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Utah ski resorts ask for continued mask compliance from visitors

Posted at 9:10 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 00:41:00-05

Each ski resort in Utah has had a different experience with visitors complying with COVID-19 guidelines. However, all 15 resorts in the state are following a similar set of CDC recommendations, which include mask mandates.

“It’s not a new thing for us as a staff or our community, you know, we’ve been wearing masks for 10 months,” said Kim Mayhew, the president and chief operating officer of Solitude Mountain Resort, who has been working in the Utah ski industry for nearly 40 years. “Our community wellbeing is not just for our guests, it’s for our staff and together as a community being open, staying open and having a wonderful outdoor experience is our goal.”

Solitude Mountain Resort put out social media messaging showing support for their employees over the weekend regarding mask compliance.

“Solitude does not tolerate guests who are disrespectful or combative toward our staff,” a statement read. “It has been apparent that we need to remind some people in our community to treat our staff with respect and kindness.”

Mayhew says it’s not a specific incident or the frequency of incidents that prompted the statement but purely wanting to support her staff.

“Most people are great, but we got a few that are a real challenge,” said Mayhew. “We have had to remove a few people from our property who weren’t in a position to comply with our rules.”

Other resorts in Utah have experienced similar circumstances with members of the public and their position on wearing face coverings.

“The majority of our guests are doing it right, and I think that’s the big takeaway,” said Davy Ratchford, the general manager at Snowbasin Resort. “The odd occasion you get a guest that has their mask down and we’ve got to remind them, and they’re compliant. It’s great, and very infrequently we see guests that have a hard time with that.”

Ratchford says that some people came to the resort simply to challenge the mask mandate with no interest of wanting to get on the slopes. A few people have had to be removed from the property.

“We have a policy up here and we’ve had to do some additional conflict resolution training with our employees and for the Snowbasin brand. We’re nice, nice, nice; patient, patient, patient and then we stop,” said Ratchford. “Those are jarring conversations because sometimes being reasonable and having a logical conversation just, you’re not able to have that.”

Both Mayhew and Ratchford want to emphasize that issues with masks are few and far between, but they’ve still happened. They want to remind everyone that employees are following the COVID-19 protocols in place.

“The employees are there, doing a job, who are wanting to make a great ski for you. That’s what they want, that’s what they want to do,” said Ratchford.

FOX 3 checked in with more than a half-dozen other resorts about the potential of some unruly visitors.

“We are far enough into the season that guests seem to know what to expect,” one Wasatch Front resort said. “While some guests are disgruntled, for the most part it’s been pretty positive.”

“Some folks you have to ask and when you do, they act offended,” another nearby resort representative said. “Then there’s so many people happy to see us enforcing it.”

“It’s not been an issue so far,” said a resort representative from southern Utah. “Every time I’ve seen a lift operator ask someone to place their mask on, the person just does it. Inside, no problems either.”

“There’s a few that grumble about them (masks) but for the most part everyone is very compliant about mask wearing,” another northern Utah resort said.

“All ski areas in the state have adopted to NSAA guidelines and are following state and CDC recommendation,” Ski Utah said to FOX 13 in a statement. “Remember to be patient with our resorts as they all have adopted new creative operational procedures in order to make sure everyone can enjoy the mountains in a safe and healthy way.”