COVID-19 blindsided regional snowsports resorts last spring. Here’s how they’re preparing for winter.
Kenny Hess sat in a conference room at Massanutten Resort surrounded by top-level staffers watching a television showing Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s live March 13 press conference. The mood went from grim to alarmed as schools and nonessential businesses were ordered to shut down for at least two weeks.
“It was so unprecedented,” says Hess, Massanutten’s director of sports and business operations, who has worked at the Harrisonburg-area resort since the early 1980s. Dealing with finicky weather and warm spells was par for the course. But this was different: The closure’s abruptness was blindsiding.
Trying to swiftly shutter operations proved a logistical and emotional nightmare. Though the end of the season was near, a run of cold weather had inspired plans to keep slopes open into early April. The resort relies on seasonal employees to clean
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