Schweitzer lodges.
“If these additional protocols come up short, our only recourse will be to cease daily operations until we get more lifts and terrain open to spread out the demand,” Chasse said. “We take this seriously and hope that each of you will too and support our efforts to continue uninterrupted daily operations.”
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