The new moguls to avoid on the ski slopes

Column by John Akal
Posted 11/12/20

As we get into November the snow is starting to fall in the high country and the temperatures are dropping so here in Colorado, that means that all of the ski areas are starting to open. Usually most …

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The new moguls to avoid on the ski slopes


As we get into November the snow is starting to fall in the high country and the temperatures are dropping so here in Colorado, that means that all of the ski areas are starting to open. Usually most of them are up and running by Thanksgiving, but it has been an unusually warm Fall so things are happening a little later than usual, but as of the writing of this column, a couple of them have already started welcoming guests and have some lifts and runs open.

This year, as with everything else 2020, there are some changes going on in the ski industry. Let’s be honest here, spending time crammed in lift lines and riding in enclosed gondolas or next to strangers on multi person chair lifts on cold winter days has always presented some degree of risk when it came to catching colds and flu bugs, that’s nothing new. But we are facing a strain of virus that is much worse and deadly than what we have experienced in the past, so it’s really important that we not only take precautions out there but also be prepared in advance for things we are going to be encountering this year.

First of all, some of the ski areas are instituting a reservation system. To buy a lift ticket, you will need to make a reservation in advance and tickets are going to be very limited. So, unfortunately, that’s going to put a bit of a damper on waking up one morning and making a spontaneous decision to just blow off work and head to the slopes that day. But on the flip side, it’s going to be less crowded on the mountain and open the slopes up for better cruising. You probably won’t be skiing or boarding through as many human obstacles.

It’s likely to help out with the weekend traffic jams up there too. Keeping positive here.

But, before you even think about a day of adventure, I would take a good look at your favorite ski area’s websites to find out exactly what their procedures and limitations are going to be. They are all going to have some kind of restrictions and rules in place and you don’t want to make the drive up there just to have to turn around and go home because you didn’t know something important.

OK, so now you got up there, parked your car, bought your lift ticket and are ready to put the boards on the snow. Well, not so fast. Did you take some time to make sure you have everything you need to get through an entire day up there?

Yeah, you’ve got the usual stuff. Proper warm clothing, gloves, hat, goggles, sunscreen and an energy or candy bar in your pocket and a couple of tissues, but what about a mask? That might take a little more thought when you are talking about masking up at a ski area. I guess you could just wear a traditional ski mask or one of those neck gaiters that pull up over your face. A lot of people are wearing things like that just to go to the grocery store anyway. But give this a little extra thought before you think you are good to go.

First of all, you are heading up into a wet and cold environment. Ski masks always get wet, usually your nose runs a little and by then end of the day, you probably need to throw them in the wash machine. But under normal circumstances, you are just using them to keep warm. This year, you need to keep them effective in protecting you from the COVID virus. So, if you plan on using one of those types of masks, bring some extra ones so you can change them out when they start to get kind of yucky. They don’t take up much pocket space. Once they start to get gross, you won’t want to wear them, so have a clean one handy.

If you are planning on wearing paper masks, bring some extra ones of those along. I mean seriously…They are paper, how long do you think those are going to hold up in that environment? Bring half a dozen.

And one more thing. Bring a plastic zip lock bag to put your used tissues in and plenty of extra of those too. Do what you can to keep yourself and those around you safe. Keep this in mind. If it starts looking like the virus is being spread a lot at ski areas, they will be shut down. Let’s all have a safe and fun Winter, OK?

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at


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