Over the weekend, Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor and Timberline resorts partially re-opened, welcoming pass holders for reduced operations.
It’s not exactly a free-for-all. Skiing requires an appointment, and the amount of riders is limited. Mt Bachelor is allowing only 500 skiers per day, for example, with only two skiers allowed per reservation. Timberline hasn’t made clear how many skiers are allowed on the mountain, but they two are reservation-only, with day-of reservations difficult to obtain.
At both resorts, social distancing is required, as are masks and gloves. Chair lifts are running, though with rules that only members of the same household may ride on the same chair, for the most part. Timberline is requesting that only skilled skiers make reservations, to limit potential injuries, and to avoid tying up the area’s medical personnel.
Timberline addressed the importance of re-opening on their website:
Positivity, supporting each other and working for the greater good are at Timberline’s core. Timberline was born from the Great Depression as a response and need to heal: creating jobs, mending communities and bringing back a sense of purpose to a fractured society. It is with this ethos of creation, healing and purpose that we move forward with a limited ski area re-opening and modified hotel operations.
Timberline would like to welcome our guests back and say thank you to loyal pass holders, skiers and riders with a genuine intention to deliberately and responsibly offer much needed relief through outdoor recreation.
Mt. Bachelor and Timberline’s protocols follow how California’s Mt. Baldy approached re-opening in late April.
Both resort openings are part of Governor Kate Brown’s efforts to allow more outdoor recreation, as some camping areas are slated for opening soon.
At least one resort in Montana, Beartooth Basin, which offers late-season skiing, is planning to re-open at the end of the month, likely with similar protections in place. Though with Yellowstone National Park closed, access will be limited to the Montana side of the resort, which straddles the Wyoming border.
Further afield, New Zealand is reporting that they plan to open their ski areas for the season, albeit with social distancing guidelines, part of a broader plan to open more the country during the second phase of their coronavirus response. With international travel locked down in New Zealand, however, don’t bother making plans to catch up on any skiing you missed this winter.
Meanwhile, high-altitude resorts in Europe, like Tignes, France, for example, that offer skiing well into the summer months are carefully making plans to re-open soon.
Reports from how the weekend went at Timberline and Mt. Bachelor may inform how the rest of the country’s ski areas proceed not only this spring, but next fall too.
Top photo: Steven Hartwell