As ski season approaches, many Colorado counties have raised their COVID-19 alert dial to level red. That means “severe risk” and the only level higher is purple, which is the equivalent to a stay-at-home order.
Summit County, which includes Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Keystone Resort, and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, moved to red level on November 20, 2020. San Miguel County, including Telluride Ski Resort, is one of the latest to increase their alert on November 27, 2020.
What can you expect from a red level ski vacation? And how are ski towns handling the tighter restrictions? Read on for all the details.
Decreased Capacity, Increased Caution
The main change that comes along with the red level alert is reduced capacities. Skiing is still allowed, however some resorts are reducing the number of tickets available. This year, lift tickets and season passes must be bought in advance. Now we are seeing the number of available tickets reduced even more, so make sure to buy yours if you haven’t yet.
The red level alert also means reduced capacities at retail stores. The Summit County mandate said that such businesses must operate at 50 percent capacity.
No More Indoor Dining
One of the main impacts of the red status level is the restriction of all indoor dining. Thankfully, outdoor dining and takeout is still an option.
COVID-induced al fresco dining was fine in the warm months, but at the end of the ski day, huddling with your food outside in freezing temperatures hardly sounds ideal. However! Ski resorts promise that they are adding extra heaters along with extra outdoor seating.
As far as what visitors can do to prepare? Carrying extra power bars and hand warmers in your ski jacket may not be a bad idea this season.
How to Visit Ski Towns Safely
It is safe to visit ski towns and enjoy the winter ski season if social distancing rules are properly followed. The San Miguel County public health order lists the Five Commitments of Containment, which will look very familiar to those who’ve paid any attention to preventative COVID measures thus far:
- Wear a mask
- Maintain six feet of physical distance
- Minimize group size
- Wash hands frequently
- Stay home when sick and get tested
As numbers rise, Colorado communities are trying to balance rising public health concerns without destroying their local ski-season-powered economies. Skiers this season, whether visitors or local residents, can do their part in protecting these communities by adhering to the rules above.
As a recent, urgent open letter to the San Miguel County community stated, “We are at a critical point. We are taking actions, our business community has taken actions and now we need every one of you to strengthen your efforts to reduce your social interactions, especially indoors, keep your distance and wear a mask in all public places.”