An Update on Hitting the Slopes

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Courtesy of Kylee Aitken

Colleen Aitken (10) is shown skiing on Mammoth Mountain with a facial covering to follow new COVID-19 guidelines for the 2020-2021 ski season.

Colleen Aitken, Staff Writer

With local mountains Big Bear and Mammoth reopening amidst growing spikes in the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s what you need to know to shred the snow safely. 

Mammoth Mountain and Big Bear are currently open for the 2020/2021 winter season, however expect all guests to follow their guidelines on how to properly protect themselves, other guests, and locals from the virus that is sweeping through Mono County. Mammoth Mountain’s county is currently in a state of  “widespread” risk, according to California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and is located under the Purple Tier in California’s COVID ranking system. San Bernardino County, where Big Bear is located, is also under the Purple Tier and is considered a “widespread” risk area. 

The mountains have tried to mitigate the risk of visiting the slopes by investing funds into enhancing sanitization and increasing protective measures, including spacing out lines and improving disinfecting procedures, costing Mammoth Mountain over 1 million dollars. 

Some changes you will see on the mountains are required face covering areas, such as indoors and places where large quantities of guests congregate, such as lift areas, gondolas, and shuttles,”

— Aitken

Some changes you will see on the mountains are required face covering areas, such as indoors and places where large quantities of guests congregate, such as lift areas, gondolas, and shuttles. Before coming to the mountain,  it is required to reserve tickets, as to limit the amount of guests that can be on the mountain at a time, in hopes to maintain proper social distancing guidelines. 

Ventilated and single-layer neck gaiters do not qualify as valid face coverings and additional face coverings are required in specified areas. Violation of their mask policies begins with a verbal warning to adjust your face mask in line with protocol, but continuous disregard of the rules can lead to having your ticket or season pass revoked for the day, or even the entire season for repeat offenders.

Both mountains have eliminated indoor seating and dining, but have continued to serve food in their cafeterias to be eaten at distanced tables outside. Renting lodging is available for guests, but in January, Mono County restricted their renting policy and may do so again if their cases rise excessively. 

Renting equipment from the mountains is still available if you do not have your own equipment, but renting from local businesses is encouraged to stimulate the economy and help keep the businesses that have been severely affected by the pandemic afloat. 

 For more details visit Mammoth’s COVID-19 guidelines page here and Big Bear’s guidelines here