Sugarbush now offering private, socially distanced base lodges

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 8:31 AM EST
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WARREN, Vt. (WCAX) - Some ski resorts are operating at limited capacity inside their base lodges or asking guests to gear up in their car as a response to COVID-19.

But now, the Sugarbush Resort is using in-house resources and local artisans to offer a new space for guests.

“It’s really awkward putting your boots on in the parking lot and having to walk up,” said Mike Strojny of Moretown.

And that’s exactly the problem Sugarbush is trying to solve.

“These cabins really just provide another alternative to guests who don’t want to have to boot up in their car and make that their base of operations and don’t want to interact even at a reduced capacity with other guests in our lodges or want to be able to spend more time than we are allowing in our base lodges,” said John Bleh, the public relations and communications manager for the resort.

Though Strojny didn’t expect such a permanent solution.

“I had expected tents with a heater in them,” Strojny said.

He says even for a price, he knows there will be people willing to pay to have a private space.

Sugarbush says their COVID solution may be here to stick around.

“This was really our innovative way to respond to COVID,” said Bleh.

He says the warming huts can be rented online for the day. And even though the base lodges are open, COVID-19 protocol creates hurdles some may not want to deal with.

“This is kind of an additional tool we can use for people to you know make them happy and give them a good experience,” said Bleh.

The huts, named after peaks in the ridgeline, come with basic needs. They are heated, offer a table, seating, a cooler for food and power packs for phone or electronic charging. Bleh says if they are a hit now, they will likely be back.

“My guess is if people enjoy being able to rent private cabanas during the day, we will definitely keep operating them,” said Bleh.

Although it’s not frequent skier John Mekkelsen’s style, he does see it benefiting a particular audience.

“I think it’s a good idea for out-of-staters to come if they want to have a good day of skiing and not have to go back to their car,” said Mekkelsen of East Montpelier.

The huts are currently renting for just over $400 during the week and more than $500 on weekends and holidays. They are also looking into more in the future and possibly using them more often and for more uses in a post-COVID world.

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