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USA 2020-21 plans for limiting capacity

Discussion in 'United States' started by MarzNC, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    For an overview of the skiing scene in Vermont, as well as details for three resorts, check out the blog entry by the award winning Ski Diva. She happens to live in Vermont. The resorts represented are independents Bromley and Smuggler's Notch, plus Alterra's Sugarbush. None of these resorts plan to require lift access reservations or parking reservations. However, reservations for renting gear will be required in advance.

    In general, group lessons and childcare at a ski resort will be relatively uncommon in 2020-21.

    Sept. 29, TheSkiDiva.com (USA)
    SKIING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING: THREE VERMONT SKI AREAS LOOK AT THE SEASON AHEAD.
    https://www.theskidiva.com/skiing-a...e-vermont-ski-areas-look-at-the-season-ahead/
     
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  2. oreo

    oreo One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    As someone with an Alta-Bird pass, this is a gift. Didn't get your reserved spot at the bird, just check the alta parking status website and drive on up. Certainly makes life easier.

    However, one big question - now that both alta and bird parking is going to be restricted in some way, I wonder how ski touring parking which is a big use case in LCC going to work. People could easily park in Whitepine parking lot and walk a short distance and be at snowbird but more of a concern is that ALOT of ski touring starts at alta upper lots, near the church or grizzly gulch. If Alta limit parking, they'll have to restrict alta skiers from using those areas which will likely result in ski tourers also being kept out of parking there. Big bummer if it works out that way.
     
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  3. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    During Jan-Mar, how many people touring park in an Alta lot? If Alta starts requiring an Alta pass or lift ticket to park in Wildcat or Albion, that will certainly have an impact.

    Not sure the number of people with Alta/Bird season passes is large enough to make that much difference. But I mostly ski Alta midweek even when I go midseason. It's pretty clear the seniors who ski Alta in the mornings don't bother with Snowbird.
     
  4. oreo

    oreo One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Everyone with an ikon pass is an alta-bird user. Everyone with a snowbird pass gets 1 free day at alta + $40 / day upgrade pricing. If it's a big powder day, there will be people who just upgrade to get a parking spot at alta on first come first serve basis if snowbird is booked out.

    As for ski touring
    The wasatch is probably the most heavily trafficked backcountry zone in the lower 48. Alta carpark near the community center/library/church through to the grizzly gulch/albion basin road winter closure is the most common departure point in the wasatch. So, a lot? Hundred cars or more. They'll have control those parking spots because otherwise resort skiers would just park there and avoid the parking restrictions.
     
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  5. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was thinking about the actual Alta/Snowbird combo season pass.

    My experience is based on being a traveler with friends who are lift-served skiers, not backcountry types. I have to fly to ski in the Rockies and have used both Ikon and the MCP in LCC in recent years. Had the MCP when it was a combo and when it went to 2 days separately for Alta and Snowbird. My sense is that relatively few out-of-state Ikon holders are true powder chasers who book last minute flights. May well be even fewer of those during a pandemic.

    We'll certainly know more by mid-January. I don't think what happens for the first few powder storms in December will be that helpful for seeing if LCC/BCC plans work or not.
     
  6. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mt. Seymour is in BC, not the USA. But it's approach is so far unique enough to mention. Seymour is small, only 200 acres, 1100 ft vertical, and 5 lifts that use RFID for access. They are going to use 4-hour sessions. Arrival times for parking are tied to the time slot on a ticket. With RFID, once the time is up, access to a lift will be gone.

    Mt. Baldy in California is a small mountain near Los Angeles that re-opened briefly in May 2020. They sold day tickets only for just under two weeks. Arrival time was stamped on a ticket. There was someone at entrance of the parking lot that would only let people in who were close to their start time. No announcement yet from Baldy about winter operations. Currently running lifts for viewing fall colors.

    https://mtseymour.ca/weekend-and-holiday-reservations
    Scroll to Lift Ticket Q&A

    LIFT TICKET PURCHASERS Q&A
    Can I turn up and buy a lift ticket?
    No, all products will need to be purchased in advance so that we are able to manage the capacity of the mountain safely and effectively. This also includes tickets for snowshoeing, tubing and tobogganing. Lift tickets purchased in advance are cheaper than if purchased on the day, so we encourage our guests to book early.

    Can I arrive early?
    Parking, if selected when purchasing your lift ticket, will be available for you 30 minutes before your time slot begins so we ask than you do not plan on arriving earlier. No parking will be available for you before this time.

    Why four hours?
    Last season we introduced RFID gates, the data from the gates has shown us that the average time our guests spend skiing and snowboarding was up to four hours. You will be able to stay as long as you want during weekdays outside of holidays but you will still need to prepurchase you lift ticket.

    How far in advance can I purchase a lift ticket?
    Lift tickets can be purchased in advance for any point in the season once they become available online. Lift tickets purchased in advance are cheaper than if purchased on the day, so we encourage our guests to book early.

