Ski California

California and Nevada new health and safety procedures

Northern California – Outdoor recreation that offers participants a means of spending time outside while maintaining physical distance from others has become highly sought after during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

As the winter season approaches, Ski California member resorts in California and Nevada are prepared to open with new policies, procedures and experiences aimed at maintaining public health and safety that adhere to federal, state and local guidance. Guests are encouraged to check in with individual resorts regularly, as policies, procedures, and operations could change ahead of their arrival.

Resorts have invested millions of dollars in COVID-19 safety, including new technologies and sanitization procedures designed to aid with physical distancing and public health, and to reduce contact points throughout the resort. This includes things like RFID ticketing and scanning, online food and beverage ordering, and online advance purchase of everything from lift tickets to lessons and equipment rentals.

“Although some things will be different this winter, our member resorts are prepared to open and operate safely to bring the same on-hill experience skiers and riders love,” said Mike Reitzell, Ski California president. “All of our resorts have been diligently working since March to ensure their operations can adhere to ever changing public health and safety requirements. Some procedures will vary by resort, but all resorts are aligned in their desire to have a full ski season. To do this, it’s going to require active adherence to established policies by resort guests.”

What skiers and riders can expect this winter

Industry-wide Health & Safety Guidelines

Since the early end to last ski season, Ski California and its member resorts have been collaborating closely with the National Ski Areas Association to develop a shared set of consistent operational guidelines. Although operations vary by resort, every Ski California resort has committed to aligning with the principles established in the industry accepted Ski Well, Be Well guide, as well as with their local health agency’s recommendations.

Mandatory Face Coverings & Personal Responsibility

To ensure public health and help ski areas stay open this season, Ski California resorts will require guests and employees to follow established guidelines, including the use of face coverings and physical distancing. Resorts will require face coverings whenever physical distancing cannot be achieved. This includes both indoor and outdoor spaces, except when eating or drinking.

Know Before You Go

Similar to how frequently skiers and riders check the weather forecast in the winter, before traveling to resorts this season, guests should check in with the resort(s) they intend to visit to ensure they are familiar with current policies and procedures, as they are subject to change.

Opening Dates

While opening dates vary by resort, most have announced they intend to wait until they can have adequate ski trails open in order to spread guests out on the mountain. In some cases, resorts may limit early season operations to pass holders only.

Lift Tickets & Season Passes

Before visiting Ski California member resorts this winter, skiers and riders should check with the resorts they intend to visit to determine whether lift tickets must be purchased in advance. Season pass holders should also anticipate and review new requirements and individual resort procedures this year.

Lessons & Equipment Rentals

Ski California member resorts will offer ski and snowboard school lessons and equipment rentals this winter, but guests should expect modified procedures. Guests are encouraged to learn what individual resorts have planned, and to reserve lessons and equipment rentals online in advance when possible.

Chairlifts

The length of skis and snowboards inherently helps to maintain physical distancing within lift lines, and many lines and procedures will differ from “normal.” Specific chairlift queuing, loading and riding guidelines will be posted by each resort, so guests should learn about each resort’s procedures before they arrive.

Lodges and Food & Beverage

Food and beverage offerings will be available, but they will be different from years past, and guests will see reduced capacities in indoor spaces. Many resorts will encourage outdoor dining, offer “grab and go” options, and recommend use of personal vehicles as the “lodge” this year. Guests can learn more by visiting the website of the resort(s) they intend to visit.

“Skiing has inherent advantages during these uncertain times — it happens outdoors in wide open spaces with constant airflow. The experience will definitely be different this year, but for those who plan ahead and know before they go, it’s undoubtedly going to be one of the most fun, healthy ways to spend time outside this winter,” continued Reitzell.

Cross-Country Skiing

Like the downhill resorts, Ski California Nordic ski areas offer an exceptional way for snowshoers, cross-country and skate skiers to spend time outdoors. The human-powered nature of these activities in vast, open trail networks makes it easy to maintain physical distance from other participants. Guests should check in with Nordic resorts prior to arrival to make themselves aware of each area’s current health and safety policies and procedures.