North Carolina is home to many beautiful ski resorts, such as Appalachian, Sugar, Beech, and Cataloochee, all providing a fun time with a low transmission activity. Pictured is 5506′ Skybar at Beech Mountain (Photo courtesy of Public Domain).
With its wide-open spaces giving the ability to social distance and a built-in mask, skiing is the perfect pandemic sport — with the proper precautions taken.
Going skiing or snowboarding gives people a chance to be active and have fun while in the pandemic. Although staying in the house is ideal, some people cannot stay in a bubble, and skiing may be one of the few joys you could experience this winter.
Resorts are implementing mask mandates, except while guests are actively eating and drinking. Normally, a face mask is a standard part of a rider’s outfit, so the mandatory requirement is not that hard to accept. In addition, if it is cold outside a mask would be nice to wear.
Most ski destinations are also limiting indoor capacity and adding outdoor space. Many places are increasing outdoor areas so guests can take a break or grab a bite since indoor capacities will be greatly reduced. While skiing is an outdoor sport, riders do like to head inside to lodges to warm up, so many resorts are advocating using the vehicle you ride in as your home base.
It is not typical to be socializing with people outside of your party when you go skiing which is another benefit. Most of the time you keep to who you came with, the only other interactions being in the ski lift. Resorts are now adding hand-sanitizing stations on chair lift lines and re-configuring how to fill chair lifts.
Many resorts have moved to a reservation system for some parts of the riding process– this way they can limit the number of people. When renting skis, since it is typically indoors with long lines, visitors have to book appointments corresponding to their ride time. Riders must also reserve lift tickets in advance.
Even though it is outdoor recreation, skiing during a pandemic still requires physical and mental modifications. While resorts are putting protocols in place, they are also counting on individual guests to act responsibly. It is up to everyone to keep one another safe, but remember that you can still have fun. So if you’re able, grab your board or sticks and head to the slopes this winter.