As an activity in the Covid-19 era, skiing has a lot going for it — it’s outdoors, people naturally distance by spreading out all over a mountain, and they’re used to covering their faces. What’s tricky is everything around skiing: renting gear, waiting in lift lines, sharing gondolas and chairs, crowding at mid-mountain restaurants, socializing at après spots.
And so mountain resorts across North America are adjusting their operations to the new reality, from restricting the daily number of skiers and riders to modifying schedules — Jackson Hole, Wyo., for example, will load some lower-mountain lifts earlier so guests can spread out faster.
Naturally, skiers and riders are perplexed: What will the experience be like? If you decide to go for snow, here are a few tips to help you make the most of this unusual season.
Skiers observe Covid-19 related signs while skiing at Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado.Credit…Jamie Schwaberow for The New York Times1. Think ahead
This winter, forget about impulse decisions to waltz in for a few runs: Many resorts won’t have walk-up ticket sales and reservations will be key for almost everything from lifts to rental 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 reservations for parking and many January and February weekends are already full.
Among the big multimountain pass groups, Epic, which is run by Vail Resorts, is instituting a system that prioritizes its passholders. “We’re confident that for the majority of days we’ll be able to accommodate everybody who wants to visit,” Johnna Muscente, the company’s director of communications, said in a telephone interview. “But we need to plan for every day: the busy holiday weekend, the powder day.” The Epic portal acts as a clearinghouse to book days, though you should also check each resort’s website or app for targeted directives.
Ikon holders must also make advance reservations via the Ikon website. Some popular ski areas on that pass, such as Copper Mountain, in Colorado, and Killington, in Vermont, are also implementing advance parking reservations along with controlled day lift sales, so make sure to get your ducks in a row before showing up at the mountain.
Similarly, check what your