RALEIGH — As the season’s first skiers head down the slopes, the N.C. Ski Areas Association introduces “Ski Well, Be Well,” a program to minimize spread of COVID-19 while highlighting the wellness benefits of winter sports.

“The association leadership is committed to significant measures to curtail exposure to COVID-19 in fresh-air settings that are ideal for meeting our need for physical activity,” said Wit Tuttell, director of Visit North Carolina. “For travelers who are eager to hit the slopes, our six ski areas offer a solid base for planning a trip.”

The protocols adopted by the association draw on scientific guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. They cover staff training, enhanced cleaning, mask wearing, social distancing and other issues. Among the practices travelers can expect:

• A face-covering requirement in indoor and outdoor spaces whenever social distancing isn’t possible, with the exception of eating and drinking. The requirement applies to lift lines, ticket queues, lessons, employee spaces and food and beverage outlets.

• Grouping of members of the same travel party on chair lifts.

• Advanced cleaning and disinfection in all areas of the operation.

• Employee wellness checks.

• Compliance with state and local regulations and reporting of positive cases per CDC guidelines.

Some individual ski areas are undertaking additional measures. Appalachian Ski Mtn., Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort are participants in the statewide Count On Me NC initiative, which offers free, evidence-based training for minimizing spread of COVID-19 while asking the public to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and wait at distance of 6 feet in public spaces. Appalachian Ski Mtn., which requires online reservations as part of its effort, has installed forearm door pulls, sensor faucets and touchless pay systems.

Trip planners can check ski area websites for details or ask for more information by phone or email. The Travel Advisory on Visit NC’s website offers up-to-date statewide travel guidelines and also includes links to destination-specific restrictions that might be in place.

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