There’s no denying that this virus has taken so much from us. A lot of people lost their income and even people they love. If you are someone who has always loved winter sports and never let a year go by without skiing or snowboarding, there’s no reason why COVID-19 should preclude you from doing what you love during this season.
Especially since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed winter sports as relatively safer because they’re done outdoors, and people are already wearing masks. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has also released safety guidelines that winter sports enthusiasts can abide by to minimize the risks of infection. There’s no reason you should cancel that ski trip. Just don’t forget to abide by the following health and safety protocols:
Do your research on the facilities.
Look into the ski resort you’re thinking of going to and check if they are taking the pandemic seriously. If you’ve been to that ski resort plenty of times, don’t hesitate to call the manager and ask what safety protocols they have put in place to protect skiers and to help prevent infection. If you find that their standards are not up to scratch, look for another resort. You can also ask how many guests they usually accommodate and if they’re following their state’s gathering restrictions.
Take every safety precaution you can before leaving.
Regardless of your symptoms, if you’re not feeling 100 percent healthy, postpone the ski trip for now. This is because even if you don’t have COVID-19 and you’re ill with something else, your body is more vulnerable to the virus, and you might be at higher risk for more serious symptoms. Self-isolate for at least fourteen days before you decide to go.
If you have to fly to the resort, follow your airline’s safety protocols by taking the necessary COVID-19 tests and other requirements. Your compliance is not just for you; it’s for the safety of everyone you will be on board with.
Keep a safe distance from others.
Once you get to the resort, make sure you and your family keep a safe distance of at least six feet from people you do not live with. If you must talk with strangers, make sure that both of you are wearing your masks and that you are more than an arm’s length away from each other. Don’t share a ski lift with people who are not from your household.
Bring our own equipment.
If you and your family have your own goggles, skis, bindings, and snowboard, bring them and don’t borrow from the resort. Even if resorts promise they clean their equipment, you’re still better off using your own equipment, so you don’t have to be anxious about what microorganisms live on the borrowed tools and equipment. That’s already one thing off the list of things you have to overthink or worry about.
Wear your mask properly.
Unfortunately, mask-wearing has become a point of contention for people, especially since 2021 studies show that masks are effective tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, the CDC recommends that skiers still wear their masks underneath their ski masks or scarves. Wear your mask over your nose and make sure it fits snugly and comfortably.
If comfort is a priority, USA Today found that the Athleta non-medical face masks are good for breathability and comfort. Bring extra masks in case your first ones get wet due to the snow.
Keep your hands clean at all times.
Even if you wear gloves, especially since it’s cold out, it’s still beneficial to build the habit of keeping a small bottle of alcohol-based sanitizer in your person at all times. Use a spray one so you can easily spray it onto your gloves, especially after being in contact with high-touch surfaces like the ski lift’s bars. When you go to the restroom, wash your hands thoroughly using water and soap for no less than twenty seconds.
Don’t stay in crowded areas.
It may be tempting to stay for long periods at ski lodges, but you might want to avoid it if it’s incredibly crowded and doesn’t have enough room for physical distancing. You can always buy a warm drink and take it to go, and you and your family can opt to stay in your rooms.
These steps may seem extreme, but they’re a small price to pay to ensure you and your family’s health and safety. The pandemic will end one day—and you and your loved ones can enjoy the same freedom you did before. For now, let’s be safe to help put an end to this virus once and for all.