This is an online message from Mt. Hotham, a popular Australian ski resort, that eventually closed for a good portion of the season this year. Could we be seeing these messages here?

This Is Probably Not The Year To Try To Ski Your Age.

Precautions may reduce the number of days you ski, but rest assured that resort managers have been huddling on defensive plays. They got a head start this summer when we all flocked outdoors to bike, hike, paddle, and golf.

“We feel there is going to be a strong demand for skiing, similar to outdoor recreation we saw this summer… Everything will be in record numbers,” said Vernon Greco of Pacific Group Resorts, which includes Ragged Mountain, New Hampshire, and Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Colorado.

Here is some of what ski areas have planned.

Standard Precautions

Following state, regional, city and CDC regulations, areas will uniformly require face masks, social distancing, requesting ill skiers to stay home, and hand sanitizing stations. They will use same-party lift loading, online lift ticket reservations and purchase, parking reservations, and limit ski school class sizes. Signs will abound as reminders. Lift lines will be delineated for six-foot distance on all sides. Many ski area operators feel happy that ski slopes make for social distancing, but will face challenges managing indoor space. The well-loved parking lot schlep? Booting up in the car, and carrying essential items with you skiing is part of the scenario.

Don’t Just Show Up

Adam White of Ski Vermont advised, “Go online and do research. This is not the season for an impromptu ski trip or powder chasing and walk-up-to-the-ski window to buy your ticket. Educate yourself ahead of time, so we can all continue to have a season.” White explained Vermont currently has some of the strictest interstate travel restrictions in ski country.

Trying to make it Predictable

“The exciting thing is that we are going to have a season. We are striving for consistency across the resorts to provide as much predictability as possible,” says Jody Churich, General Manager of Keystone, Colo., which opens Nov. 6 for its 50th season.

“We believe that the majority of skiers will be able to ski and ride on the days they want,” she said of the 37 areas that make up Vail Resorts.

State Quarantines

These are out of the ski areas’ control. In New England, New Hampshire is open to all New England skiers. Utah and Idaho have no travel restrictions.

The Canadian border is closed.

This is the season to try Nordic. Backcountry skiing will also be popular. If you go remote, get some training in First Aid and Avalanche skills.

Outdoor Dining

Ski areas will rely on our outdoor hardiness and business. Spruce Peak base area at Stowe, Vt., comes to mind. Expect outdoor heaters, fire pits, picnic tables, heated benches, ticket kiosks, pop-up tents, family group lessons, and food trucks. Drinking fountains will be closed.

Nordic Skiing Will be Very Popular

Ditto backcountry and uphill access. Nordic saw a run on purchase of season passes and package equipment over the summer, many by first-time skiers. Nordic areas feel confident that inside space won’t be a problem because Nordic skiers tend to buy a ticket and head for the trails and don’t crowd up.

Ready? Let it snow.

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