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.