Everything You Need to Know About Skiing During the Pandemic

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If you’re a ski buff, then you probably already know that COVID-19 cut the last ski season short, with many resorts closing their doors when the pandemic hit in March. However, the virus had already taken its toll, disproportionately affecting small mountain towns that didn’t have the medical resources to handle the influx of hospital stays. For example, the county home to Park City, Utah, a popular ski destination, reported a per-capita infection rate comparable to COVID-19 hot spots like New York City.  

And with COVID-19 still spreading throughout the world, the current ski season will also be affected. The question is, how much? Well, that remains to be seen. Ski resorts and the people attending them have never had to deal with an ongoing pandemic before, so it’s very much a day-by-day situation. However, there are some changes that you can expect to encounter across most resorts this season. 

Changes to Expect

snowboarding mountain ski lodge

For starters, many open resorts are requiring a new reservation system that limits the number of people that can be at the resort for any period of time. At face value, skiing seems relatively safe given that it’s an outdoor activity during which you’re usually more than six feet apart from other skiers. However, it’s what happens when you’re done skiing that’s the real problem. That’s why even the resorts that aren’t limiting the number attendees will still be limiting the number of people who can be in indoor spaces, like lodges and restaurants, during any period of time, so you should expect more wait times than usual. 

You’re also likely to encounter fewer open trails and lifts than you would during normal times. Of course, you can also expect the standard COVID-19 requirements you’re no-doubt already familiar with, like maintaining at least six feet of distance from people and wearing a mask unless you’re eating. 

Which Resorts Are Open

mountain ski resorts and lodges

Even with the best precautionary measures in place, the virus can still spread throughout resorts and the surrounding community, so some resorts won’t be opening at all this year. And some resorts planned to open, but rising COVID-19 rates in the area caused them to think twice. For example, the Mountain High ski area in California was expected to be among the first to open for the season, but it was postponed after four employees tested positive for the virus. That being said, you'll want to make sure you check the current status of your favorite ski resort before making a reservation. 

Currently, Colorado is home to the most open ski resorts, with seven in the state opening for the season, including Keystone, Wolf Creek, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge. And there are just two open resorts in California and one each in Idaho and Minnesota. Whether more will open as the season progresses remains to be seen, so you’ll want to keep checking resources, like this one from Ski Central, throughout the season to determine what’s open and what precautions are being taken. 

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that no one knows for sure exactly how much the pandemic will affect the ski season this year—even ski resorts don’t know what the season will look like. Therefore, the best thing you can do is keep yourself updated on the current state of the virus, as well as the status of your favorite resort, as both are likely to fluctuate throughout the winter. And above all else, be sure to do everything you can to protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading the virus. 


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