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Staying Safe at the Resort

Tips, Etiquette & Facemasks

With an early end to the spring ski season, many of us are eager to return to the resort to find freshly groomed terrain and secret powder stashes. With some resorts requiring reservations and most mandating facemasks, skiing looks a little different this year. We’ll take a look at what resorts are requiring of us so we can enjoy a full season of skiing. As with every activity this winter, make sure you’re checking and following state and local mandates. This is a great winter to keep it local and get to know your home resort.

Before You Go

Resorts have been working all summer to craft policies and communication for a safe season. When you buy a pass or day ticket (if your destination is still offering day tickets), most resorts will email you information on their COVID-19 operating guidelines. 


Most resorts are limiting capacity to space people out, which means you’ll need to think ahead when booking lift tickets, parking reservations, and rentals. Many resorts are even eliminating day-of and onsite ticket sales in favor of online reservations to better gauge capacity in advance. 


Regardless of state or county regulations, most resorts are requiring face masks wherever social distancing of six feet or more isn’t possible. For example, one of the resorts in our backyard, Deer Valley, requires guests to wear a face covering in lines; when interacting with staff; when riding, loading, and unloading chairlifts; in outdoor common areas where physical distancing isn’t possible, and indoors unless you’re eating or drinking. The bottom line? Wear a mask unless you’re actively skiing. 


Before getting to the resort, familiarize yourself with mask guidance from the CDC and other health authorities. While a neck gaiter may keep you warm, it doesn’t provide the same level of protection as a multi-layer face covering. Some resorts even specify that gaiters aren’t allowed and two-layer face coverings (at a minimum) are required.

In the Liftline

When you get in line, you may see a sign declaring: Drive together, ride together. With everyone only riding up with their parties, lines have been noticeably longer this season so anticipate a bit of a longer interval between runs.  


When queueing, skis and snowboards act as built-in measuring sticks, making distancing easy. Resorts are also attempting to space-out lines to ensure adequate spacing side-to-side as well.


The weekday skier’s go-to—the singles line—may also look different. Instead of squeezing on with three new friends, riders from different parties are encouraged to sit on opposite sides of a 4-person lift.

On the Runs

While many people may feel more comfortable being outside than inside around strangers, be courteous, and give fellow skiers plenty of room when navigating around them on the run. Keep in mind that while you may be quite comfortable navigating around folks on the run, others may not. Practice some extra patience and care when passing folks to help everyone stay safe.

At the Lodge

Make sure to have a facemask to wear any time you’re in the lodge, whether settling in for a meal or warming up from the cold. Many resorts, require a facemask be worn any time not actively eating or drinking. Since a mask may be cold and damp from being worn outside in the snow, it’s a good idea to pack an extra in your pocket for time indoors. Masks are also required in restrooms, so if you’re not taking a mid-run pit stop, have your mask ready. 


And if you’d rather avoid the lodge altogether, pack all your own snacks and beverages to enjoy on the lift or the tailgate for a little parking lot après. 

Our Picks for Facemasks

Staying warm and keeping others safe provide an added challenge for a face covering for skiing. Your mask will likely become wet from snow and breathing in the cold as you ski, so we like ones that provide some warmth and help manage moisture. While adjustable ear loops can be comfortable for general wear, we’ve found that they can cause uncomfortable pressure points under a helmet. Here are our picks for protective face coverings for skiing or snowboarding. Again, be sure to check out the latest guidance from the CDC, as well as your resort’s specific regulations. 


Buff’s Filter Tube is perfect if you already prefer to ski in a buff for warmth. The Filter Tube eliminates seams and bulky fasteners and stays in place with fabric tension around your face and nose. The front panel is doubled up with a pocket for a replaceable filter for added protection. 


Buff’s Filter Mask takes the same principles as the Filter Tube, but in a mask shape to be more snug around the mouth and nose. The elasticized straps over the head keep it in place well under a helmet and goggles.


Outdoor Research Essential Ubertube is available in a lightweight and midweight version, depending on the level of warmth desired. With a similar silhouette to the Buff Filter Tube, the Outdoor Research tube adds ear loops and a nose wire to further secure the tube and keep it up while you’re active. The front of the tube has a double layer of fabric and a slot for Outdoor Research’s replaceable filters


Backcountry Face Mask uses a smooth elastic strap over the head, making for a more comfortable fit below your helmet and goggles. The tie strap at the back of the neck helps secure the mask, and also keeps it on your person if you pull it down to eat or drink. There’s also a kids’ version for a better fit for the young skiers.