SANDPOINT, Idaho — Two opening weekends are in the books for Schweitzer Mountain Resort, the largest resort in both Idaho and Washington. They kicked off their first "Sneak Peak" weekend on Nov. 21 and 22, but this past weekend was the real deal.
The historic ski resort had added numerous COVID-19 safety regulations to help everyone feel comfortable, and they say it is going successfully.
"It’s been nice to kinda get a glimpse of what our normal reality used to be," said skier Luke Snyders.
Snyders and his friends consider themselves Schweitzer Mountain Resort pros, having skied there for over a decade. This is the first time they had to step back and learn some new tricks.
Although it may not seem like plunging down the mountain by yourself would require covid-19 safety precautions, the resort has issued necessary guidelines for the activities leading up to the drop.
"I actually like how restrictive they've been, how much they've implemented the mask mandate," he added. "Nobody wants this to get shut down."
Skiers must wear a mask when they are inside any facility, in the lift lines or when they are unable to socially distance from others in the village.
If someone is deliberately breaking these rules, they will be asked to leave, according to Schweitzer’s Marketing and Special Events Director Sean Mirus.
"I like to tell people it's no different than when you come to my home and I asked you to take your shoes off," Mirus said. "We just asked you to follow our rules while you're here."
So far, only season pass holders have been able to hit the slopes. Mirus said this has a lot to do with monitoring capacity regulations.
"As soon as we can open up more terrain, we hope to change that and allow more and more people to come on the mountain as capacity constraints, change," he added. "So I really have a couple of different goals to keep them out and running, both for the staff themselves and the guests."
Guests have, for the most part, been accommodating and accepting of the change, he said.
"That’s why I don’t mind wearing a mask at the bottom because you don’t want to lose this," Snyders said.
Lift tickets will be available to the public starting Monday Nov. 30 but just for mid-week skiing.