Lake Tahoe cautious for surge of backcountry skier crowds during COVID-19 pandemic

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- Lake Tahoe has been a hotbed for tourists throughout the coronavirus pandemic, wanting to escape to its picturesque, outdoor beauty. Officials haven't seen any signs of that changing during the busy winter season.

RELATED: Ski resorts open with new rules amid COVID-19 pandemic

Although ski resorts have chosen to limit their capacity, outdoor recreation is still allowed under California's health guidelines. Ski shops have already seen an uptick in demand for backcountry recreation, according to SFGate.com.

Officials have expressed concern that too many inexperienced newcomers will try skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry this winter, and have been warning travelers to stay safe. Everyone from non-profit organizations, professional skiers, tour groups, and government agencies have recommended plenty of preparation and advanced avalanche education classes, many of which are selling out.

RELATED: Lake Tahoe residents plan protests over surge of tourists visiting amid pandemic

Lake Tahoe can ill-afford any spikes in hospital visits, if something were to go wrong on the untested slopes. Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe has just nine ICU beds, while Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee was at 80% capacity last week.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.