Aspen, Colo., has agreed to host the 2021 FIS Snowboard and Freeski World Championships in March after the original host city in China canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Aspen Skiing Company says it's working with Pitkin County and other partners to enact strict COVID-19 protocols going into the event.
“For people who are participants, there are a lot of protocols that they'll have to follow to be a part of it and get credentials to the venue,” said Senior Vice President John Rigney.
Those protocols are still being worked on, but Rigney says anyone associated with the event will participate in daily health checks and COVID-19 testing every 72 hours. Like last month's X Games in Aspen, the event, which runs from March 10-16, will be closed to spectators.
That's a good thing, according to Christine Porter, who teaches public health at the University of Wyoming.
Porter says ski and snowboard competitions are on the safer side of things to participate in during the pandemic because they don't require much physical contact with others.
“If you're only dealing with the competitors and their support system, that's not so bad,” she said. “If you're talking about spectators traveling, they're going to have to stay somewhere, and they're going to have to eat somewhere, and chances are they will socialize. So the real risks are around the event, not the event itself.”
Porter noted that with proper protocols, the event can be safe for participants. “It's less dangerous than many other things we have agreed to do,” she said. “Frankly, eating at restaurants is more dangerous than this event.”
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.