It was big news earlier this week when the Indy Pass announced that Jay Peak Resort was joining the assortment of members on its affordable ski pass this winter.
The only problem might be, can you actually get there?
Vermont has had the most-stringent COVID-19 travel regulations of any state in the country. As cases continue to rise everywhere else in the nation, assuming that those protocols required of out-of-state visitors will be lessened by the time ski season rolls around seems to be a foolhardy hope.
“We have now become sort of the national standard for containing the COVID-19 virus,” said Adam White, spokesperson for state trade group Ski Vermont. “We’re very proud of that here, and that will continue to be the case.”
The state of Vermont currently allows quarantine-free travel to those from any county with fewer than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents. Much of Maine, some of New Hampshire, and a small portion of the Berkshires fit this criteria among New England locations (Vermont residents are exempt).
All other out-of-state visitors arriving by personal vehicle are asked to complete a 14-day quarantine period, followed by a negative test in their home state before arrival.
Those requirements are going to make weekend jaunts to the likes of Jay, Stowe, Sugarbush, Okemo, and Magic a difficult proposition for many who simply can’t quarantine for a fortnight.
“The reality is, we all have a shared responsibility in this situation to know and adhere to those rules,” White said. “It’s not impossible, but it will be difficult.”
Much of the onus will fall on the part of lodging establishments, White said, meaning that visitors should expect to follow certain protocols upon their arrival.
So, while Vermont’s travel restrictions seem to be a hurdle with no prediction of being lifted, it’s fair to guess that neighboring New Hampshire might see some overflow of skiers and riders this winter.
“New Hampshire has been fairly open compared to our neighboring northern New England states,” Ski New Hampshire spokesperson Shannon Dunfey-Ball said.
Skiers and riders from New England are not required to quarantine prior to a day-trip or vacation in the Granite State. Out-of-state visitors are asked to quarantine for a two-week period.
According to numbers provided by the Center for Disease Control, Massachusetts has had nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days. Compare that with the numbers seen in Maine (224), New Hampshire (568), and Vermont (69), and it’s clear to see the job that the Green Mountain State’s rules are having on its health.
Then again, the 200 cases the state has seen over the last three weeks marks the highest count from any point since mid-April. If those numbers keep increasing, Vermont’s restrictions won’t be lessened any time soon.
“The importance of preventing an infection far outweighs the importance of going skiing,” White said. “I know that may sound odd based on the industry that I work in, but our state simply can not sustain a significant outbreak and our industry can’t sustain a significant outbreak. It is imperative that everybody follows these regulations to the best that they can.”