Arapahoe-Basin Crowds at the base of Arapahoe Basin ski area on Nov. 25, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

A Magellan Strategies survey of Colorado skiers reveals apprehension over pandemic protocols, reservations and visitors. “I can go a year without skiing downhill,” one woman said.


Since 2006, Magellan Strategies has polled voters, helping to measure Colorado’s political winds. Last month they turned their analysis to skiers, asking a mountain of questions about the pandemic-muddled season. 

The political strategy firm’s survey of 788 skiers — about 480 of them living near ski areas and the rest hailing from the Front Range — showed a surprisingly large number pondering a season on the sidelines. About 31% of the respondents said they were not planning to ski this season because of the pandemic. And 39% said they had not purchased a pass this season, which means they likely will not be riding chairlifts since most resorts are using day-ticket supplies to control crowds. 

The poll, conducted between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

The skiers who said they were ready to sit out the season cited fears that others might not follow safety guidelines outlined by resorts — like social distancing and mandatory masks — as well as a frustration over reservation systems and concerns over costs in a declining economy. 

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