Ski Brule News:
BIG CHANGES FOR 20/21 SNOW SEASON:
Last March, the Michigan Governor shut Ski Brule down with a month of the best snow and the best skiing yet to go. We thought and hoped that the pandemic would be over or at least improve, but it is not, in fact it is worse in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. In the Ski Brule area, daily cases now exceed monthly total from June, schools are closed, medical facilities are closed, law enforcement is infected. There were zero COVID cases in Iron County March through May and now 1,000 cases. The U.P. daily totals exceed the monthly totals from June and our area has been moved back a ‘phase’ due to the significant increase in COVID cases.
Masks are required everywhere, food and bar service is severely restricted, indoor gathering is significantly limited. Additional rules and enforcement have been implemented by the Health Department, Liquor Control Commission and MIOSHA.
How will we, can we, operate Ski Brule? We have a legacy here. Ski Brule has continually operated for 64 years. Operated under the same family management for longer than any other ski facility in the U.S. We have provided our guests with a great family winter resort for years.
But Covid-19 has changed everything. Our traditional model won’t work. Close gatherings, close friends, close families, personal service, face to face relations, handshakes and hugs are outlawed.
And the financial risk of again being shut down, but now in the early season seems very high! We’ve look for answers and assurances but have received none!
We now, finally, must advise our many, many guests, our friends and families of Ski Brule’s plans for Winter 20/21.
We all know that things change quickly. The future is far less predictable, so what we provide here will likely change – hopefully for the better.
Our Goals For 20/21:
- Keep staff and guests safe.
- Remain financially sound for the years after COVID-19.
- Offer what we can, safely and practically.
Will we ski & snowboard? Subject to Covid-19 and mother nature, yes. Covid-19 and government orders that is, because orders of shut down could occur anytime. Mother Nature because we will need plenty of natural snow.
Snowmaking and Opening Day:
For many years, in fact since the mid 1980’s, Ski Brule has been opening on or before the first full weekend of November. Dedicated snowmaking efforts have given Ski Brule its reputation as the first to open and the longest season in the region. That will not happen this winter. We cannot risk the long-term future of the resort to open early on machine made snow. The financial investment for snowmaking is huge, the risk too great, so in fact, we will not be making snow. We will open when and as (if) there is sufficient natural snow to provide a decent ski and snowboard experience.
It is very unlikely that we will open during November. Hopefully during December.
Once open, we will operate only when and where there is adequate natural snow for a good experience.
When we do open, we will only be operating on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays (school groups have been the mainstay of our midweek business – none this season).
When we are open, we will only operate a limited number of lifts and terrain is likely to be limited as skiing & riding will be better on Blue and Green trails. There will be no snowboard park elements.
The number of guests allowed into our buildings is very limited, so when we do open, guest numbers may be limited based on prevailing COVID regulations. Reservations may need to be made for skiing/snowboarding. If required, Advanced lift ticket and season pass holders will be given reservations priority.
Additional Information About 20/21 Operations When Ski Brule Opens:
Do we know when the resort will open for skiing & snowboarding? No, because we will rely on natural snowfall. We can not predict when we will be initially open or how long we will be able to offer reasonable conditions.
Guest Number Limitation:
Will guest numbers be limited? Yes, unless the State of Michigan changes its rules, we will need to limit guest numbers to less than one half of our ideal capacity.
The purchase of (and/or redemption of an Advanced Lift Ticket) will include a waiver and release of claims related to COVID-19.
All guests and staff are required (state rules) to wear face masks at all times at the resort, everywhere except in your own vehicles and when actually eating.
Food & Bar:
As the rules stand today, we will offer limited food and beverage options with significantly reduced occupancy in the Brule Lodge.
A limited number of guests will be able to use the lodge warming area. Guest cooperation will be required for monitoring and limiting of guest numbers in the lodge to assure social distancing.
The main lodge bathrooms will be available, again guest cooperation will be needed to assure social distancing.
Lessons, Sleigh Ride, Tubing & Shuttle Bus:
We cannot reasonably operate these usual services under the current rules.
