As we move into the cold weather months, winter sports resorts across the country are presented with new challenges for keeping visitors and employees safe and healthy during these uncertain times. To this end, resorts are working diligently outlining new COVID-19 guidelines so that skiers and riders can safely return to the slopes this winter. Let’s discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 ski season and what you should expect to see in the lodge and on the mountainside this season.
As ski resorts around the country find what COVID-19 guidelines work best for them, guidelines may differ from one resort to another. While we recommend verifying all COVID-19 guidelines with your most frequented ski resorts, here is a general list of what you can expect across the board at some of the countries most enjoyed resorts, as set forth by the national ski areas association (NSAA).
First and foremost, many resorts are limiting the number of lift tickets and season passes they will make available, so check with your resort to see what ticket or season pass guidelines exist for this season.
To accommodate more winter sports athletes, Oregon based resorts have implemented staggered start times for day passes. Major ski pass providers like Epic Pass and Ikon Pass offered extended deadlines and refunds up to 100% for pass holders who find themselves in hardship or unable to use their passes for COVID-19 related resort closures. Ikon Pass even offered 2020/21 season pass holders to transfer their unused season pass to the 2021/22 season at no extra charge.
As a way to better achieve economic certainty for mountain communities, the NSAA encourages any and all necessary protocols to be put in place that promote social distancing. To this end, social distancing will be strongly enforced at the lift and ticket queues, during ski and riding lessons and inside the lodge and within employee spaces. Since social distancing can lead to longer wait times, winter accessories and heated base layers are strongly recommended to keep your body and extremities warm while waiting in the lift queues and riding up the chairlift.
Ski areas across the country will require the use of face coverings whenever physical distancing is not possible both inside and outside of the lodge. Skiers and riders should expect to wear face coverings at life queues at every phase of loading, riding and unloading the chair lift. Store extra face coverings in the pockets of your heated jacket in case your primary face covering blows away or falls off during your trip down the mountain.
Do you have COVID-19 symptoms? Have you been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have had COVID-19 in the last 14 days? Have you gone on any non-essential travel outside of your state or region? These are all questions that you may be asked upon entering the ski resort for your day on the slopes. Be prepared to answer these COVID-19 related questions honestly as to not put others, including resort workers in jeopardy of becoming ill.
This ski season, be part of the fun while helping the mountain community thrive during uncertain times by following any and all guidelines set out by your favorite resorts. While you’re at it, treat yourself to the best winter jackets the industry has to offer to make your 2020/21 ski season a little more warm and cozy.
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