The ski and snowboard season amidst COVID-19

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Graphic by Natalie Landes

A depiction of where some of California’s most popular ski and snowboard hubs are located.

Natalie Landes, Assistant Editor

When ski season comes around, many students head up to the mountains for a change of scenery. However, new resort protocol and the global pandemic are causing Carlsbad families to weigh the pros and cons of their winter getaways.

Mammoth Mountain, California’s leading ski resort, is set to open on Nov. 14. Both Big Bear and Heavenly, two more popular ski resorts, will be opening on Nov. 20, all with a new set of health and safety guidelines.

“We have invested $1 million dollars in COVID-19 related resort enhancements, including new technologies and sanitization procedures designed to aid with physical distancing and public health and to reduce contact points throughout the resort,” Mammoth Mountain said in an update.

In addition, Mammoth announced they would be giving priority access to pass holders and tightly limiting daily lift ticket sales in order to allow for social distancing.

“I usually go to Mammoth every year,” Senior Caitlin Rodgers said. “I don’t believe [my family and I] will go up this year because there is a limited capacity and we didn’t buy a yearlong pass.”

While most mountain activity occurs outdoors, it is still unclear how the large resorts will maintain COVID-friendly conditions within restaurants and lodges.

“The biggest issue would be people wanting to take a break from the cold and go inside, as that is where it gets pretty crowded,” Rodgers said.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to hit record highs, there is an increased concern for viral spread in high-contact areas – especially for immune-compromised individuals like senior Grace Burch.

“I am at a higher risk of getting the virus and the symptoms that come with it could be worse,” Burch said. “We aren’t going to the mountains this year to protect me and others who may be at risk.”

Despite the pandemic, many students and families are making the decision to ski and snowboard, following the guidelines put in place by resorts.

“I think mountains should [be] open during the pandemic because if people are worried about getting sick they don’t have to go,” Senior Brayden Schaefer said. “People that aren’t worried about getting sick should still be allowed to enjoy themselves.”