I am a bit of a ski bum. I will ski whenever possible. Even if the sky is spitting freezing-cold rain, you can find me weaving down through moguls. I will even do homework on the lifts. Ski season is what I live for. So, like many locals, I anxiously await opening day at Ski Santa Fe — to me, the official start of winter.

I think many of us were uncertain if there would even be a ski season this winter amid the coronavirus pandemic. I was hugely relieved to hear Ski Santa Fe was working to reopen the slopes. Sure, hitting the slopes would be different in order to adhere to social-distancing guidelines — a necessary measure — but I was stoked nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the reopening has lead to controversy and conflict.

On Monday, season passes went on sale. Normally, this would be an exciting prospect, but this is not a normal year. Because part of Ski Santa Fe’s efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to limit the number passes on sale, as well as have daily reservations, only 1,900 units of the new One Pass and One Pass Max were sold.

Due to the limited number and a lack of what a pass this season entailed, people hurried to purchase these. The passes — which, according to Ski Santa Fe, aim to provide “the best chance to ski and ride” with direct access to lifts — sold out by 9 a.m.

Ski Santa Fe offered 1,000 more weekday passes as well, but those sold out by 10 a.m. Unfortunately, weekday passes are not an option for teens because of school.

A lot of locals who are regulars on the mountain missed out on passes this year, and the community is ripe with outrage and disappointment.

To be frank, it sucks. This winter will be difficult enough with the pandemic, but without a pass, participating in snow sports — one of the very few outdoors outlets in these times — might be unaffordable as well.

Many low-income families and teens depend on passes to be able to afford the season. Skiing a season off of lift tickets is just too expensive, even with the “Peak Plus” pass that offers discounts on such purchases. Many of us have been trying to figure out how to make the most of this season despite the setbacks.

I don’t know what Ski Santa Fe has in mind moving forward, and I worry the ski hill could change its mind and cancel passes altogether as coronavirus cases continue to rise in New Mexico. I just can’t help but hope that every Santa Fean can access this piece of “normal” again.

Ben Timm is a senior at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School. Contact him at bentigertimm@gmail.com.

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