Browse Our Archives

November 2021

Mountain Spy :: November 2021

Can I warm up in the lodge this winter?

Written by Dave Meeker | 0 comment



The Spy asked this same question last year around this time as resorts were finalizing their operating plans for Covid winter number one. At the time, all the ski areas that picked up the phone were planning to at least limit indoor capacity, with some not allowing warm-up breaks. Now that we’re entering Covid winter number two, the Spy wanted to see what resorts had planned for indoor use.

Based on what staffers told the Spy, plans for indoor use this winter reflect how each resort’s respective state currently approaches Covid restrictions. For example, everything will be back to normal in Idaho and Wisconsin, but some restrictions will likely still be in place in New York and Colorado.

Why might this be troublesome? Because inconsistency breeds confusion. Last winter, the industry had a unified approach to Covid operations, so no matter where guests skied, they knew what to expect (for the most part). This winter, it appears that rules and restrictions will vary widely, not only from state to state, but county to county, and ski area to ski area.

Send us questions for the Spy to ask. Seriously, do it. If you email questions to and we use one of your questions, your resort will be immune for that issue.



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: So, we haven’t actually released our Covid policies for this upcoming season. We do follow everything through the CDC and [name] County, so anything that is published on their website is what we do follow. We are hopefully, fingers crossed, going to have indoor access without restrictions this upcoming season, but we haven’t gotten anything from upper management at this point. But if you go check out the county’s website, that’s exactly the guidelines we’re following.
SAM: Gotcha. I’ll check that out.
Staff: We’re planning on opening [date], so I would check back in the next couple weeks as we will hopefully have better guidelines published at that time.
SAM: Sounds good. I’ll do that. Out of curiosity, were there limitations last winter? We visited other places, but not there.
Staff: Yes, we had very limited indoor use. Grab and go food and the bars weren’t open. The restrooms were open, but we didn’t have normal accommodations, so you couldn’t actually go in the lodge to warm up. It was very restrictive.
SAM: Makes sense. The experience at other places was like going back to the roots of why we do this—we went to ski and couldn’t bother with all the other stuff.
Staff: Yeah, you’re at the resort for a reason, and it did bring it back to the roots. I actually hadn’t thought of it like that before. Thanks.
SAM: Hey, thank you. I appreciate the info.
Staff: You’re welcome. Have a good day!

Score: 9
Comment: Nice job delivering the information politely and with conviction. And the resort leadership here clearly does a nice job in making sure staff know they will be following whatever the CDC and local health officials say.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: I believe we plan on resuming fairly normal operations here this winter season.
SAM: OK. So, no limitations for how long you can be in the lodge?
Staff: Yeah.
SAM: Got it. Masks inside?
Staff: Umm, optional. Employees don’t wear masks, and, like I said, it should be a fairly normal experience this year.
SAM: Alrighty. Thanks!
Staff: Yup. No problem.

Score: 4
Comment: He wasn’t rude, but he had a twinge of defensiveness, which isn’t surprising since staff at Idaho resorts that enforced proper Covid safety got beat up last winter. Also not surprising that the experience here will likely be normal this winter.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Held for a representative (and enjoyed some groovy on-hold music).
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, I mean, we had warm-up breaks last year. You could go inside to warm up. We just asked you not to, well, come in too long, and there was contact tracing.
SAM: Oh, gotcha.
Staff: It doesn’t seem, um, we’re basically in compliance with whatever state health standards are out there. So, I don’t anticipate, at this point, there being any real restrictions this year. We did that last year because that’s what was required by the state. Um, so I don’t, I don’t know. The plan is to have it open like it was, sort of, but I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like. Things could change.
SAM: Right. Things change a lot nowadays.
Staff: Last year we had allowed, like, 20 minutes or a half-hour, and a lot of people didn’t really use it all that much. Things were pretty spread out. We also didn’t allow bags. I think we’ll probably stick with not really allowing bags since space is an issue anyway. So, we were like, come and change your boots, but you can’t keep your bags inside.
SAM: Nice. I like that.
Staff: Masks are highly recommended. They’re not required, but highly recommended. I don’t imagine that’s going to change.
Staff: Sounds good. Thanks for the info!
Staff: You’re welcome. See you soon.

Score: 3
Comment: She was a little flustered. And didn’t leave me sure about much at all. I can go inside, I think. Sort of.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Everything will be open. Everything will be, um, back to pretty normal. So, it’ll be very similar to last year.
SAM: OK. So, is there anything we should know about? Any limitations on anything?
Staff: Not at this time. We’re planning on running, you know, pretty much back to normal.
SAM: Right on. Thanks.

Score: 5
Comment: Last winter was normal? Wisconsin was not as restrictive as, say, Vermont was, but operations certainly weren’t normal. Points off for that, but she was pretty nice, at least.


First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, well, you have to wear masks in any lodge, which is what is out right now. (pause) And I believe you still can, it’s just, you know … kind of like last year (silence).
SAM: OK. We actually didn’t visit there last year, but … (interrupted)
Staff: Well, we had like a tent up last year (pause). You could boot up there. They didn’t let you spend a lot of time in the lodge.
SAM: Right, that’s what it was like at other places we went to last year—we could go in to use the bathroom, but that’s about it.
Staff: Right. Yup.
SAM: OK, so it sounds like it’ll be pretty similar to last season?
Staff: Yes. Yup.
SAM: OK, thanks!

Score: 2
thumbs downComment: Was it a stupid question? Because her approach made me feel like I asked a stupid question. Don’t assume people know your resort policies or even your state’s guidelines.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: As of right now, yes [you will be able to go in the lodge to warm up]. At the beginning of last season, it was only open for bathrooms and we didn’t have any food service open. But toward the end of the season as things had gotten a little better, we did have some indoor seating so you could go in for some brief time in the lodge, but it wasn’t really set up for families to come grab a table and sit in the lodge all day long.
SAM: Right, well, that’s one of the best things to come out of this whole thing! Base lodges were so nice and uncluttered last season with no bags or folks posting up for the day (laughs).
Staff: (laughs) That’s true! So, you should also know we require all staff to be vaccinated, but we’re not requiring that of customers right now. The county does require masks to be worn indoors, though, so we are requiring that of everyone. So that’s kind of where we stand today. A lot can change between now and November [date], when we plan to open. Hopefully things will continue to get better, but, you know, things can change!
SAM: They sure can. So, as of now, we’ll be able to warm up our toes in the lodge this winter, yeah?
Staff: Yes, that’s the way things are looking!
SAM: Great! Thanks!

Score: 10
thumbs upComment: It’s hard to hear it in print (duh), but his tone was fantastic. Upbeat, confident, and straightforward, while acknowledging that nothing is set in stone. Nicely done.
Identity revealed: Eldora Mountain