LOUP LOUP – A plan for operating the Loup Loup Ski Bowl this winter, in light of COVID-19 considerations, has been developed.
“These plans are, of course, subject to change as we get further guidance from the state or other regulatory agencies,” said the Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation, which operates the ski hill off Highway 20 between Okanogan and Twisp.
The plan was developed with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington state and the National Ski Areas Association. The plan can be found at https://skitheloup.com/about-us/covid-19-operations/.
“We continue to prep for another fun year at the hill and look forward to seeing you all, even if it looks a bit different than a normal year,” said officials.
According to the plan, people visiting the hill will be asked to wash hands frequently, wear masks and maintain social distancing. Those who feel sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to stay home.
Depending on snow, tentative plans call for opening the hill Dec. 19-24 and again Dec. 26-30. After that, the regular Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedule would resume until Presidents Day week, when the hill would be open Feb. 12-21, 2021.
The normal schedule would resume through the first weekend of March, followed by three days the weekend of March 12. A Saturday-Sunday schedule is planned in March, with the last day of the season March 28.
“This schedule may change depending on snow, ski patrol availability or other reasons,” said hill officials “This is also subject to local, state and federal regulations regarding COVID.”
Face masks will be required in all indoor facilities such as the lodge, bathrooms and rental shop.
Cleaning and disinfection strategies will be added for all areas of the operation, including high-touch areas such as restrooms, the day lodge/dining facilities, ticket offices and rental shops.
“We will clean these areas after high traffic periods or more as needed,” said officials “All cleaning products used will follow CDC and (Environmental Protection Agency) guidance on agents which are effective against COVID-19. Hand sanitizer will be available in the day lodge and rental shop.”
Face masks will be required in lift lines and on the chairlift. Six-foot distancing will be required.
“We will only be loading two passengers per quad chair unless you are with people from your family or living situation,” said officials.
Expansion of the rental shop will allow for more people, although the number of people admitted to the shop will be limited.
“We are in the process of creating an online rental form to minimize the time you and the staff spend interacting,” hill officials said. “We also anticipate having a kiosk outside where walk-up rentals can fill out a form.”
Food service in the new lodge, which will accommodate more people than the old one, will focus on grab-and-go and takeout items.
“We are planning a revised traffic flow to expedite food service and minimize time spent indoors,” said officials. “We will follow all guidelines from local, state and federal agencies regarding the amount of indoor seating available.”
Masks will not be required while people are eating or drinking.
The foundation may not be able to offer all ski school programs because of social distancing requirements. The tots program likely will not be offered because instructors need to be hands-on with the students in order to get them up the rope tow.
Group lesson size will be limited, and lessons may not always be available because of lack of instructor availability.
“It is strongly suggested you reserve a lesson in advance using our online lesson request form,” said officials.
The administrative office will be closed to the public and all business will be conducted at the ticket window. Spring pass holders will be contacted this fall so they can email photos for their passes, pick up a pass and sign a release at the window.
Advance reservations will be required for the luge run and payment is due in advance.
“We will only be booking luge groups that share the same living situation and the minimum group size will be four,” said officials. “Luge check-in and release signing will occur outdoors at the luge shed. A face mask will be required during the Cat ride” to the top.
Officials said their resident physician is working with the National Ski Patrol to create policies for patient care and transport in case of injury or illness on the slopes.