COVID-19 travel restrictions are still in place, limiting the freedom of travel across New England’s state borders without quarantine. But that has not put a halt to the summer tourism business at the region’s ski resorts.
Just don’t expect the normal menu of attractions to be offered everywhere.
On Thursday, Vail Resorts announced that five of its New England properties — Attitash, Wildcat, Stowe, Okemo, and Mount Snow — will operate this summer with a “limited summer footprint focusing on mountain access and scenic lift rides.” To that degree, the resorts will open in staggered fashion. Okemo (scenic chairlift rides, hiking, mountain coaster, golf, and disc golf) and Mount Snow (golf, scenic chairlift rides, and hiking) both in Vermont, will open on June 26. Green Mountain counterpart Stowe will join them one day later with the auto toll road and hiking on its plate. Scenic gondola rides will not operate until July 17.
In New Hampshire though, Attitash won’t open until July 18, with chairlift rides, hiking, and the alpine slide. Wildcat Mountain has delayed its opening all the way to Aug. 1, when scenic chairlift rides and hiking will be available at the Pinkham Notch ski area.
More attractions may be offered at Vail Resorts later in the summer, which could mean the addition of zip lines, ropes courses, and water slides as the season progresses.
“While we are offering limited summer activities, we are lucky that our beautiful outdoor settings provide a landscape to experience nature and to easily practice physical distancing so we all can safely return to the mountains we love,” Pat Campbell, president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division, said. “It is our expectation that guests help us ensure the experience is safe for them and for our employees by following our new guidelines. As summer progresses, we look forward to opening more activities and adventures at our resorts.”
In Maine, the pandemic forced Sunday River, which opened its golf course on June 1, to abandon all of its summer activities at South Ridge, including scenic lift rides, disc golf, the climbing wall, and the bungee trampoline. The Chondola will operate for weddings and groups only in summer, and may reopen to the public in fall. The Jordan Hotel will reopen on July 1. Sister Boyne property Sugarloaf has also opened its golf club, and the course is also open at New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods Resort, where golfers can participate with advanced reservations only.
Loon Mountain Resort will have lift-serviced downhill mountain biking, disc golf, and gondola rides starting on July 3. Waterville Valley is open for biking and disc golf, and does have rentals available for both. The bike shop is open for repairs and rentals at Cranmore Mountain Resort., where visitors will also be able to use the new lift-serviced bike park. The Purity Spring Resort and Danforth Bay Camping and RV Resort are both open at King Pine.
At Cannon Mountain, the pandemic has forced the aerial tramway to shut down. It is not expected to operate this summer. Both the Flume Gorge and Lafayette Place Campground, in Franconia Notch State Park, are open with advanced reservations required at both. Walk-ups are not currently permitted.
Other resorts throughout the region have opened slightly, mostly by presenting avenues to golf, hiking, and biking, but are in wait-and-see mode for how the rest of the summer goes. All resorts have made it clear, in order to assure any potential guests, that they are ready to follow social distancing techniques on all attractions. There will be a reduced capacity at dining facilities and common hotel areas. Enhanced cleaning and sanitization will also be a common occurrence at all destinations.
Most important though, visitors should stay up to date with the latest quarantine information for each state, as well as understand that some attractions may require advanced reservations. Make sure and contact your specific destination to inquire about reserving your spot.
New Hampshire: www.visitnh.gov/covid19/reopening