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Will skiing be safer because of COVID?

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I'm hoping for that!! But no lessons except the $$ ones. Drunks might still be a problem as they could drink in their cars or slope side accommodations.

It will be an interesting season.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
It will be safer where there are less-crowded slopes. Almost every bit of caution I ever feel on snow is about out-of-control skiers will ram into me.

But is that really going to happen? Pass sales are up. I'm not sure how that is going to translate on snow.

I dread waiting longer in lift lines, trying to maintain 6' of space, while others with masks only half way up butt into that space in front of me that I just left. That's a safety issue right there. Know how it feels when you're driving, wait in line forever with a bit of space in front of you while trying to get onto an exit ramp, and someone speeds up and butts into the space in front of you? I envision this happening in lift lines with some keeping that 6' distance and most not.

Glad you started this thread.
 
#4
It will be safer where there are less-crowded slopes. Almost every bit of caution I ever feel on snow is about out-of-control skiers will ram into me.

But is that really going to happen? Pass sales are up. I'm not sure how that is going to translate on snow.

I dread waiting longer in lift lines, trying to maintain 6' of space, while others with masks only half way up butt into that space in front of me that I just left. That's a safety issue right there. Know how it feels when you're driving, wait in line forever with a bit of space in front of you while trying to get onto an exit ramp, and someone speeds up and butts into the space in front of you? I envision this happening in lift lines with some keeping that 6' distance and most not.

Glad you started this thread.
I doubt all of those things will change much to be honest. Very much think the out of control and drunk people are surely the ones who will be skiing still.

I don't really understand the part about people edging in front of you in line though? The 6 feet of distance I believe is assumed to be maintained due to the ski in front of you and the ski behind the guy in front of you. I don't anticipate that people will be leaving an additional 6 feet from the tip of their skis to the tail of the person in front of them, is that what you are envisioning? I could be wrong, but I don't think that's the intent. It surely wasn't that way at Big Snow in NJ, and it felt fine to be the normal distance away from people in front and behind you. It's the people on the sides that are more concerning to me, if they don't make the lines only one group wide. That's where more spreading needs to happen I think.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#5
I don't think it'll be less crowded. In fact, I think it'll be MORE crowded. Thanks to people working at home, kids learning online, and colleges extending their breaks or going online, I think people will have greater flexibility to ski more, especially during the week. Also, people who'd ordinarily fly somewhere for a ski vacation -- say to Europe, out West, or to Canada -- will be more likely to take a ski vacation within driving distance, at least in the east. And as @liquidfeet said, pass sales are up. So yeah, more crowded.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I think it's too soon to tell how it will end up being as far as crowds. In my town, even though the school is a hybrid model, when the kids are learning at home, I think it's synchronous learning so they are expected to be in front of that computer during school hours. It's not a free for all/do whatever you want like it seemed to be in the spring. So I'm not sure how much more flexibility there will really be for at least some families to ski during the week.
Even though I work at home I'm still supposed to work during "work hours" I can't just up and leave. The only difference will be I'll have more vacation days available for ski day trips because I'd normally be using those vacation days for flying trips (either skiing or otherwise).
Plus I bought a pass to a local mountain this year where normally I'd just buy day tickets. I bought the pass to make sure I had priority to ski over day tickets. Though pass sales are reported to be up, it may just be people like me who might normally ski on a day ticket to a particular place and instead bought a pass.
But it will be interesting to see how crowds are affected this year--whether it ends up busier or less busy.
 

BMR

Certified Ski Diva
#8
Do you know if they are limiting the number of passes available? Presumably there is a capacity limit?
 
#9
I think it's too soon to tell how it will end up being as far as crowds. In my town, even though the school is a hybrid model, when the kids are learning at home, I think it's synchronous learning so they are expected to be in front of that computer during school hours. It's not a free for all/do whatever you want like it seemed to be in the spring. So I'm not sure how much more flexibility there will really be for at least some families to ski during the week.
Even though I work at home I'm still supposed to work during "work hours" I can't just up and leave. The only difference will be I'll have more vacation days available for ski day trips because I'd normally be using those vacation days for flying trips (either skiing or otherwise).
Plus I bought a pass to a local mountain this year where normally I'd just buy day tickets. I bought the pass to make sure I had priority to ski over day tickets. Though pass sales are reported to be up, it may just be people like me who might normally ski on a day ticket to a particular place and instead bought a pass.
But it will be interesting to see how crowds are affected this year--whether it ends up busier or less busy.

