Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz has announced the Company’s 2020/21 winter operating plan in a letter to guests, which outlines the company’s approach to operating its 34 North American resorts. According to the announcement, the goal is to ensure “a safe, enjoyable and successful ski and ride season”.
Like most resorts, Vail is focusing heavily on its core customers which typically are season pass holders. See a related story on why this might not be the best year for beginners to learn the sports.
Key changes outlined in the plan include:
- Guests will be required to wear face coverings to get on the mountain and in all parts of resort operations, including in lift lines and riding in lifts and gondolas.
- To maintain physical distancing on our chairlifts and gondolas, we will only be seating related parties (guests skiing or riding together) or: two singles on opposite sides of a four- person lift; two singles or two doubles on opposite sides of a six-person lift; or two singles on opposite sides of our larger gondola cabins.
- Ski and ride school will be offered and on-mountain dining will be open, but with changes to help keep guests safe.
- Mountain access will be managed to ensure guests have the space they need. As such, the Company announced a mountain access reservation system and limits on lift tickets to prioritize its pass holders. They receive:
- Exclusive early season access (lift tickets will not go on sale until Dec. 8)
- Access all season with week-of reservations
- Priority Reservation Days to lock in days for the core season before lift tickets go on sale
- Easy-to-use reservation system
- “We are fortunate that our core experience of skiing and riding takes place outdoors, across huge mountains, offering fresh air and wide-open spaces for our guests. However, to help protect our guests, our employees and our communities amid this pandemic, some changes will be required this season,” said Katz. “It has been our goal to design an approach that can remain in place for all of the 2020/21 season. We do not want to be caught off guard or find ourselves needing to make reactionary changes.
To give guests more time to consider the changes, the Company’s Labor Day deadline has been extended to Sept. 17, including the deadline to use pass holder credits from last season.
Vail Resorts plans to kick off its North American ski and snowboard season with Keystone opening on Nov. 6, weather permitting. Scheduled opening dates for each of its resorts can be found here. The Company plans to open all terrain and lifts as soon as possible.