Tuesday, January 11, 2022

If you can't think of others, at least think of yourself

 (Partial cross post from Explore Cross-Country)

Ski season began with a little storm in mid December that got the trails operating. Warmer weather and wet precipitation ended that, icing up the trails. Like magic, someone brought in a fat bike for service. With thin cover now, I never know which apron I will need.

The bike apron weighs 2 1/2 pounds. The ski service apron weighs eight ounces. Ski service has dominated, despite the meager amount of trail we have to offer, but it's all subject to the whims of the public. We're ready either way. But dealing with the public's other whims has made the job much more stressful.

 In one significant way, the winter of 2020-2021 was much better than the one we're in now. We had stringent pandemic precautions in place, and people abided by them or they didn't get to come in. We had enough people on staff to deal with the huge volume of rental business. The snow cover wasn't great, which is a new trend in the changing climate, but it was good enough for us to operate. The main issue was crowd control, and we had that well organized.

Last winter, there was no vaccine yet. The consequences of infection could be severe enough that we could make a case and make it stick. No doubt we lost some business, and invited some ridicule, but we're all still here. 

Over the summer, we relaxed our protocols as everyone else did. For a few months we even went maskless, until the Delta surge. When I had a close call with exposure through my position on the zoning board I serve on, we all started covering up again. We didn't go to the full system of baffles we'd used during the uncontrolled phase of the illness. We did not re-institute our mask mandate for incoming customers. But I really appreciated any customers who wore one anyway, and I appreciate them vastly more now.

The omicron variant has created a new realm of anxiety, aggravated by the fact that we now have fewer employees to run the business. Ideally, the staff should be no less than three. Most days we only have two. Because of that, I can't do service work as efficiently during business hours, because I have to drop it to deal with direct customer service needs on the retail floor and in rental, as well as covering the front while the other guy tries to shove down some food.

The other guy -- who actually owns the place -- is also the groomer. Get him sick, and we not only have to close the shop, you also don't get any groomed trails until he's off the disabled list. So, even if you aren't afraid of the illness, think it's trivial, and believe that we should all just snuffle each other's snot and get it over with, remember that your good time at our ski area depends on us being there to serve you. If you get us sick, we may not be dead or dying, but we're not at work.

 Mask up, keep your distance, and don't be a jerk. It's called enlightened self interest.

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