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Ski Areas In Western Mass. Prep For Unusual Season In A Pandemic

Two people enjoy a ski outing.
Two people enjoy a ski outing.

Ski season is beginning to ramp up across New England. Some mountain operators said they're adjusting to more than pandemic-related safety restrictions.

Tyler Fairbank is the CEO of The Fairbank Group, which owns Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Massachusetts. He said travel restrictions across the Northeast are changing how his company approaches marketing.

Fairbank says much of the mountain's business usually comes from New York State, but now they are trying to draw skiers from eastern Massachusetts.

"People don't think — when they think of skiing, they aren't thinking of going west, as much as 'Well, let's go north,' but they can't go north now — so they have to come west," he said. "That's kind of changed some of our marketing and advertising and planning."

As far as safety measures this winter, ski areas in the Berkshires will require visitors to wear masks, and will reduce capacity on chair lifts.

Some will also require skiers to make reservations prior to arriving at the mountain.

"Typically, we have four people to a chair as much as we can, and we're not going to be doing that this year," said Dillon Mahon with Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. "We're going to allow people to ride alone if they wish, or in a group that they came with."


Ski areas will also have to follow state guidelines for capacity in their lodges. And those with lights for night skiing will have to observe Massachusetts' curfew advisory.

Copyright 2020 New England Public Media

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