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As Colorado enters into yet another champagne power Colorado ski season, the state has released guidance for reopening and safety.

The guidance draws from existing and well-known COVID-19 guidelines for the recreation sector while also establishing some new baseline standards to create common expectations for mountain-specific activities. The plan supports local planning and implementation of area-specific plans that are critical for success.

A robust group of local government officials, local Public Health agencies (LPHA), industry partners and subject matter experts at the state helped to develop this draft. The goal is to have a unified approach to the season; this means those who don’t want to follow health guidelines will be unable to participate in the ski season in Colorado.

These guidelines demonstrate that:

  • Ski areas should work together closely with their local public health agency to develop an area-specific plan and submit to the LPHA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for approval.
  • Ski areas will need to ensure safe employee housing arrangements that mitigate the spread of COVID-19
  • Protocols for crowd management, mask and face-covering mandates and physical distancing requirements need to be included in the area-specific plan
  • Each ski area must work with their local community to develop community-wide plans to ensure lodging guests can safely isolate and quarantine themselves in the event they test positive during their stay.

“Ski areas are a vital driver of the Colorado economy, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Jill Hunsaker Ryan said. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these areas also present unique challenges for controlling virus transmission. A successful ski season will require a strong partnership between ski areas, local governments, local businesses, and the state.  We can use what we’ve learned in the pandemic so far to mitigate risk in ski areas.”

Monarch Mountain Ski Resort in Chaffee County is an active participant in the Chaffee COVID-19 Leadership Roundtable. Monarch Mountain plans to open Nov. 20 for the 2020 ski season.

Featured image: A snowboarder thrills to deep power at Monarch Mountain. Courtesy image.