PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With the arrival of cold weather, ski season won’t be far behind. And for those who hit the slopes this year, there will be some changes due to COVID-19 that will make that season look a little bit different.
“When you are on the slopes, skiing, and snowboarding, it’s going to be just like it always has been—it’s going to be fun,” assured Dave Tragethon.
While the thrill of hitting the mountain won’t change, Dave Tragethon of Mount Hood Meadows said this year’s season requires some extra planning. There will be social distancing rules in effect, of course, but there are also a lot of other changes outdoor enthusiasts might see, from equipment rentals to purchasing a ticket.
“If you don’t already have your pass, or a lift ticket you purchased online in advance that’s good for the day you are coming, you shouldn’t come up,” said Tragethon.
There is a new system in place to spread out arrival times, where people can buy tickets online and plan ahead for their needed rentals.
“You shouldn’t just arrive thinking that you can arrive at 9:00 on a busy Saturday and that there is going to be a lift ticket waiting for you,” said Tragethon. “In fact, all of our ski rentals and all of our lesson programs require advanced purchase as well.”
The process for picking up rental equipment has also changed. Guest will have to come ready with their reservation information and staff will work quickly to get people in and out so they can hit the slopes.
“Step right into your boot room, get fitted with their boots, go off of the boot ramp and their ski or their snowboards are actually waiting outside, not inside,” said Tragethon.
RV and chartered vehicle parking was also moved in order to make more room for drop-offs. Tragethon said drivers will be able to drop their passengers, and shuttle buses will transport drivers only so as to limit the number of people using the shuttles.
“It really requires everybody to be thinking in advance,” said Tragethon.
He said staff will be using pricing incentives to encourage people to come to the mountain mid-week instead of having a rush during peak times. Day lift tickets will also be time coded, with start times at 9 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.