Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Days Are Getting Shorter!

Yesterday's summer solstice is behind us and the days are now getting (slowly) shorter.  There is still much summer and fall to enjoy, but the orbital parameters strongly suggest that ski season will come.

What the ski season will look like is a big question.  Perhaps we'll be close to a vaccine or there will be a treatment breakthrough that allows us to move forward as we have in the past.  We all hope that's the case, but there's also the possibility that our best strategies remain non-pharmaceutical interventions such as distancing, masking, etc., as they are today.

Some hints at what things might look like are being provided by resort plans in Australia, where resorts are beginning to open.  Traveller reports that resorts are beginning to open this coming week with what Falls Creek resorts calls "business as unusual."  It sounds like lift tickets are being sold in advance, chairlifts will be loaded with half capacity (unless riders are from the same household), lift line queues are being spaced apart, and skiers are being encouraged to bring their own lunches. 

It should be noted that Australia (and New Zealand), unlike the United States, have crushed the curve (cases per million people below, with New Zealand the unlabeled purple line).  Yet these practices are still being implemented. 

In Utah there will be other challenges.  How will people get to the Cottonwood resorts?  UTA busses on ski days are crowded.  Will anyone want to ride them if coronavirus is prevalent?  Should carpooling be encouraged if it means people from different households are social bubbles riding together?  What will traffic in the canyons be like on a powder day?  

Perhaps we might also see a major uptick in backcountry skiers, as occurred after the resorts closed last season and accelerating a trend that has been apparent now for many years.  This could put further pressure on parking at trailhead lots.

Perhaps I worry too much.  Let's at least hope we have a good snow season.  

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