CEDAR CITY — Brian Head Resort is opening for the winter ski season Friday, with new safety guidelines and procedures in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although we cannot possibly remove all risks associated with COVID-19, we are taking precautions to help reduce unnecessary exposure,” according to the resort’s website, which outlines the tentative plans for the 2020-21 season.
Mark Wilder, public relations coordinator for Brian Head Resort, told Cedar City News Thursday that the resort has made extensive plans to ensure the safety of skiers and employees.
“All the other resorts in Utah, as well as the whole ski industry, are putting a tremendous amount of time and effort into working out workable plans to open, and equally important, to stay open for the whole season,” Wilder said.
One notable change, Wilder said, will be the use of reloadable cards that enable skiers to purchase lift tickets and pay for rentals and lesson sessions ahead of time.
The card will serve as the skier’s lift pass, enabling them to go directly to the lift without having to wait in line at a ticket window, he said.
“We’re really encouraging people to avoid any lines as much as possible and congregating in places, things like that,” Wilder said.
Additionally, mask-wearing, social distancing and other protocols will be followed, in accordance with the recommendations and directives of federal, state and local officials. To see additional guidelines on the resort’s COVID-19 safety page, click here.
Wilder said the resort’s employees have also undergone extensive COVID-19 training and will be doing things like staying at their workstations for breaks, having staggered shifts and coming to work already prepared so as to avoid coming to crowding the locker rooms or lodge areas.
Skiers will also have limited access to the lodge and other indoor areas, Wilder added.
“Our indoor operations are probably where you’ll notice the most difference,” he said. “There’s very little seating in the lodge. The lodge is actually not a place to come hang out anymore, unfortunately, because that’s kind of part of the ski experience. But we’re going to have grab-and-go type foods for people to eat out on the deck or in their car.”
“We want people to feel safe. We’re going to do everything we can to provide that safe environment for them to get outdoors.”
“Outdoor recreation has just skyrocketed starting this summer,” Wilder added. “I think a lot of people got tired of being cooped up. So we’re looking forward to a lot of people wanting to come out and get out there.”
As of Thursday, there had been 19 inches of snowfall at Brian Head this season to date, with none so far this week. Thus, the number of lifts and runs expected to be open for Friday’s opening day is somewhat limited (see list below).
“As we get more covered with both Mother Nature and man-made snow, we slowly open more and more until pretty soon we’ll have unlimited terrain,” Wilder said.
Brian Head Resort chair lifts and runs planned to be open for opening weekend (Nov. 20-22):
- Blackfoot (Chair No. 3): Desbah, Heavenly Daze, Lower half of Overtime.
- Bypass Terrain Park (Located on Overtime): 3 Boxes, 6 Rails.
- Pioneer (Chair No. 6): First Time, You’re Ready, Fun Run.
- Surface Lifts: Pioneer Conveyor, Kids Camp Conveyor.
- Tubing: Navajo Tubing.
- Night Skiing: Friday and Saturday will have regular night operating hours of 4-9 p.m. on Blackfoot.
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