BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Fall foliage will soon turn to snow covered mountains, parts of our area could get some flakes this weekend.
Snow showing up on the computer models for Friday and Saturday. Cold front moving through WNY early Friday will usher in some cool air for the end of the week and weekend. Flakes possible over the higher elevations of the S. Tier. @wkbw @NewsRadio930 @EdDrantch @holidayvalley pic.twitter.com/XYz7TIvcwI— Aaron Mentkowski (@AaronCh7Weather) October 12, 2020
Despite the pandemic, Holiday Valley in Ellicottville plans to open the day after Thanksgiving, weather permitting. That is the resort's usual target opening date.
According to its website, Kissing Bridge plans to open for the season too.
With the Fall/Winter season swiftly approaching, we are busy modifying our plan to incorporate the best practices for a safe and enjoyable ski season! We are continuing to work alongside NSAA and the Erie County Health Department to determine what the winter here at KB will look like. At this point, we will have the ability to provide all the services our guests are accustomed to along with all the amenities that KB offers.
Holiday Valley Director of Marketing Jane Eshbaugh said social distancing is natural on the slopes, and many riders already wear masks, gloves, and protective eyewear. She said while outdoors, riders shouldn't notice much of a difference.
“I think the experience should be about the same, although I think this winter is gonna be really snowy,” Eshbaugh said.
She said one outdoor change will be the chair lift, a maximum of two riders to a four person seat, unless people came as a group. She also recommends purchasing lift tickets in advance to secure a spot, but doesn't anticipate a capacity limit. Snow tubing tickets will be online only.
Holiday Valley is limiting the number of people allowed inside.
“The idea this year for many resorts is for people to try to use their car as their base lodge," Eshbaugh said. "Get your boots on in your car, have some snacks in the car. You’re welcome to come in get hot chocolate, get some coffee, get some food but try to limit your time indoors.”
Scott Brandi is the president of Ski NY, he said the trade association is in talks with the state.
“They have our suggestions and recommendations, and we don’t believe their should be any limitations on our outdoor operations,” he said.
Brandi said the state has provided lots of guidance for ski resort's summer and fall activities, as well as interior parts of resorts like shops and restaurants. He said the indoor parts have to follow state guidelines, for example 50% capacity limits on indoor dining.
at ski resorts have to follow state guidelines, for example 50% capacity limits on indoor dining.
It's the outdoor winter activities part that resorts are waiting for.
“We need to get guidance from the Governor’s office before we move forward, which we expect to have in the very near future,” Brandi said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's office tells 7 Eyewitness News it is currently working on guidance for skiing.
Eshbaugh said Holiday Valley will then be able to finalize its plans.