Ski Resorts Prepare for Upcoming Season With Pandemic In Mind


Alexis Perno

A skier works their way down the face of Extrovert, seen from the Sugarloaf lift at Alta Ski Resort.

By Alexis Perno, News Writer



With the winter sports season beginning Nov. 20 for resorts such as Alta and Solitude, the pandemic has necessitated a new ski experience. Measures such as limited capacity, increased sanitation and physical distancing policies will be implemented to ensure both staff and patron safety. 

According to Sara Huey, the Communications Manager for Solitude, the resort will be implementing various forms of touchless technology to streamline the guest experience while providing safe alternatives. The new touchless technology includes paying for parking, automatic faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers in all restrooms and online equipment rentals. 

“We are all very excited to open again for skiing and we’re looking forward to welcoming skiers and snowboarders back to Solitude,” Huey said. “I think it’s going to be a great experience and that familiar experience of skiing and snowboarding will be a nice return to that familiar sport in such a strange year that we’ve had.”

Huey advises guests to stay tuned to Solitude’s website for more information and expect many “small adjustments to streamline” the customer experience.

“Throughout this longer-than-usual offseason, as Solitude skiers, snowboarders and staff have looked forward to the exhilaration of winter, we have been working hard to understand and adopt best practices to prioritize the health and well-being of our employees, guests and community,” said Kim Mayhew, Solitude president and COO.

Andria Huskinson, Alta’s Communications Manager, said about 25% of last year’s ski season was cut short due to closures. Due to Alta’s minimal summer operations, the financial hit wasn’t severe, and Huskinson said this year’s pass sales are “pretty up to par with years past.” 

“I think a lot of people plan on skiing,” she said. “A lot of people are working from home, a lot of kids are doing online school at home, so I think we’ll see more people skiing during the week, not just on the weekends. I think a lot of people are buying the passes because they can get more bang for their buck, basically.”

At Alta, masks will be required anytime physical distancing cannot be followed. On the lifts, riders can self-group and attendants will not force skiers who do not know each other to ride together. Additionally, the singles line won’t exist. The Alf Engen Ski School will only offer private lessons, but ski rentals will be available.

As it says on Alta’s website for COVID-19 operations, the resort encourages skiers to check the page daily and know road and parking conditions before you go.

“It’s kind of a moving target. I don’t think we’ll really know what it’s going to look like until we actually open and kind of get going with stuff,” Huskinson said. “But I’ve obviously missed it. We’ll still be skiing, but it’s definitely going to look different.”

Huskinson said while she’s worried about canyon traffic and longer lift lines, “skiing is still going to be skiing.”

“This is the year to be kind. Be patient,” she said. “We’re still going to be able to ski the same Alta snow and powder we love. It’s just going to look a little different getting to your favorite powder stash.”


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