TRAVERSE CITY — Despite the up and down fall weather we’ve been experiencing winter and ski season are just around the corner.

The last couple of years a few of northern Michigan’s ski resorts have opened mid-November. This year being 2020, who knows.

One thing seems certain, among the many new restrictions that will be in place at ski areas, get used to and be prepared to spend a lot more time outside. Time in lodges will be very limited.

“Skiers and riders should be physically and mentally prepared to boot up at their vehicles and stay outdoors for their time on the slopes,” said Ben Doornbos, Nuns Nob general manager, when we recently communicated about the upcoming season.

“Our lodge will have capacity restrictions like all businesses. There will be times when we expect to reach capacity and coming into the lodge will not be possible. A place to use the bathroom will always be available, but there may be lines.”

Other ski resorts in northern Michigan — Boyne Mountain and Highlands, Treetops, Shanty Creek, Crystal Mountain, Caberfae Peaks, and Mt. Holiday — reiterated the same theme, boot up and change in your car. Among other restrictions in place is a requirement to wear a mask everywhere except when skiing or riding on the slopes and eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. That includes lift lines and while riding the lift. Social distancing will also be required all the time, and when you can’t be 6 feet apart on the slopes, wear a mask. Ride lifts with members of your own group. Ski and snowboard lessons will be limited in size and require an online reservation before arriving at the resort, as well as rental equipment. Check each resort’s website before making a trip for the most current information.

“Currently, we do not plan to require daily reservations for season pass holders. We do strongly encourage guests to purchase lift tickets online in advance,” said Erin Ernst, Boyne communications manager. “They are priced lower and provide contactless pickup. It’s highly possible that tickets may be limited or unavailable to purchase at the ticket window on peak days.”

Most resorts are promoting online ticket sales, but not planning on requiring a daily reservation to ski at this time. During holidays and peak weekend times, if you don’t have a reservation you may not ski. Think midweek when the slopes are not as crowded.

“It promises to be an unforgettable ski season. People have taken to the outdoors and we expect that trend to continue this winter, enjoying the simple act of skiing and riding outdoors. If we all adjust our expectations and work together this could be a special season,” Doornbos said.

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