Stowe Mountain Resort was forced to end its winter season nearly a month early because of the coronavirus, but it will open around the usual time for summertime fun — albeit of a decidedly low-key variety.

Saturday, the resort will open its Toll Road for drives to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. And it will open its gondola for scenic rides, as well as the waffle hut at the top. Both of these routes offer easy access to the myriad hiking trails crisscrossing Mansfield.

For now, adrenaline-pumping activities, like the 2-mile-long ZipTour zip line or the treetop adventure course, won’t be offered. But that might change, according to Pat Campbell, president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division.

“While we are offering limited summer activities, we are lucky that our beautiful outdoor settings provide a landscape to experience nature and to easily practice physical distancing so we all can safely return to the mountains we love,” Campbell said in announcing the summertime openings. “It is our expectation that guests help us ensure the experience is safe for them and for our employees by following our new guidelines. As summer progresses, we look forward to opening more activities and adventures at our resorts.” 

Other area Vail Resorts properties are also starting their summertime offerings this week — Okemo and Mount Snow open Friday — with Hunter Mountain opening July 4 and Attitash on July 18.

There are new guidelines in place at Stowe to avoid the spread of the virus.

• Guests have to wear face coverings in certain areas, such as lines, when loading and riding in the gondola, and in indoor resort facilities. Employees will be required to wear face coverings at all times.  Guests should bring their own face coverings, but the resort will have a limited number on hand.

• Plexiglas barriers have been installed in areas where physical distancing measures are not possible, such as cashier windows.   

• Gondola and lift capacity will be reduced to allow for physical distancing, and guests will be allowed on lifts and gondolas only with people in their party.   

• Employees may limit the number of guests in any area of the resort to ensure proper physical distancing.

• Employees will undergo daily health screenings and receive appropriate training to ensure safety, and are required to stay home if sick. Guests are also asked to stay home if they are sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms.

• Hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the resort. Frequent handwashing is required of employees.   

• Any transactions, from gondola and lift rides to any other activities or dining, lodging and retail, will be cashless.

• For hotel guests, only one family at a time will be allowed to enter the lobby for checking in or out.

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