With the encouraging COVID-19 numbers slowly trending downward and increased vaccinations in recent weeks, more cities have begun to open up by enacting looser regulations and restrictions. This reopening, along with the fatigue of quarantine that many have faced, has prompted people to cautiously head to newly reopened holiday and vacation sites.
During my two-week spring break, my family and I decided to escape from the burnout of the pandemic and traveled to Mammoth for a one-day skiing trip. However, the reopening of vacation sites such as Mammoth Mountain have not come without a number of safety protocols and precautions.
At the resort, all guests are requested to maintain social distancing at all times. Since skiing and snowboarding down the slopes, as well as the length of guests’ equipment while standing in lift lines, allows for natural social distancing, making this safety protocol relatively easy to enforce on the mountain. People are also required to wear masks in the base lodges, in lift lines and on lifts, and especially when social distancing may not be possible. To help prevent the spread of the virus, lifts are currently limited to a single household or groups, and in the case that this is not possible, guests sitting with strangers are requested to sit as far apart as possible with at least a one seat space in between.
Inside the resort lodges, additional safety protocols are also in place. Traditional drinking fountains are shut down, with only bottle-filling stations open for skiers and snowboarders to obtain water. Typically serving as a resting place for guests after a run on the slopes, indoor tables in the main area now provide limited seating, and guests are prevented from sitting in this area for more than twenty minutes. They are also unable to drink water nor eat food unless at specific dining areas where tables are spread apart, both indoors and outdoors. Sanitizing stations are also placed throughout the resort, and areas of high-touch points are more frequently disinfected.
Even with these necessary restrictions, I found that they did not take away from the enjoyment of skiing down the slopes. The majority of lift lines and trails at Mammoth Mountain remain open on most days, depending on the snow conditions.
After a full year of quarantine, it was definitely a fresh experience to temporarily escape from staying at home and be able to head down the slopes. The safety protocols, precautions and modified travel experiences at these vacation sites remind everyone of how far the world actually is from the end of the pandemic, but at the same time reveal just how close we are until life can truly be enjoyed again.