Eight Guidelines for Snowboarding This Season
As an activity in the Covid-19 era, skiing has a lot going for it – it’s outdoors, people naturally spreading over a mountain, and they’re used to covering their faces. What is difficult is everything to do with skiing: rent equipment, wait in lift queues, share gondolas and chairs, crowd in low mountain restaurants, make contacts at après-spots.
And so mountain resorts across North America are adapting their operations to the new reality, from limiting the daily number of skiers and drivers to changing timetables – Jackson Hole, Wyo., For example, some lifts in the lower mountains will load earlier, so that the guests can spread out faster.
Skiers and drivers are of course at a loss: How will the experience be? If your choice is snow, here are some tips to help you make the most of this unusual time of year.
1. Think ahead
Forget the impetus decisions of rolling for a few runs this winter: many resorts don’t sell tickets, and reservations are crucial for almost everything from elevators to rentals to lunch.
In Utah, the road to Alta and Snowbird will be closed to uphill traffic once the parking lots are full. Snowbird has online parking reservations and many weekends in January and February are already full.
Among the large multimountain pass groups, Epic, operated by Vail Resorts, is putting in place a system that will give priority to its pass holders. “We are confident that for most days we can accommodate anyone who wishes to visit us,” said Johnna Muscente, the company’s communications director, in a telephone interview. “But we have to plan for each day: the busy holiday weekend, powder day.” The Epic portal acts as a clearing house for booking days. However, you should also check each resort’s website or app for specific instructions.
Ikon holders must also make advance reservations through the Ikon website. Some popular ski areas on this pass, such as Copper Mountain, Colorado and Killington, Vermont, also hold pre-reservations for parking spaces and controlled sales of day lifts. So make sure you have your ducks lined up before you appear on the mountain.
The Mountain Collective instructs its pass holders to check with the resorts they would like to visit. As Ski Vermont retail group put it, “Know Before You Go.”
Similarly, check what guidelines apply in your planned area for distance in lift lines and whether the lifts are loaded in a way that keeps skiers from different groups separate.
2. Make the most of the new flexible guidelines
With several major airlines getting rid of the exchange fees, many skiers secure cheap flights just in case. Similarly, you can book many properties with no cancellation fees that allow for last minute pivots. A chain hotel may be more flexible than an Airbnb hotel, but it also has more common areas where social distancing is more difficult.
It could also be a good time to join a ski club to help ease planning issues. “We spent the spring negotiating unprecedented terms and conditions with tour operators,” said Joe Gilbert, co-chair of the Western / International Committee for Washington, DC Ski Club, of Zoom. “When there are coronavirus-related issues, we have force majeure clauses so our members are protected.” Another benefit of ski clubs is that they often already have rooms in resort accommodation – keep in mind that capacity is limited in many locations and a pinch can occur on certain weekends.
3. Check the status restrictions
This won’t be the year to fly to Europe’s megaresorts or Japanese powder fields, but British Columbia or Quebec are likely to be closed as well as the US-Canada border remains closed for the time being. Domestic quarantine restrictions also make traveling between states difficult. For example, New Mexico currently requires a two-week quarantine for visitors from high-risk countries (and that means that as of November 23, only residents of Hawaii will be able to quarantine them). Vermont has some of the toughest travel restrictions in the country, with either a 14-day quarantine or a shorter quarantine with a negative test. Check each state’s official website before you even think of heading out.
4. Think small
Popular resorts such as Park City in Utah, Vail in Colorado, or Mammoth in California can attract many visitors on weekends and holidays. Because they are partially busy, you may not be able to meet your preferred dates. (Some mountains guarantee tickets to people staying at resort-owned properties, while others don’t. Check again.)
Why not venture elsewhere? Brad Wilson, general manager of Bogus Basin, Idaho, said on the phone, “At the national level, there is a feeling that small resorts will see a boom this year. It’s the soul of skiing, ”he added. Perhaps this is the time to finally try the highly independent Wolf Creek, which has the most snow in Colorado and which has a gradual opening that just begins with elevators and bathrooms – indeed the soul of skiing.
5. Bring your own
If you have your own gear, bring it as renting it will be a bit of a hassle. Also be prepared to boot up in your car as locker rooms are likely to be either closed or restricted. Imagine your car as a base and fill it with items that used to be easy to get on the slopes: water, snacks, handkerchiefs, sunscreen, lunch.
6. Schedule an outdoor lunch
“Be ready to be outside all day and that includes the food,” Tim LeRoy, a spokesman for California resorts Big Bear and Mammoth, told Zoom. Colorado’s Monarch and Arapahoe Basin are among the various areas preparing to put food trucks in parking lots. Others will set up roaming food stations on the slopes: in addition to its Taco Beast snowcat, Steamboat in Colorado will welcome the new Pizza Ranger, where people can either pre-order full cakes or buy slices. In Utah, Powder Mountain plans to relocate some food stations in its ski area to allow guests to participate in fun scavenger hunts.
7. Book a lesson
Lessons are never a bad idea no matter how advanced you are, but they can have practical implications this season as well, as enrolling in a ski school can be a way to secure access to a resort during busy times. Note that some signature tuition programs may be suspended – Taos Ski Valley, for example, doesn’t offer the famous ski week, only private tuition – and that class sizes may be smaller.
8. When all else fails …
Book an entire resort. Utah’s Eagle Point is usually open Friday through Sunday or Monday, but this year you can rent the whole place the rest of the week. With a cool $ 10,000 per day, you can get lift tickets, rental equipment, and staff for up to 200 people.