Deck the halls and wear your masks: Covid Safety precautions added to annual Winter on the Mountain celebration |

Deck the halls and wear your masks: Covid Safety precautions added to annual Winter on the Mountain celebration

Deck the halls and wear your masks: Covid Safety precautions added to annual Winter on the Mountain celebration

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park employee Jerry Begly checks light bulbs while hanging Christmas decorations at the adventure park in preparation for Winter on the Mountain.

Nancy Heard is all about the Christmas music.

“When is it too early? Never!” She said when asked when is it too soon to begin listening to classic holiday tunes. “You’ve heard of Christmas in July, right?”

Heard is the General Manager at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, where she has worked for the past 12 years. The annual Winter on the Mountain celebration however is only entering its sixth year — a tradition started back in 2015. The festival invites visitors to take the gondola up and admire the wide array of holiday lights accompanied by Christmas music. They can also experience the alpine coaster at night and, perhaps most important to younger attendees, visit with Santa.

“We are still going to have Santa… (He) will be outdoors on the stage in a covered space. We have a wooden sleigh where the kids will sit and Santa will be six feet behind as if he’s driving the sleigh,” Heard said.

In addition to this socially-distanced set up, Santa will be wearing a clear face shield and guests will have the option to take their own photos, unlike in past years where the park had a professional photographer documenting the jolly exchanges.

Santa will also have a reduced number of visits to the park this year. The North Pole, although a magical place, is not exempt from covid outbreaks and it’s important he keeps his elves and reindeer safe. The dates children can visit with him are Nov. 27 and Dec. 12, 19 and 23 from 4-7 p.m. Guests can also find this information listed on the park’s website.

The adventure park staff is driven by customer service and has adopted protocols to ensure safety for both visitors and employees.

Winter on the Mountain at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will take place Nov. 13 to March 7, 2021.

Owner of the park, Steve Beckley, said that because the park is open under a variance there are multiple safety guidelines visitors and employees must follow.

“(We are) still under our variance guidelines as far as social distancing and monitoring our employees. If someone has tested positive then (we have) people quarantine. We follow all our guidelines,” Beckley said.

Live music performances will be postponed until at least Jan. 2 due to covid restrictions.

In addition to the attractions, the point of the celebration is to provide families with a safe outdoor activity in the evening. Heard said there is a large emphasis on visits being a primarily outdoor event due to the pandemic. To ensure guests can keep comfortable in the winter weather conditions, the park added more fire pits and a warming hut so taking a break from the cold won’t be hard to do.

Beckley and Heard both agreed the 26 foot tall Christmas tree near the park entrance is their favorite part of the winter celebration.

Winter on the Mountain at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will take place Nov. 13 to March 7, 2021.

“I really do like the big animated tree that plays music because I think it’s pretty cool. That’s the part that I like the most,” Beckley said, “and I just like being up top at night when it’s dark seeing the lights of the city and stuff. It’s a beautiful tram ride and it’s nice to see the views up top.”

Heard said the synchronized light show put to music boosts holiday cheer and people who watch it can’t stand still.

“It’s like I get goosebumps. It’s so brilliant to hear the music and watch the lights on the tree…you watch everyone who’s watching the tree and most people are nodding, tapping, swaying, you know it’s really touching I love it,” Heard said.

The Adventure Caverns are prioritizing safety in order to bring a festive celebration to guests this year, but also have a giveaway program to provide for less fortunate members of the community.

In the past they had collected frozen turkeys but this year a gift card of $25 or more to City Market will suffice. These will also be easier for local food bank LIFT-UP to collect on the park’s behalf. Guests have from now until Dec. 24 to participate in Gondola Giving, and in exchange will be presented with four gondola tickets they can use up until the end of February.

“You know it’s important that we give back and important that we look beyond ourselves. You know we’re offering in exchange for somebody to donate to LIFT-UP $80 worth of gondola rides. So we can encourage them to do that.”

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