New Mexico ski resorts come up with COVID-safe practices ahead of season

Coronavirus New Mexico

ANGEL FIRE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico ski resorts are hiring workers, selling season passes and getting the grounds ready for another season. However, they are still waiting for word from the governor about what this season will look like.

The ski season in New Mexico is quickly approaching. “I feel it will be very strong,” Angel Fire Director of Marketing Greg Ralph said.

Some resorts say they are optimistic about this year’s turnout. “I think the demand in some times in some places could exceed the supply,” Ralph said.

Angel Fire is expecting a busy winter season after seeing record numbers this summer at their golf course, bike park and lake. “We have practiced all the social distancing procedures,” Ralph said. “We are looking forward to providing that same kind of environment for the winter.”

Ralph said they ordered tents, tables and heaters to create additional seating outside to keep capacity low indoors. They’ll also be regularly cleaning lifts, enforcing a distance of six feet in lines and requiring masks. “The great thing about skiers is they all show up with gloves, masks and goggles so the sport has had those precautions built-in,” Ralph said.

It all falls under the plan for COVID-safe practices that Ski New Mexico submitted to the state a week ago. Executive director George Brooks said all eight ski resorts came together to provide input. “We are suggesting that people ski together, so we are not going to have chairlift operators putting people who do not know each other on the same chair,” Brooks said. “If resorts are limited to the number of skiers that can come up and actually go on the mountain and ski, they may install reservations,” Ralph added.

A concern for Ralph is restrictions on out of state visitors who make up 35% of New Mexico skiers. “For us, a lot of our skiers come from Texas,” Ralph said. “Right now, Texas is a red state. I would like to see Texas go green before winter.”

Despite not knowing exactly what this season will hold, Ralph is hopeful it will be a strong one. “As long as we do the things to provide confidence in visitors that they can come here, have a great time and go home healthy, they will come,” Ralph said.

Ski New Mexico said it hopes to hear back from the governor’s office by early October. Some resorts’ seasons start as early as the week before Thanksgiving, and they expect to open as scheduled. We reached out to the governor’s office about the submitted plans, but we did not hear back.

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