The picture is starting to become clearer as to what skiers and snowboarders might expect at resorts this winter at Vail’s Epic Pass resorts and Alterra’s Ikon Pass resorts.
Vail resorts will require reservations in advance and company officials said that they had set up a reservation portal for its 34 North American ski areas, according to an article published by Travel Weekly. Holders of individual lift tickets will automatically reserve their mountain space at the time of purchase, while holders of Vail’s Epic Pass and other pass products will have to reserve mountain space on the portal — typically within a week of the ski day.
Epic Pass holders, who in the past have always had the option of showing up at a mountain when they chose, will still enjoy some perks. Vail won’t sell any daily lift tickets until Dec. 8, leaving mountains open only for pass holders from opening day until that time. In addition, pass holders will be able to reserve mountain space for up to seven different days of Vail’s core Dec. 8 to April 4 ski season before the Dec. 8 start of sales of daily tickets.
On the other hand, another Travel Weekly article indicated that Alterra Mountain Co.’s 14 North American ski areas won’t require pass holders to make reservations for their ski days during the upcoming season.
Alterra instead plans to control capacity by tightly regulating the number of daily lift tickets that will be made available.
“To this end, walk-up window sales will be eliminated, and the sale of most undated lift ticket products will be discontinued until further notice,” CEO Rusty Gregory said in a recent announcement.
Like Vail, Alterra said that customers at its properties will be required to wear masks. However, the policy won’t necessarily apply while skiers and snowboarders are in motion. Face coverings, Alterra said, will be required for all guests and employees throughout destination property where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Of course, additional guidelines could materialize depending on state mandates regarding the pandemic.
Pitkin County (home to Aspen) public health officials are asking the state of Colorado to require visitors this winter season to either show up with a recent negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
A letter recently sent to Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment by the Pitkin County Board of Health — which is made up of elected officials and appointed health experts — says that Colorado should have a “comprehensive statewide approach to visitor requirements,” also including an education campaign and health declaration forms certifying that travelers are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.