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Holiday Valley opens for the season on Thursday

There are COVID protocols in place. For example, you'll have to wear a mask when you're on property, with exceptions when you're eating, drinking or skiing.

ELLICOTT, N.Y. — Holiday Valley Resort will be opening for the season on Thursday. 

"We have four lifts planned and about six slopes so we have terrain for all abilities, beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers," said Jane Eshbaugh, the director of marketing Holiday Valley Resort.

Eshbaugh told 2 on Your Side, "To come out and go skiing in the wintertime, it's such a special experience. You're out in the fresh air, so that's what everybody's recommending, to get outside. You get some great exercise. You get to appreciate how beautiful it is around here in the wintertime, and it's good for your soul." 

And with cancelations and closures across the region, there could be some new faces fleeing to Holiday Valley this season.

However, organizers aren't necessarily expecting a major influx.

"We're hoping that a lot of people do come out," Eshbaugh said. "We are limited somewhat because the Canadian border is closed, and travel from Ohio is restricted a bit with the quarantining that they have to do, so we're hoping that Western New Yorkers turn out in full force." 

As you probably expected, there are COVID protocols in place. For example, you'll have to wear a mask when you're on property, with exceptions when you're eating and drinking or going down the slopes.

"The lodges are reduced in capacity, the indoor facilities. Most days it really won't really won't make a big difference but on busy days, we'll have attendance at the doors to help figure out how many people are inside, and how many people we can let in, and when people are coming out so we can keep track there," Eshbaugh said. 

Lines for the chairlift will be spaced out differently, and if you're renting equipment, you'll likely wait outside the shop until it's your turn, rather than inside. Holiday Valley is also getting heated tents for people to take breaks and eat outdoors. 

They're also encouraging people without season passes to buy tickets online ahead of time to make sure they have a spot.

With more skiers in the area, likely comes more traction at Ellicottville businesses.

"What it does is for the whole village, it makes everyone kind of happy again with the welcoming of ski season," said Peter Kreinheder, the owner of Ellicottville Brewing Co.

Kreinheder said he's excited and prepared to welcome skiers back to his restaurant and bar this week.

"We went through a very busy summer and we learned a lot," Kreinheder said. "We learned a lot about flow, movement, staggering, and we're pretty confident on that. I can't anticipate our ski flow would be any different from our summer flow this past summer."

One piece of advice from Holiday Valley and Ellicottville Brewing: Don't all come at once.

"I know everyone comes skiing during the weekends. Spread it out. That's what we noticed this summer. We saw people spreading out our visitation, Monday through Friday instead of just Friday, Saturday, Sunday," said Kreinheder. 

For more information on Holiday Valley, click here.