Known for the “Greatest Snow on Earth,” Utah draws hundreds of thousands of skiers and snowboarders to its slopes every winter.
This season, however, resort executives face a global pandemic which has forced them to reconsider how they do business to open their lifts and lodges safely. Skiers and snowboarders also wonder about changes due to the coronavirus.
Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon projects to open lifts Nov. 30, conditions permitting, according to a press release.
“While I believe skiing and snowboarding are inherently safe, we are doing everything we can to ensure the longevity of the season,” Snowbird general manager and president Dave Fields said in the release.
Snowbird’s plans include limiting the number of guests by adjusting daily lift ticket sales, opening multiple lifts, and implementing online parking and reservations.
Like Snowbird, Brighton Resort is working with the Utah Department of Health and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to ensure the safety of their guests and staff. Brighton has yet to announce an opening day.
Alta Ski Resort is set to open Nov. 21 and has created more space for skiers to social distance by managing capacity and enhancing sanitation strategies.
Ben Rogerson, a student at Salt Lake Community College and regular skier, said he hopes to make it out to the slopes once or twice this season.
“It’s an activity that’s close enough to what we need in terms of social distancing and following COVID-19 regulations,” he said.
Chance Heise, another SLCC student, said he’s feeling more cautious. Though he thinks skiing and snowboarding are safer pandemic activities, he does not plan to participate this year.
“I feel like it will be a lot harder to control,” Heise said, noting winter often brings sicknesses aside from the coronavirus.
As lifts begin to open this season, check with resorts directly for specific changes and COVID-19 protocols.