I think it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely decimated the ski industry. Border restrictions, travel bans, safety concerns and endless lockdowns have all lead to a torrid time for anyone that loves snowsports.
Although life is still a long way from getting back to normal, many skiers are eager to get back on the slopes with immediate effect. All of this raises the question: ‘Should I ski during Covid?’
Here at SnowSunSee, we are always trying to remain unbiased, honest and reliable. However, sometimes it’s difficult to hide our overwhelming opinion. Whether you agree with our answer or not, you’re guaranteed a good read…
Well… Should I Ski During Covid or Not?!
Ok so you’re looking for our opinion. You’re looking for a quick answer? Well, in that case: Yes!
If we’re being honest, we think skiing is a Covid safe sport in the making. It involves fresh air, few confined spaces, sunshine and exercise; all of which have been proven to boost immunity and reduce risk of contracting the virus.
Granted, the act of travelling to the resort could still pose a risk for those that need to take public transport or face travel bans. However, many will see heading to the slopes as a risk worth taking and will surely reap the rewards once they arrive.
Either way, we absolutely think that most people should be skiing during Covid. It’s a sure-fire way to improve your health and happiness. It’s a brilliant way to enjoy a hard-earned break.
Why Should I Ski During Covid?
The Mountain is NOT a Confined Space
According to the World Health Organization, the virus tends to spread predominantly via two methods:
- Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range).
- The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time.
Well, considering skiing is performed on a wide open mountain, the chance of contraction via either of these methods is greatly reduced. Wide-open pistes rarely bring you into short range of other skiers, while the ventilation is probably the best in the world.
Now before you start to comment, we already know what you’re going to say. Lift lines, gondolas and mountain restaurants don’t exactly fit into our ‘fresh air and distance’ hypothesis.
However, ski resorts across the globe are working tirelessly to prepare a safe skiing environment that can incorporate
s every safety aspect. Plus, is it really any less safe than heading to your local café, restaurant or grocery store? Maybe, but we think it’s a sensible risk for the majority of skiers.
Your Ski Gear COULD be Beneficial
In the same WHO statement we quoted previously, they also mention a 3rd method of transmission:
- ‘People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands’
Gloves and masks have been a mainstay of the ski industry for many years; and it looks like they’re here to stay. Wearing gloves has become a favourite pastime of those wary of the virus, so they’re sure to love skiing!
Ok, let’s drill down to the truth here. Will ski gloves actually reduce your risk of contracting Covid? Well, the answer is: ‘It depends’.
If you wash them thoroughly after each surface you touch: Potentially yes. If you decide to lick your glove after touching a compromised surface: Probably not.
Either way, we love to find an excuse to convince you that you probably should ski during Covid. If we need to randomly use ski gloves to prove our point, then so be it…
You Might Get Some Sunshine
What better way to sun yourself than by hitting the slopes?! Ok maybe a beach in the Caribbean would be more effective, but remember: we love skiing!
Spending time on the mountain is sure to provide those all-important UVB rays that can boost your health. In fact, it’s ‘one of the most important immune-strengthening nutrients’.
Now, the here’s the key to getting the most out of your ski slope quest for vitamin D; expose your skin. Wear a t-shirt and shorts while you’re skiing. Just do it, it’s sure to boost your immunity…
It’s a Great Way to Exercise
Did you know that exercising is a great way to bolster your immune system? Shocking!
What’s more, hitting the slopes will allow you to complete that all-important workout without even stepping foot in a gym. If you had the choice between breathing mountain air and puffing recycled gym fumes; which one would you choose? Don’t worry; it’s a rhetorical question!
If you’re looking for a way to safely exercise during the seemingly never-ending Covid saga, skiing is a superb choice. It provides the perfect natural setting to work your muscles and tax your cardiovascular system.
Furthermore, isn’t skiing a tad more healthy than lying on a beach eating junk food? If you’re wondering whether you should ski during Covid or take a seaside vacation instead; I think you know our opinion by now…
Release Your Stress and be Happy
Let’s be honest: it’s been a pretty tough time for anyone suffering from the stresses of the pandemic. Mental health is at an all time low for many people, who have been dealing with a variety of strenuous consequences from the virus.
Well, did you know that high stress levels are associated with immunosuppression? Probably not what you need when you’re trying to reduce your risk of contracting a virus.
Do you know what could help you to relieve some stress? Skiing!
If you love skiing, then it’s a perfect way to reduce stress and boost happiness. Interestingly, this also makes it a great way to boost your immunity, with studies suggesting that positive emotions can override the biological effects of adversity.
Ok, so we’re not promising that skiing with a smile on your face is a cure that will end this infectious disease. However, if you’re fit and able enough, it might be worth a try?
You could SAVE the Snowsports Industry
Not going to lie: it’s been a pretty rough ride for all of us that work in the ski industry. Restrictions and resort closures lead to a massive amount of job losses across the globe.
The amount of instructors, hotel staff, restaurant servers and lift attendants left out of work has been catastrophic. Not to mention the effect political policy has had on the job market for members of a certain European nation (ehm, Brexit).
Do you know what everyone working in snowsports needs to get their lives back on track? They need people to go skiing!
So what’s our advice? Of course, it’s to go skiing. Get out and enjoy the mountain. Ski amazing slopes, eat amazing food, meet amazing people and take amazing photographs.
Skiing is the best sport in the world, and it has missed you deeply. Don’t let the feeling of sliding down a slope evaporate from your mind. Rejuvenate your memories, refresh your soul and just put some skis on your feet!
Thoughts From The Author
SHAMELESS DISCLAIMER ALERT: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Note that this is just an opinion piece written by an opinionated qualified ski instructor trying to voice his thoughts!
That being said, I hope that now is the time for us to return to some sort of ‘normal’. Everything is pointing in the right direction for a successful upcoming winter, although I’m sure we can expect a few bumps in this seemingly never-ending road.
My thoughts are positive, my hopes are real and my dreams are alive with the thought of everyone getting back to snow season normality. So let’s all remain optimistic, prepare our ski gear and pray for a wonderful winter. We definitely deserve it.
So to sum up: ‘Should I ski during Covid?’ I guess the ‘professional’ answer is: ‘It depends on your personal circumstances’.
However, you pretty much understand which side of the fence I’m sitting on right now. Have a great winter everyone, I hope to see you on the hill sometime soon.
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.