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Lower Peninsula ski areas adopt COVID-19 precautions

HARBOR SPRINGS (AP) — Several ski areas in the northern Lower Peninsula are aiming to adapt their operations as the winter skiing season nears to address public health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The top worry of skiing destinations is usually the question of whether cold temperatures will provide the weather conditions needed to establish a base of snow. But this year their managers also face the uncertainty of how COVID-19 will impact business and how the industry will adapt and develop protocols for safe operation.

“Similar to golf, this sport kind of naturally distances people,” Kevin McKinley, assistant general manager at Treetops Resort near Gaylord, told The News-Review of Petoskey.

While skiing is typically pursued in spacious outdoor expanses with plenty of fresh air, the National Ski Areas Association trade group is still urging ski operators to follow protocols such as loading lifts that avoid close contact between members of different ski parties and following cleaning and disinfection strategies in all areas of their operations. And they’re being encouraged to clearly communicate public health plans and requirements to visitors.