What If Driving Is An Undesirable Or A Non-Option?

Some planes are full; others are half empty. Credit: Picture Alliance

The world’s COVID hangover is going to continue well into 2021 so obviously ongoing precautions are needed to keep from contracting the disease. For those who live within three to four hours by car of a ski area, you’ve got options. Your car becomes your transportation bubble and then while skiing, just stay away from people and wear a mask under your scarf.

However, for those of us who live a long way from a ski area, getting to a ski area is, at best, a one day trek each way. So three days of skiing turn into five, five days of skiing, needs seven, etc.

Ski Apache is the closest to my place in Texas, 560 miles straight west and an eight or nine-hour drive.

Taos is 650 miles from my front door. Plan on 10 hours. I’ve made the drive in eight, but….

Ski Durango, a.k.a. Purgatory and one of my all-time favorite places to ski, is 860 miles away. Plan on 13 hours in a car unless you want a ticket or two.

Conditions are already very good in the Rockies and Sierra Nevada. I can feel the slopes beckoning. So, how do you get to a ski area if you don’t like driving long distance?

If you own a plane or can afford to charter one you can fly in your own bubble. For the rest of us, unless you can take a train or bus, the only other practical way is sitting in an airline seat with 150 or more of ‘your closest friends.’ The airlines have done a yeoman’s job of sanitizing the planes, updating the cabin filtration systems as well as trying to convince the traveling public that sitting in one of their aluminum tubes won’t lead to becoming infected. I’m not convinced.

The risk doesn’t come from just the plane ride. There are the people in the terminals and who knows if they’ve been exposed. Throughout the trip, you touch all kinds of things so latex gloves become the order to the day. Net net, the CDC says the risk of catching COVID is increased if you travel by plane.

When you actually receive the COVID vaccine should be factored into the decision to go skiing. For example, I’m in category 1B (over 75, compromised immune system) which means early this year, I should have the first dose injected. Second dose comes, depending on which flavor you receive, about a month later. Full efficacy of the vaccine occurs about a month after the second injection.

The vaccine gives me choices. There are non-stop flights from DFW Airport to airports a short drive from almost any ski area in the country. In a COIVD-vaccinated world, flying on airlines again becomes the best option for those of us who don’t live near a ski area.

So here’s the timeline that’s rattling around in my head. Mid-January, first dose. Mid-February, second does. Mid-March, full efficacy. That’s when I am going skiing!


  1. thank you very much. Exactly what I needed to know. I will do the same.

  2. So the immediate challenge is to get the first shot ASAP. We are closing in on mid-Jan and nothing is readily available yet. All available inventory is gone in 24-36 hours. And I am 75.

  3. karl hafner says:

    vaccines have never been the only answer. They help but there is more we can do. Why should you waste another ski year waiting for a vaccine? There are several drugs/vitamins that have been shown to prevent and or mitigate the risk of covid. Vit D, zinc, vit C, famotidine, melatonin, quercetin. It would be worthwhile to do an article on the things (other than masks) that one can do to markedly decrease risk from covid and help limit covid to a mild disease. The options extend far beyond what has been mentioned. KFH MD MPH

    • If you Google the search terms “covid famotidine” and “covid quercetin” you should discover that this post is possibly from ex-Stanford radiologist Scott Atlas. This post is misinformation befitting Facebook.

  4. Yvette Cardozo says:

    I’ve seen studies that debunk the vitamin/over the counter drug theory for Covid protection. There is a possibility melatonin may help but best is the usual…mask, hand sanitizer, hand washing, distancing. Ski resorts, at least here in Washington state have, of course, restrictions in place, though the idea of using my car as my ‘base camp’ leaves me less than enthusiastic.

  5. Richard Reddy says:

    Karl, you may make good points. Since you sign as an MD doc and masters of public health holder, why don’t you opine with the back up cites to substantiate your opinions for the rest of us to read and process. thanks much …

  6. Marc Liebman says:

    When you divide 20M vaccines by 50 states, that leaves only 400K/state. Divide that by 20 counties and that’s only 20K per county. My point is that it is going to take time to get it out to us folks. Here in the DFW Metroplex, the county public health organizations are compiling lists and have started administering the vaccine.

    Karl, you can do what you want, but I am wearing a mask, staying away from public events, wearing gloves and washing my hands. The stuff you propose may or may not work. I for one, am not going to put either my family or me at risk. If it means missing another ski season, so be it. I’d rather ski next year than risk getting covid.

    However, all this is irrelevant because I have proof that I am immortal!!!

  7. Bill Tidmore says:

    Me to Marc. Epic pass secured. First vaccine last wk with F/U first of Feb. Previous Navy M.D. during Viet Nam and retired radiologist. 78 and reasonable shape in Wichita Falls. Waiting to ski whenever,somewhere in Colo. or other plane ride areas. Take your Vit. C 2 gms a day and hope for herd immunity is all I can say for this year. Enjoy your contribution to this website.

  8. Bruce Coffin says:

    And for those who: have an Epic Pass
    live 35 miles from VT border (in NY)
    must follow (under penalty of fine) strict VT quarantine rules coming and going i.e. 14 days for a day trip???

    What say ye about that plight?

    Ditto w/ MA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *