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Ski Season during COVID-19
Written by Clare Sohn | Published. 2021.02.02 14:18 | Count : 115

As the winter season rolled around the corner back in late November, I was exhilarated to get back to my favorite winter sport: skiing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on the ski slopes the day the resorts opened and stayed there until the day they closed. But this year, many of my winter activities were temporarily put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there are very mixed opinions as to whether skiing is safer than other sports at this time. To be safe, my parents decided to pull me from this season, and to this day, I beg them every night to let me go skiing.

To start, skiing naturally adheres to most of the COVID-19 safety guidelines, as skiers are in most cases socially distanced while skiing or snowboarding down the slopes. There are barely any instances when two skiers ski within less than two meters from each other, except for when skiers collide by accident. With this in mind, I thought that the pandemic wouldn’t be an issue when it came to skiing. But I later realized that skiing down a slope isn’t the only thing that skiers do. There is usually a large crowd of people waiting in line to ride the lifts up to the top of the mountain, creating many opportunities for the virus to spread. As everyone is closely stuck together in the waiting line, there is a high chance and risk that someone infected with COVID-19 could spread the virus to everyone else in the line. Considering this, I was also very hesitant about visiting a ski resort.

[A ski slope during the 2019-2020 season. Photo Courtesy of Clare Sohn. ] 

Not only that, but another major point to be aware of is that many skiers and snowboarders would not be wearing medical/dental masks but would be wearing masks simply for warmth. As a ski/snowboarding mask is simply just a layer of cloth, it definitely is less protective than a medical mask. It’s hard to imagine myself wearing a surgical mask along with a ski mask on top, as I have a hard time breathing even through my ski mask, which often leads me to pull my mask down to take a quick breath.

[A screenshot of the official post by YongPyong Resort
regarding the closure of the resort.
Photo Courtesy of YongPyong Resort.]

In conclusion, even if skiers do follow many of the major safety precautions while skiing, there are some they do not or cannot adhere to. As I understand, ski resorts around Korea were, or are, temporarily closed due to the detection of positive COVID-19 cases on their grounds. Whether you choose to visit a ski resort or not is completely your choice, but you must be aware of the consequences. This season, my parents decided that I would take the season off due to the pandemic, but I am very excited to return next winter for the 2021-2022 season.






Clare Sohn
Grade 10
Seoul Foreign School

Clare Sohn  student_reporter@dherald.com

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