As we begin the countdown for ski operations to commence here in Aspen, many people are wondering about what to expect for a COVID-cautious winter ski season.
What a Long Strange Year It’s Been
It’s clear that a lot of people are eager to get back out on our amazing powder-covered slopes and spend some quiet time here in the mountains. Aspen Skiing Company is trying to balance the enthusiasm with appropriate safety measures and released the opening plan today.
The good news is that outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding and uphilling are designed for easy social distancing. We’re used to wearing face coverings (at least when people are out on the slopes). Pitkin County enacted strict social distancing, mandatory mask zones, and sanitization rules as they completed a multi-phase reopening plan throughout the summer months. As we get into our winter ski season (which also coincides with flu season), we can expect to see strict COVID-19 policies at our local ski resorts.
What to Expect on the Mountain
All four of our ski mountains will open for the season, starting with Aspen and Snowmass on Thanksgiving and Buttermilk/Tiehack and Aspen Highlands on December 12, 2020. Of course, masks or other face coverings will be required in all public areas, including inside of the gondola cars. Passengers will not be required to ride lifts or gondolas with anyone not in their party. All Colorado ski areas will be required to keep people in lift lines separated by 6 feet. For a full list of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s ski area guidelines, visit the CDPHE website.
Restaurants on the mountains are planning to tent deck space and will have heaters and air purification in place to expand socially distanced dining options. There will be monitors making sure people are utilizing face coverings inside the establishments.
Adjusting to the New Normal
Pitkin County recently passed an emergency resolution to hire additional public health personnel to prepare for the upcoming ski season. There will be an influx of tourists and seasonal residents, and the county wants to be sure it has the staffing and planning to handle all the increased testing, contact tracing and vaccine distribution planning (when the vaccine becomes available). The bottom line is we all must do our part to minimize the spread of the virus. Skiing in Aspen is the ultimate getaway, but residents and visitors need to be smart while enjoying our incredible ski resorts.
“People must be flexible and honor the social contract for skiing and boarding that requires you to take precautions to protect yourself and others,” says Adrienne Saia Isaac of the National Ski Areas Associations Ski Well, Be Well campaign—as quoted in a great recent article by The Washington Post.
It’s exciting to know that Aspen’s ski season is just around the corner and that we should have everything open, at least in some limited capacity. Not everything will be normal this year, but we have to make the most of a bad situation. The key thing to remember is that you are able to get outside, hit the slopes and enjoy this winter lifestyle as long as you are following the rules and playing it safe to protect yourself and others.
If you are looking to book a rental, lease a winter home or buy a house or condo in the Aspen/Snowmass area, let me know. Things are selling out quickly and our market is red hot right now. Give me a call today at (970) 366-0891 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Aspen Real Estate
DRE # FA.100019229