Tough to believe it, but the mountain passes could get its first snow of the season in the next week. Ski resorts around the region are updating their health protocols in preparation for the winter.
Ski managers say they’re trying to stay flexible because if the pandemic has taught them anything, it’s that health guidelines can change quickly.
"We’re all very excited because last year and the year before, we had amazing snow," said Andrea Hamilton, who is an event coordinator at Sturtevant's in Bellevue.
It’s only the first week of October and already Sturtevant’s store is Bellevue is busy with customers shopping for new gear and new boots.
Hamilton advises that customers buy their gear sooner rather than later given the possibility for supply chain problems.
"We are really encouraging people to come and get it as soon as it’s here," said Hamilton.
"I just can’t wait. I’m just looking for snow, waiting for that snow level to drop," said Alela Tallon, who is a local skier.
Stevens Pass said Monday guests this season need to show proof of vaccination to dine indoors. The resort is also requiring all staff to get vaccinated. Masks are still mandatory for indoor settings.
"We’re looking forward to taking what we learned last year and applying those lessons to this season," said Karter Riach, who is the director of marketing and sales at the Summit at Snoqualmie.
Riach said its resort will expand outdoor dining options this year, adding a new food truck and trailer.
"That was a real big hit last year, having outdoor dining, so we want to do more of that," said Riach.
Last year as you may remember, ski resorts around Western Washington limited the number of people riding on its chair lifts. This season, Summit at Snoqualmie says it’s hoping to go back to its normal capacity on lifts.
"We're really looking forward to having more capacity on our quads and our triples and our doubles this season," said Riach.
Mt. Baker Ski Area tells me people will still need to practice distancing at lift lines, and while masks are strongly recommended outside, they’re not required unless distancing isn’t possible.
Skiers tell me that hitting the slopes feels like a safe activity in this pandemic.
"In fact, it’s one of the wonderful things about being able to ski. Because you can be outside," said Tallon.
Crystal Mountain said Monday it won't have capacity limits on indoor spaces or chair lifts this year. However, it will have limited parking, so people are encouraged to carpool or ride a free shuttle from Enumclaw.