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The 2020/2021 winter season brings improvements and changes to Caberfae Peaks, a Northern Michigan ski hill, many to keep guests and staff safe in the era of COVID-19. We check in with Pete Meyer, general manager of business operations.

How are you feeling about the 2020/2021 season in 3 words?

Optimistic. Encouraged. Excited.

Is there anything new this season you’re excited about? (Equipment, dining options, instructors, etc.)

We have made several off-season improvements to our resort. We added a 1,500-square-foot deck off of R Dub’s Pub to offer an open-air dining option. The deck is slope-side and will offer food and beverages, with a fire pit and outdoor heaters. We increased our snowmaking capacity by 33% by adding another snowmaking pump and source well and purchased all new kids’ rental skis, totaling over 275 pairs of skis. We also added paver walkways throughout the resort.

Find out what’s new at Boyne Mountain, Mt. Holiday, Crystal Mountain, Shanty Creek, The Homestead and Nub’s Nob: New at Northern Michigan Ski Resorts + COVID-19 Safety

I’ve heard of a “Ski Well, Be Well” document put together by the National Ski Areas Association that was endorsed by the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association. Are there some best practices identified in the document that you’ll be following/asking visitors to follow? Or are there other safety precautions/procedures guests should be aware of?

Definitely. All resorts in Michigan are on board. Some are resort specific as we all differ from one another. In our case, we have a COVID-19 policies and procedures page on our website that has been regularly updated, so our guests know what to expect when they come out to ski or snowboard.

Skiing/snowboarding is outdoors and can be socially distanced. It’s the après-ski activities at cafes and bars that could pose a problem. How are you addressing that?

We will be following the current local and state laws with our dining operations.

Do you think you’ll see an increase in visitors this season or a decrease? Too soon to tell?

Overall our visits will decrease this year as we plan to limit ski area volume. Those that do come out to ski and snowboard, will have a great experience on the slopes.

Has there been a silver lining, cool idea, lesson—something positive that can be taken from this incredibly difficult time?

Yes, it has made us reprioritize. For example, the deck was always on the list. However, prior to COVID, it was low on the priority list. COVID moved it to the top of the list.

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

I’ve never been so excited for a winter. People need outdoor recreation for their mental and physical health during this extremely difficult time. The ski industry will serve an important role this winter as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times. The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. The slopes will be a healthy way to get out in the fresh, crisp winter air and recreate, and feel a sense of normalcy.