NASJA MEDIA BRIEFING LOOKS AT 2020-21 Season
Vail Resorts, NSAA, SIA and Ski Area Management Stress Need for Advance Planning
BOULDER, Colorado (July 1, 2020) – There will be a 2020-21 ski season. Temperatures will drop. Snow will fall and enthusiasts will return to the slopes. However, it’s likely new protocols will be in place.
That’s the general consensus of snowsports industry executives who joined the North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA) for a June 26 Zoom-based media briefing about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the 2020-2021 ski season.
The conference featured leaders from the ski industry: Patricia A. Campbell, president, Vail Resorts Mountain Division; Kelly Pawlak, president/CEO of the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA); Nick Sargent, president, Snowsports Industries America (SIA); and Rick Kahl, editor, Ski Area Management (SAM).
Topics ranged from the status of resorts now open in the southern hemisphere, to whether consumer/industry expos will be held this fall.
The hour-long session included 10-minute updates from each of the speakers. All urged NASJA press members to inform the public about pertinent developments plus the need to plan ahead for winter 2021.
“Everyone is so hungry for information and firm answers,” commented Vail’s Campbell, who added that they plan to be fully open and are working on ways to make guests feel safe while providing a compelling experience. “We want people to get out and do what they love,” she said, while adding that people need to be flexible as the situation will be constantly changing.
Kahl said there is a need for NASJA members to educate the public on what will be happening, especially come November. “It’s important for people to know what the preconditions are,” he added, such as whether there will be temperature checks before entering a resort. He said resorts are looking at different plans depending on restriction requirements.
“They are now taking steps figuring things out like how to decrease crowding in restrooms with markers on floors, adapters on door handles and other things to reduce touch points,” he said. Contactless transactions, shuttle bus capacity limits, lift line management and restaurant expansions were also discussed.
NSAA’s Kelly Pawlak said, “It’s also important to share the benefits ski areas have to offer – there’s space to spread out.” Another COVID-19 era message she urged snowsports journalists to convey: the majority of time is spent outside and snowsports are great for one’s mental health.
“Face coverings are part of our culture,” she added.
NSAA is looking at what the ski industry can learn from hotels, restaurants and sports facilities facing similar challenges in other parts of the world.
Nick Sargent said SIA is focusing on issues affecting the industry day by day. “We are monitoring situations in big cities for large events like Boston and Denver,” he said noting that the Oktoberfest in Munich this October was cancelled for the first time since WWII.
Sargent pointed out one inherent advantage to snowsports: “Being outside is a safe place for our community.”
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For more details, watch a recording of the Zoom session here:
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The North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA) is a professional group of over 200 press and corporate members. Press members include writers, photographers and other communicators who report on ski, snowboard and Nordic related news, information and features via various media outlets. Corporate members include media contacts or employees of ski resorts, convention and visitor associations, manufacturers and others who have a commercial interest in the journalistic coverage of winter sports. (www.nasja.org)
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