CLEVELAND — Ava, 4, just learned how to ski.
“It’s a great way, I mean, you’re outside. You’re somewhat socially distancing. You’re getting some exercise in, and if you’re lucky, the sun will be out,” said Carla, Ava’s mom.
Like many, Ava and her mom, Carla, have been cooped up inside because of the pandemic. But if you’re willing to brave the cold, skiing or snowboarding may be just what you need.
“Right now with so much uncertainty in the world, people are looking for an activity to get outside and remain active and people are working from home. Kids are doing remote learning, and this is the perfect opportunity to get outside, feel safe and comfortable with the experience and get some exercise,” said Thomas Conti, who helps manage four ski resorts in Ohio.
Skiing is a socially distanced sport by nature, but resorts are still taking extra steps to keep skiers and snowboarders safe.
“We also changed around our lift lines. We built mazes that are socially distant, six feet apart while you're waiting in the lift, while you're riding a lift. We're going with the quote that says, if you come together, you can ride together,” Conti said.
Conti said all of the ski resorts he manages are experiencing a boom in equipment sales and rentals.
“We're actually seeing an influx of new beginners out here at Alpine Valley. They're trying out the sport, testing out skiing and snowboarding, having a great time out here and right here behind them, we have a lot of lessons going on right now because people are just excited to embrace winter,” Conti said.
It also gives parents a way to get their kids out of the house and away from electronics.
“It’s a great way, we feel safe, everyone’s wearing masks, and it’s a lot of fun. Finally out of the house,” said Jen, a mother who was skiing with her family.
With so much uncertainty going on amid the pandemic, Conti said the one thing that is certain for those in northeast Ohio is winter.
He recommends making the most of it.
“You might not feel comfortable going to your local gym, but skiing is one of the best full-body exercises you can do. So, it's a great way to stay active. And not only is it a great physical escape, but it's a great mental escape to kind of get you out of that zone that you've been trapped inside all the time and get outside,” Conti said.