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Vail Resorts Announces For The 2020/2021 Season, Including Safety Restrictions & Opening Dates

As all skiing, snowboarding, and other snow sports enthusiasts wait patiently for word as to what the coming season is going to look like, Vail Resorts went ahead and announced just that. Today, August 27th, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz published an open letter to fans and the corporation put out a news release with all kinds of information and details about the 2020/2021 season, including opening dates from across the company.

“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. Striving for consistency will provide our guests, employees, and communities with as much predictability as possible this season, which we believe is worth the extra effort.”

The above, a quote from Katz's letter to the guests, is just the beginning of the information coming out of Vail today. While the letter does go into detail about the restrictions and precautions the mountains will be taking during the coming the season, the key changes to what would be considered a "normal" season are as follows:
  • 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.
“For the vast majority of days during the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to. However, we are not planning for the majority of days, we are planning for every day of the season,” said Katz. “We want to provide assurance to our guests that we will do our very best to minimize crowds at all times – be it a holiday weekend or the unpredictable powder day. We believe this approach will help ensure a safe experience for everyone while prioritizing access for our pass holders.”

As these restrictions and changes are now confirmed, Vail Resorts has also made the decision to extend the pass purchase deadline to September 17th, which includes the deadline to use passholder credits from last season.

Speaking of passholders, they will need to make reservations along with everyone else. However, those looking to make a reservation with their Epic Pass will have a system all their own, which has been detailed at the Epic Pass website, but an overview of what passholders will receive is as follows:
  • 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
Beyond the restrictions, changes, and other information that all guests and Epic Pass holders and fans need to know, Vail Resorts also released news that the people want to know...a list of the projected opening & closing dates for all 34 North American resorts. If you visit the previous link you'll find each and every destination listed according to state or region, starting with Keystone on November 6th. For those of us here in New England, the Epic season starts here on November 13th at Wildcat, NH, and November 14th at Mount Snow, VT.

It seems that all of the folks who decided to go Epic Pass this year now have all the information they'll need at their fingertips. This also makes those passholders some of the first to have confirmed information about the coming season. Will this new information get a few of the undecided folks to go with Epic over the other pass options? We'll see as the fall comes and goes, but for now, those that have made the decision to go with Epic Pass can now start planning their trips. Enjoy!

Photo: The Grand Summit Hotel at Mount Snow, VT - Credit: Mount Snow

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