MT BALDY SKI RESORT IN CALIFORNIA RE-OPENS
23rd April 2020
Last modified on April 29th, 2020
The ski resort claims that if some golf courses in the state can open, then so can a ski resort. The announcement of skiing and snowboarding re-starting amid covid-19 has met with mixed reaction.
“With coverage on the mountain about as good as it gets for April and golf courses reopening around Southern California we have decided to follow suit and open for ‘Ski & Ride Times’” said the resort.
“In stark contrast to a golf course (150 acres), Mt Baldy Resort (800 acres) has more than 4x the area and will be operating at less than 10% of occupancy under this plan.”
“Experienced advanced and above skiers and riders only,” the resort wrote on its website.
“Now is not the time to come learn to ski or ride.”
The rental shop is closed as are the tubing areas.
Mt. Baldy claims to have implemented a covid-19 social distancing operations plan.
“Our ability to operate under these circumstances relies heavily on cooperation from everyone,” the resort stated.
“If you are not feeling 100%, or have any intention of not treating this situation with the respect that it deserves, stay home.”
A day pass costs $99 (£80) and season passes remain valid.
Lift tickets include a reservation time with skiers and snowboarders unable to check in until their designated slot.
Vehicles must be parked 7m apart in the car park
Mt. Baldy will check in a maximum of four people at 10-minute intervals.
The general manager, Robby Ellingson, said he had the idea when he bought a toaster.
He then thought that if he could buy a toaster then he should be able to open a ski resort.
The governor of California has issued a ‘stay at home’ order.
State and local orders prohibit non-essential businesses from operating amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the local are said not to want the resort to re-open for fears that people will bring the virus with them.
Around 100 turned up for skiing and though there was not snow at the bottom of the resort there was around 1m at the top
There has been mixed reaction from local skiers and snowboarders.
Lina Martensson: “This is a terrible idea. You’ll have a bunch of people traveling in a time that travel shouldn’t happen and many countries shelter in place, and they’ll all be in the same place, spreading the disease even more.
This is irresponsible and respectless, and is likely to result in additional deaths.
You say “Our ability to operate under these circumstances rely heavily on cooperation from everyone. If you are not feeling 100% or have any intention of not treating this situation with the respect that it deserves, stay home.”
But some people infected with the disease have no symptoms (yet, or at all) and yet are contagious – it’s not possible to keep infected people away no matter how cooperative people are.
I have read the guidelines on your site, and really hope you change your mind about opening as many people in California shelter in place and the rest shouldn’t be traveling either.”
Others have a different view:
William A. Adams: “Can’t imagine many places more isolated from the virus than one’s car and the wilderness. The economy is taking a bad enough hit without demanding business closures when reasonable safeguards have been put in place. I’m seeing long lines at Costco, retail cashiers without protective gear. That needs more attention. A few season pass-holders and “tee-time” skiers spread out on the mountain is not a significant risk and allows a few wage earners to maintain an income. Over-correcting can be as bad as under-correcting.”
The resort is not be policing the social distancing regulations but asks people to observe them.
“Mt. Baldy Resort is not the ‘Quarantine Police’ and does not intend to be,” officials said.
It ‘suggests’ people ride by themselves and they are asked to cover their faces.
No other ski resorts in California has plans to re-open amid the coronavirus pandemic and some have described the decision as irresponsible.
The USA has suffered the worst death toll of any country with more than 50,000 people dead from covid-19.
In Colorado the authorities have shut two parking areas in Loveland Pass to deter backcountry skiers and riders.
Since the closure of all the ski resorts in the state in mid-March rescue teams have urged people not to take to the backcountry.
The closure of the parking areas was made on road safety grounds.
Elsewhere round the world there are still a couple of resorts open in Sweden, with some in Japan and the Czech Republic.
In Japan people are reported to be flocking to the mountains despite the country going into lockdown.
Mount Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture saw crowds of visitors, including many from outside the prefecture, according to a report in the Japan Times.
The secretary general of the Japan Workers’ Alpine Federation, Takashi Kawashima, said he has received reports that the mountain was crowded with many people from outside the prefecture.
Iceland is also offering skiing, but otherwise most resorts around the world are shut.
There has been some reaction on the PlanetSKI Facebook page: feel free to add your views.