After the 2019-20 season ended abruptly, no one at the Peruvian knew what to expect next. The world was turned upside-down for guests, staff and ownership alike. The ensuing offseason and kickoff to the 2020-21 season was up in the air, but the staff took the challenge head on.
“We didn’t know what we were working with in the beginning,” says Dan Manzi, Dining Room and Digital Media Manager at the Peruvian. After multiple offseason meetings with ownership and heads of staff, we decided to start offering room service to guests, with the ability to eat meals wherever in the lodge they felt most comfortable. Every safety measure was deliberately independent of any local laws at the time to ensure the maximum health and safety of our traveling guests and resident employees.
The pandemic was a positive for plenty of reasons this season at Alta. We designed brand new apparel, from custom face masks to t-shirts designed by a local artist. This year saw a higher percentage of first-time guests in over a decade. And because the sauna was closed and the hot tub and pool were at limited capacities, people spent more of their time branching out to places like Snowbird, down the valley to the hot springs or perusing downtown Salt Lake City.
That was until the Interlodge hit. The 2020-21 season saw a total of 324” of snowfall over 51 days of snow. One specific stretch between February 12 through February 21 saw ten straight days of snowfall totaling 91” with a high of 27” on February 17. That’s when we saw 3 straight days of Interlodge, or as some guests liked to call it: “the fun kind of quarantine.”
Those 3 days had everything from employees sleeping on the ground in the dining room and offices to longtime Peruvian favorite, Tyler Holt, playing live music for the guests. A few “Max Interlodges” forced guests to evacuate their rooms for an hour at a time and find space throughout the lodge while remaining socially distant, a problem we’ve never had to solve before.
But the over 100 guests in the 2021 Interlodge couldn’t have been more pleasant. Some guests helped staff dig out fire escapes while others helped with entertainment at the bar. It was all worth it in the end, as guests and staff were treated with one of the best ski days Alta has ever had. “Those were the top 5 days I’ve ever had here,” claimed one longtime Peruvian skier.
The upcoming offseason at Alta has a handful of summer weddings in the Rockies planned. We’re expecting an extremely busy season next year, as “Revenge Travel” will get people out and skiing more than they have in recent memory. We will be restocking and reloading the bar to get the Alta community back in regularly mingling with our loyal guests. And in anticipation of the promise that next year will bring, Dan had one thing to say: “let it ride!”