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First Ski Resort Reopens in US After Coronavirus Closures

chairlift wheel at Mt. Baldy Resort in California
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Mt. Baldy is an all-season mountain resort in San Bernardino, California. And despite coronavirus, it’s open.

Several months ago, hundreds of ski resorts across North America were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Now, a small resort in California has become the first to reopen.

The decision to reopen yesterday came after several counties in California lifted restrictions on golf courses. “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 beginning tomorrow morning,” wrote the staff at Mt. Baldy.

Mt. Baldy is a tiny ski resort with fewer than 30 runs and 400 skiable acres. Still, the resort is taking all precautions to make sure social distancing rules are being observed.

“We are taking the COVID-19 crisis very seriously, and we are implementing several policy changes that will help to ensure the safety and health of our guests and staff,” wrote the resort in a statement online.

“Similar to how a golf course operates, Mt. Baldy will check-in a maximum of 4 individuals at 10-minute intervals.”

How Social-Distance Skiing Works

Here are a few of the rules Mt. Baldy has in place:

  • In accordance with state orders, mask coverings must be worn at all times.
  • Only guests with reservations will be permitted inside resort boundaries.
  • Skiers will be required to park at least 20 feet apart to prevent congregating.
  • Guests should maintain a healthy distance of at least 10 feet.
  • The on-mountain restaurant is closed.
  • There will be no grooming — experienced skiers and riders only.
  • Rentals will not be available.

Whether or not the new guidelines will work depends largely on whether or not visitors comply. “Mt Baldy Resort is not the ‘Quarantine Police’ and does not intend to be,” wrote the resort crew.

However, they do remind everyone that “breaking closures during social distancing protocol will result in criminal prosecution consistent with CA State Trespass Laws.” So yes, get out there and ski. But follow the rules. And don’t take crazy risks — because now is not the time.

Mt. Baldy estimates they will be operating at less than 10% of occupancy under this social-distancing plan. One thing is for sure: If and when other resorts reopen, it will be interesting to see how skiing culture and guidelines change after COVID-19.

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