While it’s hard to imagine sunny days with the amount of snow that has covered the area over the last week, Telski is already planning for the summer season.
Chad Horning, Telski co-owner, talked about the resort’s summer operating plan during Wednesday’s “Mountain Village Mayor’s Minute” on KOTO, with Mountain Village Mayor Laila Benitez and Zoe Dohnal, the town’s business development and sustainability director.
“It’s already in the works. We’re putting effort into it now to be open hopefully in late May,” he said in response to Dohnal’s question about the summer slate, adding dates have not yet been determined or announced. “ … The bike park is going to be open in full force. We ordered all the equipment to retrofit every chair on Lift 4 so we can carry bikes, so our uphill capacity will be substantially improved. Those lines at the bottom of Lift 4 are going to go away.”
Bike park passes will be available at various price points, he explained, as a $25 donation to the National Forest Foundation will no longer grant winter season passholders access.
“The bike park is going to change to more of a traditional pricing model this summer. We are going to be given discounts for local season passholders, which will be significant. We have not finalized that pricing so I don’t have the ability to share that with you, but it will be going to a more traditional bike park model where you’ll be able to buy a season pass or add a bike park pass to our winter pass, or buy day tickets.”
Telski will also open and offer its latest summer recreational activity in its canopy tour course, complete with zip lines and suspended bridges.
“We’re really excited to open the canopy tour,” he said. “That’s going to be a lot of fun. We rolled that out and engineered that to be one of the more high-end, fun, worthwhile experiences, as far as canopy tours, in the whole region.”
In response to a listener’s question, Horning explained that there would be more public access to the resort’s golf course as well this summer.
“Golf is going to be going in full swing this summer. This last summer we had to limit the golf a lot more because of COVID, so the public access was limited a lot more, but this summer we’re expecting more normal operations,” he said. “Obviously, we can’t control that fully with COVID, but we’re very hopeful that we can get there. Everything seems to be pointing in that direction, so, yes, we’re going to have some amazing times on the course this summer.”
He added that the resort is “anticipating COVID will have minimal impact” on summer services.
“Hopefully by the middle of June, at the latest, we’ll be back to normal operations. That’s our hope,” he said.
Dohnal added, “I like the sentiment that hopefully things will be returning to normal operations.”
With possible public health guidelines in mind, Benitez said the resort’s summer activities also help manage crowd sizes and capacity, while offering people a way to enjoy the outdoors at safe distances, if necessary.
“I think more than ever this summer, based on last summer, if we’re not going to have the full roster of our festivals and some of our larger events early in the season, to have these types of activities up in Mountain Village like the bike park and the ropes course, as well as everything else that’s going on, is really going to help with keeping that dispersion of our crowds more manageable because I know at times it’s can be tough,” she said.
Horning asked Benitez if the town plans to keep the gondola dining cabins that have become so popular as a safe and sanitary dining option this winter.
“I think we’re leaning toward keeping at least some of them. I don’t know it’s going to be all, but I know it’s definitely going to be at least, I think, 10 of them. The families love them, and by families, I mean kids,” she said.
The town will again be offering music in the core, thanks to a partnership with Telluride Mountain Village Owner’s Association, as well Market on the Plaza, which starts June 16.
Dohnal explained the town purchased new furniture for the plaza as well last year. A Spartan Race, which features various obstacles across varying course distances, is one new event that’s set to be held in town Oct. 8-10, she added.
But we still have over a month of ski season to enjoy in the meantime, and though the pandemic has impacted the way Telski had to function this winter, there’s nothing like a powder day, or two, to life the spirits.
“It’s been quite a challenge with COVID, but overall I would have to say things have gone pretty well. A couple of weeks ago when COVID was really picking back up again, we were seeing a lot of employees impacted from their non-job interactions, things like social activity, but that has died way down, and currently, we’re down and we’re back to very manageable incidence rates related to that,” he said. “The snow has obviously been amazing. We are all smiling ear to ear from the snow (Tuesday). We had two powder days in one; in the morning you have a powder day, and in the afternoon you had a brand new powder day. All the tracks were covered. It was amazing.”