Some ski resorts in Oregon are preparing to reopen, but exactly when they can operate again is still up in the air.
Gov. Kate Brown announced earlier this week that some outdoor recreation activities can resume. Brown is expected to issue an executive order to officially allow ski resorts to resume operations in the coming days.
John Burton, spokesman for Timberline Lodge and Ski Area on Mount Hood, said that’s welcome news.
He said the resort, which touts year-round skiing, has been getting ready to reopen for weeks. To do so, Timberline plans on hiring back workers it laid off in April.
“We’ll bring back anybody that wants to come back to work,” Burton said. “It takes quite a bit of people to run a ski area.”
And then there are the additional jobs that need to be added to the mix, like full-time cleaning crews.
“Their sole responsibilities are cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing and just helping people navigate through a COVID world that is scary,” Burton said.
Depending on when the governor’s executive order comes out, Burton said Timberline could reopen at a limited capacity as early as the end of next week.
Operations at other ski resorts in the state are less clear.
Dave Tragethon, vice president at Mount Hood Meadows, said it plans to reopen at some point later this year, but the skiing and snowboarding season there has already ended.
“We are scenario planning for next season to establish the appropriate social distancing, PPE process and procedures to protect team members and guests,” Tragethon said in an emailed statement. "We’re working through plans for lodging and culinary services and possibly for some summer operations.”
In Bend, Mount Bachelor spokeswoman Leigh Capozzi said their crews are waiting for more guidance from the governor before making any decisions.
Capozzi shared this statement:
"We will stay closely attuned to information from Governor Brown and Deschutes County regarding the phased reopening of Oregon and thoughtfully develop a responsible return to operation plan that balances the complexities resulting from COVID-19 with the shared desire to again welcome recreation at our beloved resort."