A shot from when Arapahoe Basin was able to reopen at the end of the 2019-2020 ski season. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock; The Gazette.

A shot from when Arapahoe Basin was able to reopen at the end of the 2019-2020 ski season. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock; The Gazette.

The state has released a draft of COVID-19 guidance for Colorado's ski resorts, which have been asked to work closely with their local public health agency to form a plan for the upcoming ski season. Plans must then be submitted for an approval process, eventually to be approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Here's a breakdown of a few subjects included in the draft guidance:

1. Masks

Required mask wearing "in accordance with the ski area's plan." The state asks ski areas to encourage mask-wearing in all indoor and outdoor public spaces with some possible exceptions, including when slopegoers are actively skiing or snowboarding.

2. Purchasing tickets

Resorts are being encouraged to promote online sales of lift tickets, rather than the purchase of a lift ticket at a ticket window. This is in order to reduce congestion.

3. Riding the lifts

Guests can not be required to ride a lift with people outside of their party. Resorts are encouraged to keep gondola windows open, regardless of weather. Individuals may opt to ride a lift with members of another party with a minimum of one seat of separation. No more than two separate parties can be on a lift and no operation of lifts at more than 50 percent capacity if the ride is for a mixed group.

4. Social distancing

Resorts are to ensure 6-foot spacing between parties in all directions, including in lift lines.

5. Capacity

Ski resorts have been told to "consider the typical volume of visitors," utilizing crowd management tactics if needed for social distancing.

6. Ski School

Classes should be limited to not more than 10 students with those 11 years of age or older required to wear a mask.

7. Restrooms and locker rooms

Ski resorts should plan to limit capacity and allow for social distancing. Masks should be required in all public and staff restrooms and locker rooms. Reminders to utilize hand-washing, mask wearing, and social distancing shall be posted. Maximize ventilation. Consider use of port-o-potties to reduce indoor crowding and consider blocking some bathroom stalls to reduce capacity.

8. Shops and Rentals

Require masks, reduced contact, limited interactions during fitting process. Reservations should be encouraged, as should specific pick-up times used to limit congestion.

9. Restaurants and dining facilities

Outdoor capacity limits have been removed, though outdoor dining must allow for six feet of space between parties. All standard restaurant requirements apply. Bars should also manage guest volume, limit congregation, and adhere to social distancing rules.

10. In the case of extreme weather and emergencies

Ski resorts have been instructed to prioritize immediate safety of guests when those may conflict with COVID-19 guidelines.

This is just a quick look at the guidance the state is giving Colorado's ski resorts. See the full draft guidance here. A public feedback period for this draft plan lasts until 10 AM on Friday and can be submitted here.

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. He also writes about outdoor recreation, travel news, and more. In his spare time, he loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike.

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