Health official: Skiing won’t spread COVID-19, but everything else about it will

If skiing was just skiing, we wouldn’t have to worry about COVID-19 at all, a World Health Organization official said. 

Imagine: An infinite ski run. Endless vertical. No lift at the bottom, but there is no bottom. Just skiing for miles and miles. If that scenario existed, WHO official Dr. Michael Ryan said this ski season would go off without a hitch or infection. 

COVID-19 restrictions outlined in the early season at Welch Village Ski Area in Welch, Minnesota.

“I suspect many people won’t be infected barreling down the slopes on their skis,” Ryan told the Associated Press late last month. 

The WHO said skiing is not inherently risky because the virus does not transmit easily outside when dispersed in the air. Still, almost all ski areas are treading lightly by limiting capacity and even staying closed in some scenarios in Europe. 

Of course, the reason why resorts still have to be careful is all of the activities that surround our favorite pastime. 

“The real issues are going to come at airports, tour buses taking people to and from ski resorts, ski lifts…and places where people come together,” Ryan said to the AP. 

A vaccine is coming. It landed in Minnesota and a number of other states Monday morning. It signals the beginning to the end of this international nightmare. In the meantime, stay patient with your ski area. They are offering one of the safest possible COVID-19 activities, but if the state can trace infections back to lodges and lift lines, they’ll shut it all down again. 

Let’s have a full season. We really don’t have an excuse. 

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