For the fortunate few that can afford lift tickets this winter season, they better be ready to fork over enough money to be able to afford a season ticket up-front if you want preferred admittance at as some ski resorts, many of which have abandoned walk-up sales of lift tickets in an attempt to reduce the number of skiers and snowboarders at the resorts because of fears over COVID-19.
To the joy of some—and the consternation of others—Mammoth Mountain in The Town of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., has announced plans to open this winter on Nov. 14; that is if the weather and conditions don’t derail “the best laid plans of mice and men…”as the well-known saying goes. It is still unknown how long and where the wildfires will continue burning. Yet another “unknown” is what the effects will be on the state with the upcoming influenza season in combination with COVID-19, pandemic already being referred to as a “Twindemic.”
According to a letter to the community from Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer for the Alterra Mountain Company, wrote, “We are prioritizing access for season pass holders and will tightly regulate the number of daily lift tickets that will be available by advance purchase only. To this end, walk-up window sales will be eliminated, and the sale of most undated lift ticket products will be discontinued until further notice.”
It has been a summer of unprecedented, record-breaking summer temperatures, accompanied by unprecedented numbers of visitors coming to the area, who all-too-often, ignored local COVID-19 health orders, as well as the state “Stay at Home” order. And then there are the record-breaking number of wildfires with the incredibly poor air quality resulting from the smoke. When will the current Fire Season end? No one knows for certain, but possibly up to November according to some fire officials.
Under the circumstances, there may be no other way for Mammoth Mountain to open other than offering preference to season ticket holders and not allowing walk-up ticket sales in order to meet Mono County’s increasingly strict local health orders that mandate enforcement of wearing masks and face coverings, and conforming to the requirements for social distancing in public. Even indoor dining on the Mountain will be limited to 50% capacity while increasing the number of outdoor options.
“Limiting” is the key word: Limiting exposure to the coronavirus…and yes, even the flu, is the only sure way to ensure the safety of everyone this winter. And the positive side of the equation? At least local people will be working, and local businesses and the local economy opening, bringing some much-needed relief.