As we know all too well, the 2019/20 ski season was cut short for most people due to the spread of COVID-19 across America and the rest of the planet. Since then COVID-19 has taken a terrible toll on the world, but we also know more about COVID than we did at the beginning of the pandemic. What we’ve learned combined with people taking responsibility for their safety and those around them should allow us to have a successful ski season.
To help you prepare, the ASO Mammoth team has listed what to expect from a ski season with COVID-19. Read about it below before you head out for your first day on the slopes!
Ski Towns Will Be Potential Hotspots
Anywhere with a high number of people visiting from across the state, country, or world has the potential to become a COVID hotspot. The thing that makes ski towns like Mammoth Lakes especially vulnerable is the fact that the town’s small permanent population does not require large hospitals and other medical facilities. As a result, it is much easier for local hospitals to reach capacity with COVID patients if there is an outbreak.
For that reason, it is extremely important that you follow all local COVID guidelines when you visit a ski town this season. Doing so will keep the mountains and towns at their base open, and, more importantly, will keep people safe.
Most Transactions will Be Touchless and There Will Be No Walk-Up Windows for Lift Tickets
Even with plexiglass barriers separating visitors and mountain staff, handing cash or coins back and forth still has the potential for exposure. Along with safety, businesses are also only accepting touchless or cashless payments because the pandemic has caused a shortage of coins across America. If you plan on buying lunch or other supplies at the mountain, then you should plan on using something other than cash to pay. While every mountain will have different policies on cashless and touchless payments, they will all accept some form of cashless payments.
Mountain capacity has always been affected by the demand for lift tickets, weather, and snow coverage. Add in social distancing on the slopes and lifts, and you can see why many ski mountains will sell all of their lift tickets online where they can stick to capacity limits much easier as well as keep staff and visitors safe.
Demand for Time on The Slope Will Be High
As soon as lockdown restrictions began to lift across the country earlier this year, people naturally wanted to spend time outside. That trend will continue as people look to cure their cabin fever with a trip to the mountains.
Many ski mountains will have some sort of capacity limit to allow for social distancing on the slopes and lifts, and with a surge of people hoping to ski or snowboard you will need to plan ahead to make sure you don’t get left out in the cold.
Lifts and Indoor Areas Will Be Socially Distanced
While most skiers and snowboarders will distance naturally once on the snow, you can expect indoor areas on the mountain to require social distancing as well as on lifts. What that looks like will depend on the mountain, but the most common practices will be increased spacing and decreased capacity on lifts and gondolas, as well as the option for visitors to ride the lift with those they came to the mountain with only.
Even with what we know now about COVID-19, we are always learning more as conditions change. Protect your day on the slopes by checking your mountain’s current COVID protocols ahead of your trip!