Depending where you live, your kids may be doing virtual school (and PE) online. Your gym may be closed. Your kid's sports team may not be practicing. In some areas, even parks are closed. All this - and months of this! - can make an active family get pretty stir-crazy.
Luckily winter offers a way to get outside and active while still prioritizing safety: hitting the slopes.
Related: Ski gear you didn't know you needed
Of course venturing outside with others right now does have inherent risks. However, skiing or snowboarding both have some built-in safety mechanism to lower that risk in addition to added safety precautions that open ski resorts are taking. Here's how you can stay safe when you venture out to the snow.
COVID Safety on the Slopes
We all know the three Ws of dealing with the pandemic: WATCH your distance, WEAR a mask and WASH your hands. Here's how these safety protocols easily play out on the slopes.
While we are constantly being reminded to stay six feet away from others, skiing and snowboarding offer a built-in way to ensure everyone keeps their distance: your gear. The nature of skis and snowboards means that you are naturally kept about six feet away from others whether you are waiting in the lift line or taking a break at the top of a run.
In addition, many ski resorts like Mammoth Mountain in California are limiting lifts to only people in the same family, avoiding strangers riding together in close contact. That can mean fewer people moving through the lift line, so be patient and be prepared for potentially longer wait times.
Wear a Mask
We've all become accustomed to wearing masks at the store and around town, and many ski resorts like Grand Targhee in Wyoming are requiring face coverings for all, anywhere on the mountain. Luckily, skiing and snowboarding apparel makes it easy to mask up and cover your mouth. Whether you're a fan of the full-head balaclava or a neck-only gaiter, both allow you to easily keep you nose and mouth covered while you are in line, on the slopes, or inside.
Tip: Be sure to check the particular regulations at your ski resort. Some prohibit perforated or ventilated face coverings or gaiters that are only single layer.
Wash Your Hands
Because you are usually wearing gloves on the mountain and not touching much communal property, hand sanitation mainly comes into play in rental areas, restrooms, stores, and other common areas. Resorts have not only beefed up their sanitation of commonly touched surfaces but distributed hand sanitizer throughout the property.
Tip: Toss a mini hand sanitizer in your jacket pocket so you can ensure clean hands whenever you need to.
Tips to Make Your Snow Trip Safer
- Bring Your Own Gear. While resorts are taking extra precautions with shared rental gear, avoid the hassle all together by bringing your own. Check second hand stores in mountain areas, used sports equipment retailers like Play It Again Sports or ask friends and family for snow gear they may have outgrown. If you do need to rent, be sure to check resort policies. Many resorts like Sugarbush are requiring advanced online gear rentals with a reservation for pick up.
- Opt for Lodgings With a Kitchen. While many resorts have limited their dining capacity or may even only allow takeout, avoid the crowds altogether by choosing a lodging option with some capacity to cook. Grand Targhee offers slopeside condos at their Sioux Lodge with a small fridge, microwave and two burner stovetop (along with a selection of cookware and dishes) that makes it possible to easily feed a family for all three meals.
- Avoid Common Areas. If you aren't staying on the mountain, be prepared to avoid the lodge and other gathering places. Plan to eat lunch in your car or with a waterproof blanket for a snow picnic. My family loves the JetBoil Flash Cooking System which allows us to heat up hot water in just 100 seconds for ramen, warm sausages, or even mix up a tasty cup of mulled wine for the adults.
- Prepare For Contactless Payment. To limit contact, many resorts like Park City Mountain in Utah are going cashless this winter, requiring payment via credit card or other touchless options like ApplePay. Skip cash and consider setting up a contactless payment option before you visit the mountain.
MORE SKI FEATURES FROM MOMTRENDS
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- Seven ways to prepare your family for ski season during COVID
- Family Ski Trip to Solitude Mountain
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Thanks to Grand Targhee for hosting our stay.