Covid-Steamboat-Cover After a year of restrictions, skiers and riders can look forward to a season of fewer masks, closer lift seating and more time for togetherness on the slopes. (Steamboat/Facebook)

Last season, Covid gave a jolt to the time-honored habits of skiers and riders, but the 2021-2022 season promises to be a bit less restrictive -- with exceptions.

Most importantly for folks heading to the Rockies, Sierra or Cascades is to check a resort website for the latest. Most all have a separate click for Covid policies, which are usually tied to local, county, and state requirements.

Not all ski and snowboard resorts in the West have released their updated Covid policies, but a number of the larger ones have.

With a few exceptions, skiers and 'boarders can stash their masks while outdoors, including in lift lines and on lifts. So far, exceptions are Sundance, Taos (same for all N.M. resorts), Palisades Tahoe, and Mammoth.

An almost-universal policy this season will be requiring vaccinations and masks for all-mountain employees. At Alta, those living in employee housing will have to have proof of vaccination.

Proof of vaccination for guests going indoors or in some confined spaces (i.e., powder 'cats) applies to a number of resorts, with variations. At all Vail-owned (Epic Pass) resorts, proof is required for ski school, and for "quick-service, cafeteria-style" eating, but not for sitdown eateries where spacing is possible.

Aspen-Snowmass will require proof of shots for anyone staying in SkiCo properties. Others, like Steamboat, want unvaccinated skiers and riders to wear masks but so far won't require proof. All Alterra-owned resorts (Ikon Pass) will encourage self-grouping on chairlifts and gondolas, and masking indoors.

For the most part, the advanced ticket reservation system appears to have gone away although Ikon Pass holders still have to reserve ahead for Jackson Hole and Taos Ski Valley. Parking at Copper no longer requires a call-ahead, but Alta and Eldora will continue parking reservations on weekends and holidays, and Snowbird has it at a cost.

Regardless of Covid, resorts such as Deer Valley, and Arapahoe Basin will continue to limit ticket sales for less time in line and more room on the slopes.

Getting to the hill, most of these resorts will continue to reduce shuttle capacities and require masks while riding to the hill.