Thursday, November 12, 2020

The New Normal: How To Ski In A Pandemic


Today I woke up and began getting that late fall itch as to when the ski season will start. Now that pandemic is the only life, stretching uninterrupted into the distant future, one must drill down on survival strategies. I am relying on skiing to break me out of the house and restore my quarantined mind to equilibrium.

Mt. Hood Meadows, the premier ski hill serving the Portland area, will open with certain guidelines restricting use.

The tools Meadows will use to manage visitation will be limiting sales of lift tickets and multi-day passes and dynamic pricing. A weekend ticket will cost more than a weekday one, incentivizing lower use times. Also, one can purchase a single-use daily ticket for a limited number of hours, such a three-hour window in the afternoon.

The goal in all of this is to keep the number of skiers on the mountain below 3,000. The above graphic shows peak day visits. Interesting to note that even on peak days, the afternoons are not crowded, as most skiers choose to get their runs in early. This just makes sense, as who doesn’t want fresh tracks on a powder day or beautifully tracked groomers in the morning.

Fun fact: The record for skiers at Meadows at one time is 5,400.

The fly in the ointment will be bad weather, when the higher lifts will not be in operation. Then the 3,000 skiers might be on just a few chairs or crammed into the lodge.

I’m planning on eating lunch in the car and only going to the lodge to use the restrooms. Face covering is not a problem.

With that I will now pray for snow.

Ski Stoke!

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