The Great Divide Ski Area is gearing up for opening weekend in November 2020 with COVID-19 precautions, and a new building.
The lodge was not supposed to be built this year, but the general manager says the pandemic changed everything.
“When we start looking at COVID-19 precautions and how to most safely operate this winter, one of our biggest issues was the amount of inside-seating we have,” says Travis Crawford, Great Divide General Manager. “So, what we came up with, was the ability to build a new facility and increase that by just shy of 100 total seats, which gives us a lot more options.”
This building (pictured in the photo gallery above) is one of the many changes at the Great Divide. The rest are COVID-19 precautions like mandatory masks indoors and on the chair lifts, electronic ticketing, and an electronic rental system to avoid being face-to-face. The whole objective is to move indoor operations quickly to get to the mountain.
“The overall goal is to get people out onto the ski surface as quickly as possible to allow that social distancing,” says Crawford. “Once you're out on the mountain, we have just shy of 1,500 ski-able acres, which is the perfect scenario for social distancing.”
Opening weekend is scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving. Great Divide says they are not concerned about the warm fall affecting the winter season. They predict the snow to be here soon.
“While it's been a little bit of a warmer fall, we've been really happy because we have [the new lodge] building going on, so that fits our needs, but we're still expecting to see winter hit very shortly here,” says Crawford.
To avoid large gatherings, Great Divide created an appointment system for their annual lease and sell program of their equipment. They've admitted this appointment system has been a lot better for the program, in terms of customer service.
Great Divide is expected to meet with the health department this week to continue their discussions on COVID-19 precautions at the ski area.