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Local Ski Resorts Adapt to COVID-19 Pandemic

“We are in a crazy time right now and we are doing everything we can to operate safely and stay open!” the resort's account posted on Facebook. 

This Tuesday, March 24, 2020 photo shows ski lifts empty in Vail, Colo., after Vail Ski Resort closed for the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
AP Photo/Michael Ciaglo

Skiers and snowboarders headed to the slopes should expect reduced amenities and strict COVID-19 measures in place at local resorts, which began to open Sunday for the winter season, with more openings scheduled next week. 

Social distancing and face coverings will be required at winter resorts around the Southland, which have also lowered their capacities, meaning tickets will go fast and should be bought in advance. Mountain High in Wrightwood opened to the general public Sunday morning with sell-out attendance and reported a snow base of 12 inches and a top depth of 20 inches. 

The resort said rentals and lessons will not be available due to safety concerns, while lounging in the lodge will not be permitted. However, the Yeti Snow Play area will be open with reduced capacity. 

The San Bernardino County resort was forced to delay its opening day after four employees tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, though management said that the resort would open when it was safe to do so in a message posted on Mountain High's website. 

“We are in a crazy time right now and we are doing everything we can to operate safely and stay open!” the resort's account posted on Facebook. 

Snow Valley in Running Springs is set to open on Monday after seeing 18 to 20 inches of new snow in the last 48 hours, according to resort officials. “In the COVID-19 era, lift lines will move much more swiftly at Snow Valley, because its six-person chairlift will safely accommodate the whole family and groups that arrive together,” resort officials said in a news release. Lessons and rentals will not be provided on opening day, but the resort said those services will eventually return. 

Other changes include no cash payments for on-site purchases and outside-only seating for all dining. Snow Summit and its sister ski resort Bear Mountain in the San Bernardino National Forest are scheduled to open on Friday, though season pass holders will be allowed early access beginning on Wednesday. While Snow Summit will be open daily, Bear Mountain will only open Friday to Sunday. 

Single-day lift tickets, rentals and parking will be available for advance purchase beginning Monday. Both resorts will provide lessons, with classes having reduced capacity. Time slots for the Grizzly Ridge Tube Park will also be reduced and enhanced sanitizing protocols and social distancing requirements will be in place.

“At BBMR, our top priority is the wellbeing of our guests, employees, and community. We are continuing to monitor government policy changes, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, and public health announcements and adjusting our practices as necessary to provide a sanitary and enjoyable environment,” the resort posted on its website. 

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Copyright CNS - City News Service
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