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U.S. resorts adapt to the new normal of skiing in pandemic



Denver (AP)-helmet, goggles, skis? Check the hand sanitizer, mask, make an appointment?check

After the coronavirus shortened the ski season during the peak spring break by about seven months, resorts across the United States and Canada are slowly picking up debris and figuring out how to safely reopen this winter. Although many details are still being worked out, resort leaders are asking guests to curb their expectations and accept the new normal when skiing and snowboarding during the pandemic.

This may mean wearing a mask, being 6 feet (1

.8 meters) apart on the lift cable (approximately the length of a typical snowboard), not providing dining services, just riding the lift with your team, and not being there Drinking at large parties.

“We are very optimistic about skiing this winter,” said Dave Byrd, director of risk and regulatory affairs for the Colorado-based National Ski Area Association. “We ski outdoors in ultraviolet light and wind. This is a common phenomenon that we wear goggles, gloves and masks. All these things are a good sport for us.”

Resorts (some of them are scheduled to open in early November) are trying to avoid the repetition of last spring because when travelers from all over the country and the world hit a hillside in a major earthquake, many mountain communities were severely injured by the virus and the season is the busiest time.

Several counties in Colorado, home to some of the country’s largest and most popular ski resorts, have been particularly hard hit. State health officials warn that small community hospitals do not have the resources to treat patients with this disease. In Utah, the county called Park City Ski Resort reported a per capita infection rate similar to that of New York City and parts of Italy, when it was two major hotspots.

This time, industry leaders and health officials hope that the knowledge from months of life during the pandemic will help guide their efforts to provide a safer experience.

Dr. Daniel Pastula, a neuroinfectious disease doctor at Colorado State University Health University Colorado, said the outdoor elements of ski trips during the pandemic are usually safe, but if people gather in elevators, hotels, restaurants, and restaurants, the virus may spread to bathrooms. .

“I think you can ski smartly and safely. Again, instead of completely eliminating the risk, it really reduces the risk,” he said. Pastula lists common safety measures that skiers can now follow, including staying outdoors as much as possible, avoiding crowds, and staying at home when sick.

At the same time, Bird said that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NSAA) is closely watching how universities, transportation systems, and sports organizations deal with the virus.

He said: “We do have the extraordinary luxury of watching what others do.” “All of this will be done in the next two to three months, which gives us some time. Of course we have to preview. Let’s take a look at the southern hemisphere ski resorts in Australia, New Zealand and South America and how they deal with things.”

The Perisher Ski Resort, the southernmost tip of Australia, completed its ski season on October 5. Due to the postponement of the opening day on June 24, the ski resort has imposed some restrictions.

In a ski resort owned by Colorado-based Vail Resorts, employees and guests must wear masks and maintain a distance of at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) from each other. The operating capacity of the elevator has been reduced to maintain a distance from the society, and skiers and skiers must purchase tickets online in advance. Depending on the number of terrain and the number of open elevators, the number of guests allowed on the mountain is also limited.

“We are all enjoying the fascinating skiing and boarding trip while smiling (wearing a mask)!” The resort posted on its website and admitted that it was due to the pandemic that raged across the country last summer And strong fire, “Odds are not good for us”.

But other resorts in the southern hemisphere remained unscathed.

Hotham Alpine Resort and Falls Creek, northeast of Melbourne, Australia, closed the cable car on July 9 due to health restrictions. There is no lift for the rest of the ski season. Reopen. At the same time, due to the virus, many resorts in South America had to postpone winter, including the highlands of Ski Portillo in the Chilean Andes.

“Restrictions, including weekend quarantine and travel restrictions, will prevent us from operating normally,” Portillo’s owner posted on the resort’s website at the end of August.

Many ski areas in North America have consulted state and local health agencies and issued rules for the upcoming season.

Most will require social evacuations, masks and online ticket sales, and will limit how many people are allowed in indoor spaces (such as basic hotels and restaurants). However, many people asked to keep it and took another step, which made some skiers and skiers feel uneasy, they were worried about finding their place on the mountain, especially during the busy powder weather.

Vail Resorts has 34 resorts in the United States and Canada. It has announced that it will implement a reservation system that allows pass holders to have exclusive access rights at the beginning of the season, unlimited booking weeks and Prioritize the scrolling selection of dates.

Resort CEO Rob Katz said that the resort will limit capacity based on past visitation rates, available terrain, traffic models for the upcoming season, and how each resort handles COVID-19 restrictions.

He admitted that some guests may not be able to ski at any time, but he said: “The most important thing is that on most days, usually a season, the capacity of our resort is not needed. Any restrictions must be imposed.”

For many people, the appointment system and other restrictions are not enough to keep them under sanitary regulations for most of the year.

In the earnings conference call on September 24, Katz reported that season ticket sales this season had increased by 18% over the same period last year-Bird’s development was attributed to the “cabin fever effect” entering the winter.

He said: “I think people want to use ski areas (470 ski areas in the U.S.) as a safe way to experience outdoor recreation.”

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Associated Press writer Lisa Rathke from Marshfield, Vermont wrote this report.


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