For Colorado’s ski patrollers, masked due to COVID-19, the beards had to go

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Nothing says Colorado mountain man quite like a grizzly, overgrown beard.

But COVID-19 has even spoiled that for some members of Colorado’s ski patrol.

“I didn’t shave this morning, so it’s not like as smooth as a baby’s bottom, but it’s pretty good,” said Tony Cammarata of his clean-shaven face.

Pretty good for a guy who’s usually a bit more scruffy this time of year.

Cammarata is the director of mountain operations for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Summit County.

“Well, everything’s a bit more challenging this year,” Cammarata said.

As it turns out, even the patrollers beards created a hairy situation in 2020.

“A clean-shaven face is what comes with an N95 mask,” Cammarata said. “It requires a seal on your face that, unfortunately, facial hair gets in the way of.”

So, of the 56 ski patrollers on staff, 47 had to de-stubble.

“There’s guys on our staff that I haven’t seen them clean shaven – ever,” Cammarata said. “They all look really good. I can’t believe how handsome some of them are.”

Unlike the beard, the mustache has a stamp of approval from the Centers for Disease Control.

“(The CDC has) a document that will tell you the 42 different facial hair styles that are either approved for use with an N95 mask or not,” Cammarata said. “Now, some (ski patrollers) just have this disgusting little mustache. I’m sure their wives hate it.”

For a bunch of guys who live in a world of close shaves, they’re now literally living on a razor’s edge.

“Everything we’re doing now is to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and our guests,” Cammarata said. “Everyone’s having fun with it.”