Good points! Once the main part of the season hits I plan to work from the mountain quite a bit. I also won't be able to ski all day haha, but we are encouraged to work whatever offset hours work for us, have a blocked out lunch hour where no one is allowed to schedule meetings, and half days every Friday. So I definitely plan to get some extra weekday turns in when I can, even for an hour here and there since my rental is on mountain. If I had to drive to a mountain to ski it certainly wouldn't work as well though. A bunch of people I know have remote learning for their kids that is not like you are describing (which sounds like a much better way to do it!!) so they plan to sometimes do "gym class" etc. at the mountain.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#10
I am not only expecting it to be more crowded but also have more mixed age groups. In pre-Covid years it was usually the older folk who were there weekdays. Most of us were pretty careful about not crashing into each other! It might be different with more younger aggressive type skiers. But I could, and I’d love to be, be wrong! We really did get spoiled as weekday skiers under the old work in your office model!
 
#11
I am not only expecting it to be more crowded but also have more mixed age groups. In pre-Covid years it was usually the older folk who were there weekdays. Most of us were pretty careful about not crashing into each other! It might be different with more younger aggressive type skiers. But I could, and I’d love to be, be wrong! We really did get spoiled as weekday skiers under the old work in your office model!
Yeah, it could be that things get just more spread out across the week than normal. I expect to see a good sized increase in skier traffic from the normal midweek level and then perhaps some small decrease on weekends due to capacity limits. I wonder how noticeable that will really be weekends given the way people will be spaced out on lifts etc. though. This is actually one of the many reasons I decided to sign up for the seasonal lesson program I've been pondering doing again for a bit. It doesn't start until early to mid-December but then it's a few hours every Saturday and Sunday. Since you get to skip the line when in class it seemed like a really good season to take advantage of that part of things. Also looking forward to having company in class and a lot of things I can work on for times when I may end up skiing solo.
 
#12
Do you know if they are limiting the number of passes available? Presumably there is a capacity limit?
Which region? Which ski resort? Every state is handling the situation a little differently. The northeast is different from the southeast, midwest, or the big mountains out west.

Many, if not all, of the larger resorts are limiting the number of season passes. They know how many day tickets are usually sold. There may be some weekends when no day tickets are available on Saturday for people who don't decide until a few days before that a day trip is of interest.

I've noticed a few holiday days for which day tickets are already sold out for destination resorts in the west.

Early November is when Epic and Ikon holders can start to make lift access reservations. In some cases, that's before day tickets will be made available. Few, if any, discounted tickets will be offered by the usual outlets such as Liftopia. So the percentage of season passholders may well be higher but that doesn't mean more people at the resort. People who buy day tickets will have to both plan ahead and be willing to pay window prices.
 

BMR

Certified Ski Diva
#13
Which region? Which ski resort? Every state is handling the situation a little differently.
We ski at Loon, NH. Last year we bought New England Gold 20/21 season passes, which it now says are no longer available. The only passes they are now selling are Ikon and mid week ones. Sure glad we bought in advance.
 
#14
I expect to see a good sized increase in skier traffic from the normal midweek level and then perhaps some small decrease on weekends due to capacity limits.
Me too.

I do think its possible you see a decrease in the out of control young guys, though I'm not sure. Were these teens and college age guys likely to buy passes, or did they rely on day tickets? Will they be on the ball about making reservations where needed? I don't know. Maybe the logistical hassle of a whole friend group having passes, getting reservations, etc will be too much.

Many, if not all, of the larger resorts are limiting the number of season passes.
What? Is there a limit on Ikon and Epic passes sold, and if there is, to such a degree it will make a difference in crowds? As you've likely heard me complain, the problem at my home mountain last year was too many Ikon sold.
 
