COVID-19 cut last ski season short, causing Vail Resorts’ fiscal year revenue to drop 67% compared to 2019. Now, ski resorts are working to safely reopen as the coronavirus looms over the start of this season.
Vail issued $600 million in debt in May and believes it has enough cash to survive a 2021-22 shutdown if needed. Smaller resorts and outdoor retailers might not be so lucky: revenue at the family-owned Alpine Shop in Burlington, Vt., sank 50% in March.
Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont has spent $100,000 in an effort to boost online transactions. The family-owned resort aims to sell 90% of lift tickets digitally this season, up from 30% last year. Strict protocols, including masks, will likely be a familiar sight on ski slopes this winter.