RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Believe it or not, ski season is right around the corner. In fact, Sugar Mountain Resort officially opened for the winter season last Thursday.
North Carolina ski resorts have already started making their own snow as the 2020-2021 ski season opens. When the coronavirus pandemic began here in March, the North Carolina Ski Areas Association sat down to come up with a plan to keep people safe. The plan, part of the national Ski Well, Be Well campaign, is designed to help visitors stay safe while having winter fun.
Kim Jochl, President of the North Carolina Ski Areas Association and Vice President of Sugar Mountain Resort, explains, “It’s critically important for the health of people, for the health of the economy, for the health of the environment that we all be respectful so that we can continue to ski and enjoy the great outdoors in the wintertime – snowboard, ice skate, tubing, all of those things.”
Most of the winter sports on the resorts are naturally socially distanced as skis and snowboards are generally six feet or more in length and face masks are a part of the required gear.
“We’re being very proactive, trying to make sure we’re all safe and healthy because what better place to be than at a ski area where you are outside on hundreds of acres of outdoor space and doing something healthy and staying healthy,” says Jochl.
Since ski areas are one of the few spots you can safely social distance and still have fun, an uptick in business during the week while the pandemic continues is expected.
“I think what we may see is an increase in midweek business because I think people now have the opportunity to come during the midweek because we’re either at home or working at home, schools are out, so I think what we will see is perhaps a spreading out of skier visits,” Jochl explains.
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