Shames Mountain is gearing up for action on the slopes this upcoming ski and snowboard season.
My Mountain Co-op, the non-profit community co-operative that operates the Shames Mountain Ski Area, is trying to mitigate some uncertainty for skiers and snowboarders.
Christian Théberge, general manager at My Mountain Cooperative, Shames Mountain said that consumer confidence is critical for the industry because it relies on season passes and long term bookings.
To reassure customers, Shames Mountain is offering full, no questions asked refunds until Oct. 1. It is also guaranteeing operating days.
“We can’t control if another wave of COVID hits strong and we are forced to completely shut down, but it set a benchmark and any day less than 50 we’ll give people a two per cent credit towards the next season all the way up to 75 per cent.”
So if Shames Mountain is only open for 25 days, customers will receive a credit of 75 per cent towards the next season.
My Mountain Co-op is looking at ways it can adapt operations for greater safety. Reducing lineups and crowding is one of the most pressing issues to resolve. One possibility is updating internet services at the mountain so that customers can buy lift passes online and can go from their car straight to the lift.
“It’s maybe not as pretty or romantic as ‘let’s build a new lift or let’s cut new ski runs’ but it’s a step that would not only address the current problem that we have but it’s a step that we are going to have to come up with at some point in the future anyways,”
Construction on Shred Carpet, a conveyor belt lift for beginners on the bunny hill was expected to begin this summer, but that has now been moved back to next summer due to delayed funding.
Last season was a resounding success for My Mountain Co-op and Shames Mountain. Excellent snow conditions drove visitation up 20 per cent but the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short in March.
“Last season was an incredible season and we don’t want to let COVID tarnish that,” said Théberge.
Usually, Shames Mountain would budget for a five to 10 per cent increase in visitation following such a successful year, but due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, it is tentatively assuming attendance will be similar to a usual year.