Ski Well, Be Well In Banner Elk This Winter

Sam Dean

There’s good news for skiers and snowboarders heading to Banner Elk this winter. Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort are participating in the national Ski Well, Be Well initiative to promote COVID-safe skiing.

Both resorts follow protocols set forth by the National Ski Areas Association. Those include a face covering mandate, physical distancing indoors and out, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting strategies in all public areas, operational plans to manage the flow of people and daily wellness checks for employees.

On the chairlifts, guests are grouped and only ride with people in their traveling party. And the open-air chairs are spaced approximately 50 feet apart and provide constant air flow.

Sugar Mountain vice president Kim Jochl and Beech Mountain general manager Ryan Costin are board members of the NC Ski Areas Association and leading the effort to keep NC’s slopes as safe as possible. Both resorts increased contactless online options for lift ticket purchases and renting ski and snowboard equipment. Both have also enlarged and modified equipment rental facilities to create more distancing.

In general, the NC Ski Areas Association believes skiing is well positioned for safety during a pandemic. The ski areas encompass many acres of open space, the majority of time is outdoors cruising solo down the slopes, face coverings and helmets are already standard gear, and general etiquette calls for spacing on the slopes.

Last, but not least, assess your health before heading to the slopes. If you are or could be sick, stay home — even if it is a fresh powder day. It stinks to miss a day of skiing, but it’s worse to miss an entire season.


For visitor details go to www.BannerElk.com.

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