Created: October 11, 2020 10:25 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With ski season a few months away, state officials have been working with New Mexico ski areas to hammer out the rules before people hit the slopes.
“You don't just flip a switch and turn the ski industry on,” said George Brooks, with Ski New Mexico.
Before the snow flies, ski areas hire seasonal workers and carry out maintenance work around the property, but this year is unlike any other.
"We've been working with the governor's office to get a group of CSPs that would show we could open the ski areas responsibility and safely,” Brooks said.
Those CSPs—or COVID safe practices—for ski areas have not been finalized yet, but Brooks said they’re getting close.
"Because of that, we got the green light to go on and our ski areas start to sell their ski passes, which are a very big part of what they do early season,” Brooks said.
Taos Ski Valley put a limited number of season passes on sale last week and Ski Santa Fe’s reservation-based passes will go on sale Monday.
Brooks said not every ski area has figured out if they’ll be operating by reservation only or first come, first serve. It’s almost certain, however, that capacity limits will be in place.
“Probably, we're going to be at about 25% of our capacity, which will look like a weekday. You won't have lift lines. You won't have a lot of crowds,” Brooks said.
"And there will be people, conceivably, that could get up to a ski area and be turned away because we are at capacity. That is a real possibility this winter,” he added.
Brooke said the industry is bracing for a financial hit, but hoping they’re hoping to be proactive to make the season as successful as possible.
“Our ski areas are here for the long haul. They were in these communities, you know, 50 years ago, 75 years ago and they want to be here another 75 years yet to come,” he said.
Brooks said the finalized rules will depend on how the virus is being managed in New Mexico. He’s encouraging people to continue to wear masks and stay home.
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