State finalizes guidance for ski areas and resorts

Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) finalized its guidance for ski areas and resorts this week. The guidance goes into effect immediately. 

After releasing a draft of the guidance on Oct. 14, the state reviewed feedback from community members and organizations from across the state and incorporated feedback into the finalized guidance.

Ski areas are a vital driver of the Colorado economy. 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. 

These guidelines draw from existing and well-known COVID-19 guidelines including:

• Physical distancing of at least 6 feet between parties.

• Wearing masks to the maximum extent possible.

• Health screening and symptom tracking.

• Isolating and quarantining, as required.

Also established are some new baseline standards to create common expectations for mountain-specific activities such as:

• Isolation housing to create opportunities for visiting guests to safely isolate and quarantine themselves in the event that they test positive or need to quarantine during their stay and cannot travel.

• Ensuring safe employee housing environments.

• Limiting ski school cohorts/groups to no more than 10 people.

• Prioritizing the immediate safety and sheltering needs of guests and staff due to extreme weather events when in conflict with these COVID-19 guidelines.

“Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary. We’ve been grateful for the cooperation of ski and resort areas. Our top priority is the safety of Coloradans and ensuring the health care systems in these areas aren’t overrun.” 

This story was posted on October 23, 2020.