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Skiing Through a Pandemic

December 5, 2020

Last year on this day I skied for the first time in the season; today I’ve already gotten seven days in—the early snow was better and let the resort open sooner and also since we’re not traveling now thanks to the pandemic, we were here for opening day (last year we were in western Washington with family for about a week at Thanksgiving).

It’s definitely not business as usual this year, nor should it be. There are no walk up lift tickets available for day guests; they have to buy online for specific dates before they head up. Masks are required indoors and in the lift lines. The lift lines have side to side spacing that they haven’t had before. The single rider line which allowed folks to quad up with unrelated groups is no more; singles and doubles are welcome to ride a chair to themselves. I haven’t been in the cafeteria area but understand there’s more grab and go food to let folks get in and out more quickly. There’s a table with masks and hand sanitizer just inside the door we use to the locker room (we weren’t sure until the end of October that we’d even be able to have our locker this year).

For the most part people are following the rules. Masking is definitely way, way higher indoors than it is at our grocery store in town. Some folks are still showing up in the locker room and the bathroom with bare faces or bare noses; whether they’re just not used to the new normal or are anti-maskers isn’t clear. Most of the anti-maskers I’ve seen in Facebook comments are saying they won’t come up because they want to punish the resort for telling them what to do (how many of them even ski or snowboard is debatable).

My first run of the year I wore my indoor mask on the slopes; I stopped that right quick as it got damp too quickly. I now wear a neck gaiter in the lift line—which has been a typical part of my gear forever, just now I pull it up over my nose before I get in line—and a disposable or cotton mask indoors. I’m trying not to spend any more time than I have to inside, just to boot up, pee, and take off my gear at when I’m done. I’d like to spend some money on food or gear to support the resort but I don’t want to go into a restaurant or shop so I haven’t worked that out yet. Maybe try to time it when it’s less crowded? Just load a lot of money onto my pass and spend it next year? I’m not sure.

woman standing on a ski slope wearing a helmet and mask


I know it would have been less risky if I’d rolled over my season pass to next year and just not skied this season. I obviously decided to take the risk. I feel it’s worth it for my mental health. I believe by wearing a mask and taking other precautions, I am minimizing the chances that I will spread the virus to others if I do get it and am asymptomatic for a time. Since I’m not going anywhere else but the grocery store, I’m minimizing my risks of exposure from other vectors. I know other folks have come to other decisions. I know some will think I’m being irresponsible. That’s life in a pandemic. At least my decisions are influenced by science, unlike a lot of people in this area. I try to avoid those people as much as I can and focus on why I moved here, the beauty of the natural surrounding and the opportunities to get out there and enjoy them.

landscape with lake and snow covered mountains



On this date in 2019: Day 1 of Unknown
2018: Crossing the Streams
2017: Fall Road Trip, Part the First
2016: Skol Vikings
2015: On Not Working
2014: Brain Training
2013: In Which My Brain is Fried
2012: Private Leander W.
2009 through 2011: No entries
2008: It’s Holidailies Time
2007: No entry
2006: I Used to Crochet

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