Thinking of hitting the slopes? Check Covid protocols before you go

Thinking of hitting the slopes? Check Covid protocols before you go

Chris LeBlanc skis Monarch Mountain near Salida, Colorado, in January 2020. Pam LeBlanc photo

Hankering to hit the slopes in 2021 but not sure if it’s safe during a pandemic?

You’re probably more at risk traveling to a ski resort or eating in a restaurant once you’re there than you are actually skiing or snowboarding, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health agency notes that “outdoors is the safer choice if you want to spend time with people you don’t live with.” It recommends staying at least 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with, bringing a mask to wear when you encounter others, and avoiding crowds and poorly vented indoor spaces. That’s all doable, thanks to protocols in place at Colorado ski slopes to minimize risk of spreading Covid-19.

Most Colorado resorts require advance reservations made online to get lift tickets or parking places. Visitors must wear masks on lifts and in lines.

“We know people want to be outdoors, and they feel relatively safe outdoors,” said Chris Linsmayer, public affairs director of Colorado Ski Country, which represents 22 ski resorts in the state.

He reminds visitors to check with their destination before heading out to know the rules and to reserve lift tickets or book ski lessons (group size is limited.) Check to see if your resort has an ap you can download, like Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort.

“Things are going to look different,” said Olivia Butrymovich, public relations coordinator at Copper Mountain Resort.

Most food service has shifted outdoors to limit indoor gatherings, so grab-and-go offerings or creative options like yurts or gondolas have popped up.

“There are no walkup ticket purchases,” says Jen Miller at Winter Park Ski Resort, who also recommends planning a mid-week trip, to avoid peak weekend days. “You buy in advance, including lessons and rentals.”

It’s easy to stay socially distant while skiing in Colorado. Here, Chris LeBlanc enjoys a deserted run at Copper Mountain in January 2020. Pam LeBlanc photo

Here are some ways to make your trip safer:

  1. Rent a condo, rental house or room with a full kitchen, so you can cook your meals instead of going out. Some hotels, including the newResidence Inn by Marriott in Steamboat Springs, offer a ski valet, grocery deliver and suites with full kitchens.
  2. Book through a management company with safety protocols and social distancing amenities in place. Moving Mountains, which offers luxury rentals in Beaver Creek, Vail and Steamboat Springs, follows CDC and Vacation Rental Management Association Safe Home Guidelines.
  3. Avoid standing in line at a rental shop. Bring your own gear or take advantage of companies like Black Tie Ski Rental Deliverythat offer contactless or minimal contact delivery of skis, boots and poles to wherever you are staying.
  4. Avoid crowded restaurants. Either cook in, or take advantage of options like the eight-person yurts operated by Aurum Food & Wine in Breckenridge and Steamboat. You can dine in a refurbished gondola car in Telluride, or buy takeaway from a snowcat in Snowmass and other resorts.

For more information, go to the Covid page on

The back bowls at Copper Mountain offer plenty of terrain to explore. Pam LeBlanc photo





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