Slopes open as winter weather takes hold: 'Feels really good'

Ski slopes are opening for business this weekend, the first of December, but there are some changes in place this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Demand is high for passes to Little Switzerland in Slinger.

Many patrons say they feel that skiing and snowboarding at a social distance is a coronavirus-safe activity for some fun to get through a year that has been tough on everyone.

"It’s fine that we have to wear masks. I don’t really care. At least we get out and ski and snowboard. That’s the best part," said Oliver Becker.

Skiers at Little Switzerland in Slinger

Thus far, the start of colder weather hasn't brought much snow. For many, the snow on the Little Switzerland slopes is the first look at the white stuff this season. It didn't come from the sky, though -- it came from snowmakers. Saturday, Dec. 5 marked the first time temperatures dipped low enough for them to work.

Co-owner Mike Schmitz says to maintain social distancing, he is limiting the number of customers when the slopes get too crowded.

Skiers at Little Switzerland in Slinger

"We’re limiting capacity indoors. We’re trying to rethink all our traffic flows," Schmitz said. "One-way entrances, and we require masks indoors and outdoors where ever social distance isn’t possible.

"Really we’ve done a lot of proactive things to help us preserve our season."

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Parents and kids at the slopes on Saturday said they feel safe.

"It feels really good," Becker said. "It’s awesome because we can actually finally get out even with COVID."

Scientists are still exploring exactly how COVID-19 may spread in winter sports.

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