#15
We ski at Loon, NH. Last year we bought New England Gold 20/21 season passes, which it now says are no longer available. The only passes they are now selling are Ikon and mid week ones. Sure glad we bought in advance.
Ah, then for sure there are season pass limits. Boyne Resorts has been doing that for all of their locations. Didn't Loon get RFID? That provides a lot of useful data when it comes to trying to come up with appropriate caps for season passes and day tickets. Boyne warned people early on that pass sales would be limited. The Maine Pass was the alternative after it was clear NE Gold could mean too many passholders at Loon to allow enough control without a lift access reservation system.

Boyne website info about midwest passes offered in Oct 2020
Screen Shot 2020-10-26 at 12.31.07 PM.png
 
#16
What? Is there a limit on Ikon and Epic passes sold, and if there is, to such a degree it will make a difference in crowds? As you've likely heard me complain, the problem at my home mountain last year was too many Ikon sold.
I was talking in general about 1-location season passes, meaning individual resorts and not those for which locals use Ikon or Epic as their "unlimited season pass" as well as for trips. As she clarified, the OP is wondering about for one particular resort in the northeast.
 
#17
I was talking in general about 1-location season passes, meaning individual resorts and not those for which locals use Ikon or Epic as their "unlimited season pass" as well as for trips. As she clarified, the OP is wondering about for one particular resort in the northeast.
Oh, okay, but since so many of big resorts are on these multi passes, I'm not sure limiting their own season passes, if they even offer it, will make much difference. It seems like this will mostly come into play at smaller ski areas.
 
#18
Oh, okay, but since so many of big resorts are on these multi passes, I'm not sure limiting their own season passes, if they even offer it, will make much difference. It seems like this will mostly come into play at smaller ski areas.
Recently I came across a table of how many ski areas/resorts there are in the U.S. It's close to 500. Epic and Ikon are used by a lot of people, but still aren't anywhere close to the majority of the locations. What's "big" east of the Mississippi would undoubtedly be considered very small out west.
 

WhyKnot

Certified Ski Diva
#19
Thanks for this thread as I have been thinking in my head about some of these things. I do wonder how often the safety/comfort bar will be wiped down. I KNOW this an aerosol disease but still surfaces can matter. And winter and skiing are sniffle/runny nose/wiping nose festivals. I have thought about this because throughout the ski day I wipe my nose -- and the nose is a/the major transmission point for Covid.

So I've been thinking of a routine for that just as I have with other aspects of the ski day (how I will boot up, get water (best ways to carry water with me), and bathroom (more I've shared on that on this site)). (Normally, that would mean a clean tissue and disposing and washing hands and none of that will be happening as easily). And I will also not fully trust the type of face coverings to be adequate with certain people (i.e. types of masks being effective). I wish the resorts would address this, but I feel like "face covering" is the only box they are concerned about regardless of effectiveness. Distance is our friend to be sure. I am curious how that will translate on the width aspect of lines as another person mentioned above.

PS I had no idea drunk skiers was such a big thing! PPS I guess where I ski I also have not experienced rude lift line / butting line folks (But I also tended to stay away from Saturdays and busy times).
 
#20
Distance is our friend to be sure. I am curious how that will translate on the width aspect of lines as another person mentioned above.
Agree that distance is key, even with face masks. That's certainly how I operate at my local supermarket while shopping. If someone is looking at something near what I want, I wait a bit until they move on. Everyone where I shop in central NC is wearing a mask these days.

I would guess that ski resorts will be changing how the lift corrals are set up in order to spread people out in all directions, not just having more room between the person in front and in back. If you haven't read the NSAA Ski Well Be Well documentation, it's worth a look.

Reminds me of what my local Costco did early on, perhaps in April. It was a rainy day. I went towards the end of the Senior Hour when people were already lined up for the regular opening time. The big doors were open to the area where extra carts are usually stored. There were three parallel lands just wide enough for one person, with a solid line of carts in between the lines. So at least some people could stay drive but they weren't right next to anyone they didn't arrive with.
 

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