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How COVID-19 Will Affect The Ski Season

Flickr / Creative Commons
Skier jumps at Mammoth Mountain

With cooler temperatures and winter snows, mountain resorts are beginning to open across California, and COVID-19 concerns are changing winter sports.

Last year’s ski season wound down just as COVID appeared in the United States. This week the new season is opening in a completely altered reality as COVID levels rise in the country and here in California.


Mammoth Mountain was the state’s first major resort to open last weekend. it straddles two counties in the Eastern Sierras: Mono and Madera. Currently Mono County is in a red, or “substantial risk” tier for COVID, and Madera is in the highest, purple, “widespread risk” tier. Indoor activities are limited in both counties, but outdoor activities continue. So the resort is taking some steps to try to make them safer.  


You can only buy lift tickets online. If you’re renting equipment, dress to stay warm because lines will be outdoors. You can also expect to see mask requirements on the mountain — and we’re talking real masks that function to block the possible spread of COVID — not single layer fabric neck gaiters. Masks are required in lines, on lifts, and in buildings and gondolas. 


Also, guests can ask to travel in gondolas with only members of their group. But if you don’t ask, you may ride up the mountain with people you may ride up the mountain with people you don’t know.


Restrictions will vary from resort to resort. Several others in the Tahoe area are scheduled to open this weekend. 



(he/him/his) I’m a second-generation Berkeley native. I feel lucky to have grown up in an area with a rich non-commercial and alternative radio scene. As a kid I hid a transistor radio below my pillow, exploring across the dial, long after bedtime. I got to work in radio production with KDVS at UC Davis while getting a degree in Wildlife Photography and Writing in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Documentary film and television production was my main work after college. Volunteering with the Gay Men’s Health Collective of the Berkeley Free Clinic, deepened my interest in science and health advocacy, and drew me into work and further studies in public health. In addition to the Bay Area I have lived and worked in Washington, DC, Central America and Mexico. I’m currently involved helping free clinics across California and I’m a medical student educator in several Western states. I love hearing and sharing people’s stories and working to help make lives better. I’m very happy to be learning and practicing journalism and audio production with KALW.