On Sunday, Stuart Diver is hoping to punch out a few final turns on the Thredbo runs he knows so well and reflect on a ski season like no other.
The resort's general manager thought he had seen the worst of a COVID-affected season in 2020 but this one has topped it again.
The lifts will stop turning at Thredbo on Sunday after an above average snowfall season while across the range at Perisher, the plan is to push on until October 4.
Both resorts reopened last weekend as restrictions eased slightly but with the majority of their potential customers under stay-at-home orders and border lockdowns firmly in place, the reduced number of runs open have been almost empty of boarders and skiers.
Both resorts had closed abruptly on August 14, with staff and customers sent home within hours of the lockdown advice going out.
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Mr Diver said while people from the local Snowy Monaro shire and the far South Coast of NSW could head up to the mountains for some spring skiing and boarding, he was aware people were still wary of going too far from home.
"People are still reticent to travel because of the risk there might be one [COVID] case somewhere in our vast LGA [local government area], so then when you return you have to go into 14 days of quarantine," he said.
In a period when there would usually be thousands of people on the snow, in the past few weeks there have been just dozens, most of them fortunate locals.
"Since Monday, it's been beautiful spring ski conditions," he said.
When the latest lockdown hit, Thredbo stood its 650-strong staff down so they were able to get the government financial support conditional on their working hours, but kept in touch with them in the hope the lifts would start turning again.
"We've had all our staff in accommodation in Jindabyne right through the lockdown, waiting to get back to work," he said.
"We were fortunate in that they committed to us and they knew as soon as we could so, we would have them back at work and that's what we did."
He wouldn't be drawn on how much the 2021 season lockdown had cost the company financially. Thredbo belongs to the Event Hospitality Group, a parent company which includes Event and Greater Union cinemas, Rydges and QT Hotels.
"The hit this season has been massive ... which is not unexpected when we were completely and utterly closed during the peak period," he said.
Perisher, owned by the US conglomerate Vail Resorts, was reticent to discuss its staffing arrangements but managed to pull together sufficient people power to have a partial reopening.
"We're so happy that we were able to reopen, not only to support our guests, but also our local communities and businesses and we're looking forward to a bigger and better 2022," a Perisher spokesman said.
While Perisher has a primary focus on snow sports, Thredbo benefits from being able to diversify during the summer as a mountain-biking hub.
The resort experienced its biggest mountain-biking summer last year and is expected to eclipse that in the warmer months ahead.
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