Everything You Need For A Socially-Distanced Ski Season
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What's up, Bomb Squad?
Here in sunny California, winter may seem like a far-off dream, but many other parts of the U.S. are gearing up for the start of ski season! With so much going on this year, we've wondered how ski resorts are going to handle the crowds in conjunction with the pandemic and social distancing requirements.
We asked around, and took a look at the updated policies many ski resorts are implementing this year, and distilled them down into an Official Bomber Guide. So, without further ado, here's everything you should do to have a socially-distanced (and still totally baller) ski season!
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1. Reserve your lift tickets and rentals in advance. Ski resorts are trying to find the best way to provide entertainment for their usual winter crowds while also adjusting their maximum capacities for attendance. This means reservations will be harder to come by, and most resorts won't be taking walk-in adventurers. Most resorts are offering online reservations for both lift tickets and equipment rentals, so try to book everything you can as far in advance as possible.
2. If you can, reserve parking in advance too. Another way resorts are capping maximum attendance is by limiting parking, rather than limiting day passes. When the parking lots fill, the resorts are full for the day. To get around this, reserve parking online when the opportunity is available. If parking is first-come, first-serve, try to arrive as early in the day as possible, and be prepared for longer waits in the car lines before you're able to park. It's also a good idea to carpool, to cut down on the number of parking spaces your group needs.
3. Invest in a high quality, reusable mask (or several, if you're planning a longer trip!). Most resorts will require masks everywhere but the slopes themselves. This means bathroom trips, treks to the car, food fuel-ups, the line for the lift, etc. On the slopes, a paper mask is going to be tough to keep up with (especially if it gets wet). To that end, if you don't already have a collection of reusable cloth masks, stock up before your trip.
4. Pack a travel hand sanitizer in your coat's inner pocket. Most resorts will have sanitization stations spread throughout public areas, but you shouldn't count on these -- we're not sure yet how overwhelmed the resorts will be by visitors, so it's a good idea to keep hand sanitizer on you. Use it before and after you get on the lift, anytime you open a door, and when you get your equipment.
5. Stock up on hand warmers and other accessories. Some resorts will not be opening their stock-up shops, so if there's something you usually buy at the resort (like hand warmers, hats, or goggles), grab your own before you get to the slopes. (Pro tip: The BUG Bomb is a great choice for DIY ski goggles.)
6. Put a cooler in your car with snacks and drinks. Similarly, some resorts will not be opening their restaurants. Or if they are, they'll have extremely limited resources for food and drinks available. To that end, keep a cooler in your car stocked with snacks and sports drinks, ESPECIALLY if you have dietary restrictions to worry about.
7. Treat your car like your ski lodge. This year, there will likely not be as many tables available or seats in the ski lodge to camp out at while your group is on the slopes. Be prepared to use your car for things like changing, eating meals, and hanging out.
8. Wear a mask at ALL TIMES when you're not actively on the slopes. And don't be a jerk about it. The only way the resorts are able to stay open this year is if people follow the rules -- and that means mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing at all times. Expect regulations for mask-wearing in all places that aren't the slopes, including lifts and restrooms.
9. Expect longer lines and wait times. Because of social distancing mandates, the usual routines will probably be out the window. This means lifts and equipment rentals may have longer lines and wait times, particularly early in the season while the resorts are still figuring out their new systems.
10. Be nice to the resort workers. A lot of resort staff have faced layoffs this year, and a major dip in income. They're just as happy to have the resorts open as you are, and if you're feeling frustrated by any of the new rules and regulations, odds are they are too. The best way to show support for your resort is to be nice to the resort workers -- a heartfelt "THANK YOU" can go so much further than you know!
Overall, we are SO excited to get back on the slopes, and we hope you are too! By staying prepared, aware, and friendly, we can keep the resorts open and keep up with our favorite winter activities all season long. Now let's hit the powder!