Race Camps & Races:
Ski Brule has been the site of several annual race training camps and competitions. Without snowmaking, we will not be in a position to host these events during the 20/21 season.
Cross Country Skiing / Fat Bike Trails:
Yes, the extensive cross-country / fat bike trail system will be open and be ready as soon as possible.
Yes, snowshoeing trails will be available as soon as possible.
Yes, Ski Brule is on a huge snowmobile trail system, which will be open and groomed as soon as possible.
The lodges and condos at Ski Brule Village will remain open, all reservations will be honored. Lodging guests will be given priority reservations (if required) for skiing/snowboarding when Ski Brule opens in 20/21. Reservations can be moved to another date if done so by November 15. Any guest with reservations wishing to cancel based on Ski Brule’s Covid-19 plans may do so with a full refund if requested before November 15.
Our traditional brochures, radio and TV commercials will not happen. All guest communication will be by the internet, social media, email and telephone.
20/21 Advanced Lift Tickets:
Advanced lift tickets purchased for the 20/21 winter season will be honored and given priority reservations (if required) for skiing/snowboarding when Ski Brule opens in 20/21. 20/21 Advanced Lift Tickets not redeemed will be valid for the 21/22 snow season. No additional Advanced Lift Tickets will be sold. Full refunds will be available on those purchased for 20/21 if requested before November 15, no refunds after November 15, 2020.
19/20 Advanced Lift Ticket Not Redeemed During 3/21-4/5/20:
19/20 Advanced Lift Tickets will be honored after 3/21/21 if Ski Brule is open. If not, then 19/20 Advanced lift tickets will be extended to the 21/22 season from 3/21/22 through close. No additional Season Pass will be sold for 20/21.
Season tickets will be honored and given priority for reservations (if required) for skiing/snowboarding when Ski Brule opens in 20/21. Season Passes may be transferred to 21/22 snow season if requested. No additional season tickets will be sold. Full refunds on purchased season tickets will be available if requested before November 15.
2019/20 & 2020/21 Gift Certificates will be honored through 2021/22 snow season.
Daily Facilities Pass (Lift Ticket) Pricing For 20/21:
Only daily facilities passes (lift tickets) will be sold. Multi day or other extended tickets will not be offered. Pricing will be the same as for the 19/20 season, subject to published decreases based on available terrain and conditions. Once purchased, there will be no refunds. All purchases will be done only by credit card and advanced reservations for skiing/snowboarding if required.
Rental Center & Tech Shop:
The Rental Center at Ski Brule will open when the resort is open for skiing & snowboarding. The number of guests allowed into the facility will be very limited, as such waiting is likely.
Bear’s Den Pro Shop:
The Bear’s Den Pro Shop at Ski Brule will open when the resort is open for skiing & snowboarding. Additionally, the Bear’s Den Pro Shop will be available by appointment when not open for skiing & snowboarding. However, the number of guests allowed into the facility will be limited, as such waiting is likely.
The Brule Saloon at Ski Brule will open when the resort is open for skiing & snowboarding. However, the number of guests allowed into the Brule Saloon will be limited, as such waiting is likely.
Because of state restrictions and because we can not assure safe operation, child care and SKIwee facilities and services will not open this season.
The Brule Cafe at Ski Brule will open when the resort is open for skiing & snowboarding, likely with limited food and beverage options. The number of guests allowed into the Brule Lodge will be limited, as such waiting is likely.
The lodges and condos at Ski Brule Village will remain available for rental. Daily maid service will not be provided as a COVID precaution. Reservation will be paid in full at time of booking with remote check in (no in person check in at the Lodging Office). Daily maid service is not available due to COVID prevention. The Lodging Office is not accessible by visitors in person. Communication will be through telephone or email.
Group trips (20 or more guests) are likely not possible when the resort is open for skiing & snowboarding due to COVID gathering regulations.
Nightly activities will be designated for Friday & Saturday nights when Ski Brule is open for skiing & snowboarding.