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Is it safe to fly to Aspen this winter?

Posted: 28 Oct 2020

After a safe and successful summer, we're confident that our updated guest safety standards enable us to host our visitors safely. Moreover, we are proud to be part of a resort community that is at the forefront of preventative measures while still aiming to stay open and welcome visitors this winter. (Read about the Aspen Snowmass Winter Operations Plan here.)

However, we understand that our guests' decision to travel during a pandemic is not taken lightly. One of our most frequently asked questions is: Is it safe to fly to Aspen?

We are not experts in this field, but we are happy to present information from trusted sources below.

Book early to ensure access to skiing

As you consider booking an Aspen ski vacation this winter, we encourage you to reserve your lodging and purchase lift tickets as early as possible. Our teams are standing by to help you select the perfect vacation rental and purchase your lift tickets, lessons, and equipment rentals.

IATA Study Compares Risk of Contracting COVID-19 Onboard a Plane to Being Struck by Lightning

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) published a study in early October 2020 that demonstrated the low incidence of inflight COVID-19 transmission by tallying published cases: since the beginning of 2020, there have been 44 cases of COVID-19 where transmission may have occurred on a flight. Over the same time period, 1.2 billion passengers have traveled.

"Nothing is completely risk-free. But with just 44 published cases of potential inflight COVID-19 transmission among 1.2 billion travelers, the risk of contracting the virus on board appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

Harvard Study Says Flying May Be Safer Than Grocery Shopping

A Harvard University study, published on Oct. 27, 2020, found that air travel is "as safe as or substantially safer than the routine activities people undertake during these times." The study examined airflow in airplane cabins using computer modeling with results showing that airplane ventilation systems remove 99% of airborne viruses. Air is recirculated within the cabin, but it passes through high-quality filters first. The downward direction of the airflow means virus droplets from one passenger very likely won't come into contact with another passenger.

The Harvard study makes note that the ventilation systems are not effective on their own; they must be accompanied by mask-wearing, disinfection, social distancing during onboarding and deplaning, and passengers self-screening for symptoms.

Department of Defense Study Shows Modern Aircraft Ventilation Systems Don't Spread Virus

The United States Department of Defense also conducted a study with findings released in October 2020 on the effectivity of masks paired with ventilation systems on airplanes.

The results of the study showed evidence that, to receive an infectious dose, a mask-wearing passenger would need to fly 54 hours on a plane with an infectious person.

This study used mannequins aboard a test fuselage loaded with sensors. The mannequins simulated a cough with florescent aerosol tracers for researchers to see where the particles spread. The particles were sucked up into the ventilation system quickly, and the study found the virus was unlikely to land on surfaces or blow into other passengers' breathing zones.

This study also assumed that mask-wearing was continuous and noted that spread can differ when passengers are moving about or using lavatories.

Center for Disease Control Travel Risks

The CDC outlines risks for all types of travel as well as tips to avoid getting COVID-19. Read their guidelines here.

Additional Aspen Snowmass COVID-19 Resources

As you evaluate your decision to book an Aspen ski vacation this winter, check our frequently updated COVID-19 visitor information and reference these local resouces: