Here’s what you need to know about skiing Vail Resorts this winter.

The company just released a plan that includes reservations and masks for upcoming season. Here’s everything you need to know.

It might mean your favorite powder run might not get tracked up as quick, but it comes at a cost. Emphasizing its commitment to safety in the age of COVID-19, Vail Resorts recently released its operation plan for the upcoming season at its 34 North American resorts. Included in the new schussing strategy: face coverings and social distancing protocols, including a “reservation” system for skiers and riders. One can only suspect that other resorts are examining the policy for their own operations. 

“To help protect our guests, our employees and our communities amid this pandemic, some changes will be required this season,” wrote Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz in the letter posted on the company’s website. “Our goal to design an approach that can remain in place for all of this season…While it will be a little different than we are used to, we are very optimistic it will be a great season.”  

Read full letter here: http://news.vailresorts.com/corporate/vailresorts/winter-operating-plan-2020-letter.htm 

Read more about the reservation system here 

Below is a synopsis of the skiing and riding protocols: 

Face Coverings  

Guests will be required to wear face coverings in every part of the resorts’ operations, which includes loading and riding in chairlifts and gondolas; when inside all buildings; and during all ski and snowboard lessons.  

Physical Distancing  

Lifts and Dining:Physical distancing will be promoted on chairlifts and gondolas, seating only related parties together and distancing singles (opposite sides of four- and six-person lifts and gondola cabins). On-mountain restaurants will be open in limited capacities, with cafeteria-style dining, cashless transactions, and spaced-out seating. No bars will be open, but they will sell packaged libations.  

Reservation system:Vail Resorts is also implementing a new reservation system for all skiers and riders. (“The good news,” writes Katz, “is that we operate many of the largest mountain resorts in North America, and for the vast majority of the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to.”). As part of the system, early season before Dec. 8 will be reserved for pass holders only (no day ticket sales);  and all pass holders will be required to make a reservation before arriving at the mountain. Pass holders will be able to make as many week-of reservations as their pass type and availability allow, and will also be able to book up to seven Priority Reservation Days between Dec. 8-April 4), or as many days as their pass allows during the booking window of Nov. 6 until Dec. 7.  Katz added they don’t believe pass holders will need a reservation to access their partner resorts (Telluride, Sun Valley, Snowbasin, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, Hakuba or Rusutsu). Day tickets will be sold on a space available basis after Dec. 8, through websites and call centers only (no ticket window sales).  

“There is no doubt this season will be different, but we are committed to what matters most: working to protect your safety and wellbeing and providing you with great skiing and riding this winter,” concludes Katz.  

Photo Tom Cohen, Vail Resorts

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