COVID-19 came in like a lion in early March, prompting POWDR to suspend operations at its ski resorts and Woodward properties by the middle of the month. The unexpected mandate cast a shadow on a typically lucrative—and fun—time of year. Still, in the face of uncertainty, many of POWDR’s shuttered businesses figured out ways to do some good.
First, there was food, lots of food. "We had all our base lodges open, so we had a lot of perishable food and opened cases of products that would have gone bad," says Killington GM Mike Solimano.
Killington decided to give the food to its employees and ambassadors, inviting them to come by on March 17 and 18 to pick up free groceries. The resort gave out more than two tractor-trailers worth of perishables including meat, veggies, milk, eggs, bread and water on a first-come, first-served basis. The ski area also donated food to the nearby Killington Elementary to assist with free and reduced lunches for students in need during the shutdown. The donation, which included more than 50 pounds of ham and turkey as well as cases of bread, burgers and chicken breasts, were enough to feed families in need for several weeks. The resort also donated important supplies to its local hospital, including bleach, disinfectant and hand sanitizer. Killington's Mendon Mountainview Lodge has been offered to the local hospital for use in aiding with COVID-19 relief efforts. The resort also donated to Goggles for Docs including donating new mountain bike goggles to Rutland Medical. And optimistically looking ahead, Killington has offered its facilities for local events, such as summer prom, once quarantine has ended.
Several other POWDR resorts followed suit. Employees of Mt. Bachelor, which also suspended ops on March 15 but may reopen for late spring skiing depending on the COVID situation, were invited to stop by the receiving warehouse on March 19 to get food leftover from resort F&B outlets. As a bonus, employees were encouraged to bring their own growlers and take beer from leftover kegs. Donations were made from Mt. Bachelor to Goggles for Doc and goggles were given to local community medics as well. The resort is also working with the town of Bend and other Oregon communities on "stay safe outside" messaging.
At Snowbird, the resort held "a food drive for our family of 1,900 employees," Communications Manager Brian Brown told the local Channel 13 news. Brown said the ski area had 10,000 pounds of food as a result of the operational shutdown, and that five tons were given to the resort's full- and part-time staff. It was important that the food on hand went to the Snowbird family, says Brown. "We're taking care of our own." Along those lines, the resort made a donation to Goggles for Docs, started an internal employee support group and is working with the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation on "stay safe outside" messaging.
Facing a similar predicament, Lee Canyon, facilitated by Director of Hospitality Caitlin Kelly, made a large food donation to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, which provides Southern Nevada's homeless youth with support to rebuild their lives. The resort is also helping the community by broadcasting information about local services available and launched a We Love Lee social campaign tied to Play Forever.
SilverStar Resort in Canada also gave staff its leftover food, and went a step beyond to get employees where they needed to be. The resort offered employees free daily rides to the airport via its two shuttle busses, and also offered a shopping shuttle on Thursdays so that SilverStar staff would have access to groceries and other essentials. By mid-March, more than 60 had utilized the airport shuttle. Additionally, SilverStar is providing free coffee to front line workers at Vernon Valley Hospital, has offered up their housing facilities for local women's shelters.
At Boreal Woodward and Soda Springs, meal and food donations were given to employees along with a limited number of day ticket vouchers for staff to share as thank yous to front line workers. Feel Good Friday proceeds were donated to a local non-profit for COVID-19 relief, a virtual check presentation and other Gives Back celebrations were hosted on social media on Fridays.
Employee food donations were also made at Copper along with serving free meals to Edge residents. Also, an organized donation of ski masks and safety equipment was given to the Summit County Family & Intercultural Resource Center and the Agape Outpost.
At Eldora, food was donated to community food banks in Nederland and Longmont, and to Meals on Wheels. PPE donations were given to first responders in the Boulder Country Sherriff's Department and buffs and were donated to restaurants and grocery stores in Nederland. The resort is also helping broadcast information about available local services in the community.
Woodward Park City donated food to staff, PPE to local hospitals, goggles to Goggles for Docs and encouraged their patrol staff to engage with Medcor. Powderbird has also donated to Goggles for Docs.