In a press release on Sunday, Idaho’s Schweitzer Mountain Resort announced it will cancel night skiing and riding activities at least through the MLK weekend, citing “an overwhelming lack of compliance with our mask policies and social distancing,” as well as “verbal abuse” endured by staff as they have tried to enforce such policies.
“What we’ve noticed with twilight skiing is that people aren’t thinking it’s serious,” Dig Chrismer, Schweitzer’s Marketing Manager said in an interview. “There just doesn’t seem to be that same sense of urgency from our nighttime skiers.” She said daytime skiers and riders have been highly compliant, between 95 and 98 percent, but twilight visitors haven’t been as consistent about face coverings and social distancing. COVID-19 restrictions on daytime passes has caused a surge in night skiing at the resort, putting strain on the Schweitzer crew members, especially as they have had to continually remind visitors to wear masks and stay distant. “Our staff is having to make the same requests to the same people over and over again. That’s what’s wearing everybody down,” said Chrismer.
“We hope this “pause” in our twilight skiing operation will provide our staff a much-needed break from the constant struggle of trying to operate safely during the pandemic as well as a reminder to our guests of our commitment to our safety protocols,” Tom Chasse, President and CEO of Schweitzer wrote in the press release.
On Tuesday, the Panhandle Health District reported 18,580 COVID-19 cases in the Northern Idaho area as well as 197 deaths, and 85 current hospitalizations.
It’s important to point out that here in the States, we’re lucky to be able to ski and ride on resorts at all, as most of Europe has shut down resort operations, with the exception of Switzerland.