The COVID-19 pandemic is cutting the ski season short at the height of spring break. With this, U.S. and Canada resorts are finding ways to safely reopen this winter.
According to reports, resort leaders ask guests to manage their expectations in the new normal while skiing and snowboarding. This could mean that they must wear masks, stand six feet apart in lift lines, and ride lifts only with their companions.
“We’re very optimistic about skiing this winter,” said Dave Byrd, director of risk and regulatory affairs at the Colorado-based National Ski Areas Association. “The fact that we ski outside in ultraviolet sun and in the wind, and it’s common for us to wear goggles, gloves and face coverings. All of those things bode very well for us as a sport.”
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Resorts are trying to avoid what happened last spring. Back then, “many mountain communities were disproportionately hurt by the virus as travelers from all over the country and the world hit the slopes during one of the busiest times of the season,” reported Fox Business.
People have spent several months of living with the pandemic. With this, industry leaders and health officials are hoping that the knowledge that comes with it will provide a safer experience this time around.
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According to Dr. Daniel Pastula, a neuroinfectious disease physician at UC Health University of Colorado Hospital, the outdoor element of ski trips is generally safe during a pandemic. However, the virus could spread if people are not careful.
“I think you can ski smartly and safely. Again, not completely eliminating the risk, but really reducing it,” he said.