As I write today’s blog post, it’s snowing outside. That doesn’t sound too unusual, but the temperature was nearly 90 degrees yesterday, and it’s early September. Ah, just another weird weather day in Colorado.
But it did remind me about skiing, and what that will look like next year.
Our family skiing story
Last year, even with more time and flexibility with my schedule, I didn’t ski at all. I am not sure why, other than time got away and the prospect of fighting crowds on the slopes wasn’t appealing.
My older daughter JRS loves to ski, a lot like me. My younger one NLS, not so much. RAS is indifferent – he’ll go if we are, but he’ll never initiate a ski trip himself. It’s hard when one of them wants to go and the other two really don’t. And now we have the COVID-19 pandemic to keep us from traveling freely anywhere, whether it’s the mountains or the ocean.
Since I live in Colorado, one of the skiing meccas of the world, I’m more than curious about what skiing will look like for the 2020-2021 season. Before we all had to quarantine, social distance, wash our hands more often and wear face coverings, I already made a vow to ski more often next season, which is coming very soon now. With our so-called new normal, I’ve had to re-think how my family and I are going to hit the slopes in a few months.
What will happen on Colorado's slopes
According to Forbes.com, the Vail Resorts group affirmed that the upcoming season will go on, but it’ll obviously look different. Other ski resort companies will do something similar. Naturally, health and safety will be the top priorities, and here is what some of this will look like:
Skiers will have to wear face coverings on lifts and gondolas, as well as all areas of the resort operations. Some people do this anyway, but I don’t, so that will take some getting used to.
Social distancing will be the rule for the lifts. Related parties will get to sit together, but singles and pairs will space out as needed. The same will apply to gondolas, which means no more packing in like sardines. Opening up the windows will probably be a good idea.
Resorts will require to skiers to make reservations for single day lift tickets – in other words, no walk-ups. Season pass holders will be given priority to mountain access, with everyone else going on a first-come first-serve basis.
Perhaps an even greater concern is when skiers break for lunch or do apres (after skiing). When that happens, you’re usually in a crowded cafeteria, restaurant or bar, jammed in with others. Sometimes you can be outside for those activities, but most of the time you’re inside, warming up from being out in the cold all day. Some people will also throw back a few drinks, and we all know what can happen when they do.
Lodges may try to space out tables in indoor venues, But I would still think that could cause problems with COVID spread, especially when everyone is coming in sweaty and tired from the hard day on the slopes. I would probably get some takeout and head back to wherever I am staying.
A place to stay
Speaking of staying somewhere, most hotels will also follow stringent health and safety procedures. Rentals from VRBO, Airbnb and others will be even more so, with each individual owner taking on the responsibility of cleaning their places or risk being sued.
No matter what this winter will look like for skiing, my family and I will head up to the mountains (well, JRS and I definitely will). Once we do, I’ll report back here about what it all looks like. Let’s hope we’ll all stay safe and healthy this winter, no matter what we’re doing.