THOUGH access to the Mt Buller village currently remains open, the upcoming snow season remains in doubt due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The mountain is currently still open for residents, staff and visitors partaking in independent, outdoor activities including hiking and mountain biking, and seeking time in nature during this challenging time.Despite the future being shrouded, resort management have no choice but to soldier forward in expectation of a regular season.
“Our teams are working to make sure the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling resorts are ready for winter, and are finalising many projects including the new water reservoir, snowmaking extensions and Kooroora development,” said Mark Bennetts, chief executive officer Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort.
“The resorts are following government directions regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) to protect the safety and wellbeing of staff, guests and our community, and will continue to do all we can to help curb the spread of the virus.
“Staff are working from home where possible, with essential activities continuing on the ground to keep the resort operational and safe.
”As of print, the following businesses are still open on the mountain:The ABOM café is providing meals, coffee and snacks for take away;Mt Buller Grocer supermarket is still open; andThe Coffee Garage at Ski Club of Victoria is open for coffee, fresh juices and takeaway meals.
But the big question hanging in the air is when, if at all, the ski season will kick off.
“At this stage it is too early to tell if the 2020 snow season will be impacted due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and decisions will be made in accordance with instruction from Victoria’s chief health officer,” said Mr Bennetts.
“We are a very agile industry well adapted to the uncertainty of snow seasons, and are currently preparing for the season to open on Queen’s Birthday weekend along with contingency plans if this cannot occur.
“We will provide updates as things become clear.
”Mt Buller operators have also developed an updated COVID-19 cancellation policy to provide customers that have already purchased lift passes and accommodation some peace of mind.
In addition to the existing cancellation policy offered by most operators that enables refunds for cancellations outside 30 days of an intended visit, a new COVID-19 specific policy has been developed.It allows guests to request a cancellation, change of date, credit forward or full refund on resort entry, accommodation, lift, lesson, rental products and other pre-paid services and activities.
This is available if a person or family member (or travelling companion) contract COVID-19 and are unable to travel on intended dates, or Mt Buller resort is closed due to COVID-19, or government policies prevent travelling on intended dates, or even if transport is cancelled or disrupted due to COVID-19.
Buller Ski Lifts said they will also share an update regarding cancellation and credit options for season members shortly.
“The resorts play a vital role in providing jobs, supporting families and sustaining businesses within the resorts as well as regional communities,” said Mr Bennetts.
“When this challenge has passed we will be ready to play our part in the post-bushfires and coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery for the region as a whole.”