    Parking?
    Parking allocations will be available to season pass holders and lift ticket purchasers for their visit. Parking is allocated at the time of booking and once the parking spots are full for a time slot either a different time slot will need to be chosen or guests and season pass holders must use the shuttle. We recommend car sharing with your bubble to free up parking spaces for other people.

    Stuck on the road?
    With the reduction in capacity we are confident that time spent waiting on the road will be significantly reduced. Yes, even at 10:30 on a Sunday!

    Can I continue to ski or snowboard after my time slot expires?
    If there is availability for the next time slot you are more than welcome to purchase another timeslot online while you are on the mountain. Make sure you select the reload option! If there is no space available, you will be unable to book and your RFID pass will stop working at the end of the timeslot.

    What if I have a child in a lesson?
    Lesson times will match up with 4 hour ticket time slots. Parents/guardians of lesson participants will be able to book their tickets at the same time as booking their child's lesson. Parents/guardians of children in one of our multi-day camps or private lessons will eligible for our Parent Passes (50% off Area Pass).
     
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  7. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bridger Bowl is an independent ski area that mostly serves people who live in Bozeman, MT. Bozeman is a college town. It's about an hour from Big Sky. What makes Bridger unusual is that it's a very successful non-profit. Some people don't even consider it "old school" anymore because in the past decade they have been able to upgrade lifts and build nice base buildings and a mid-mountain lodge with a nice cafeteria. There is 2000 acres of terrain ranging from a separate beginner area to steeps that require hiking and expert level technique.

    Bridger has clearly been working on winter plans since early July. Updates were posted that promised announcements by early Nov. A lot of info was posted in early Oct. Bridger will require lift access reservations. What's making that possible is the installation of RFID, which was planned for 2020-21 a while back.

    I always ski a few days at Bridger when I go to Big Sky. As a ski area for locals, it gets pretty crowded on weekends. There is an active race program for all ages. Powder days can be pretty busy too, especially when the Ridge opens up. I talked with a grandfather in 2019 who had retired to Bozeman to be close to his son's family. He said he expected to have midweek powder days to himself. Turns out that employers in Bozeman are "powder friendly" as are the schools. Kids with good grades can skip school to go ski fresh powder with no consequences. There were a fair number of tweens and young teens out that day after a 9-inch dump overnight.

    https://www.bridgerbowl.com/pdfs/covid/winter-operation

     
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  8. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jackson Hole has opened up advanced ticket sales for day tickets. Not sure exactly what the prices were last season, but here's what the prices are for Dec 2020. Remember that JH passholders and MCP holders won't need reservations but Ikon passholders will need lift access reservations. Apparently there will be an Ikon Reservation app, which has been mentioned on another resort's website. Ikon Reservations will be available on Nov. 9.



    As of Oct. 7 there is a note that there are "only 165 tickets left" for Jan. 30. The price starting Jan. 4 is $159.

     
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  9. Jonathan_P

    Jonathan_P One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Ouch considering these prices are in USD and I thought skiing in Australia was expensive:)
     
  10. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    JH is a "destination resort" in the Rockies. Those are the most expensive places to ski in the USA. Day tickets went over US$100 about ten years ago. Note that the Epic pass was new in 2008. I think it was a couple years ago that the top prices went over US$200 for a few resorts. That's what can make the Epic Day Pass (1-7 days) a deal since the daily rate ends up around $100/day. This season being able to make a reservation well in advance is yet another reason to consider an Epic pass over Ikon or taking a chance that day tickets will be available for a trip that involves a small group and/or scheduling flights.

    2010 Examples of Day Ticket Prices (US $)

    Montana
    Big Sky: $81
    Bridger Bowl: $47

    Vermont
    Stowe: $89
    Mad River Glen: $65

    Colorado
    Vail: $102
    Beaver Creek: $102
    Aspen/Snowmass: $97
    Copper: $96
    Loveland: $59
    Crested Butte: $87
    Wolf Creek: $52

    Pacific Northwest
    Whistler, BC: $94 (Canadian)
    Mt. Baker, Wash. $51

    California
    Homewood: $57
    Squaw Valley: $86
     
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  11. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    For context, my home hill in northern Virginia is 75 acres, 1100 ft vertical. Weekend day tickets for 8-hours will be US$82 with weekday at $55 and night skiing for $45. The chairlift rides take about 7 min and a run for an intermediate takes at most 5 min since the trails are pretty short. An advanced skier can go from the summit to the lodge in 3 min without really trying too hard. A season pass started around US$450 and will be $600 once all discount deadlines are passed. A Family Pass for a family of four is $1200 for the Value version (any time except Sat 9am-4pm) or $1600 for unlimited access.

    That's pretty much standard pricing for the southeast (south of Washington DC) or mid-Atlantic (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southern New York).

    Reservations are likely to be required at least on weekends at most ski resorts in those regions. Typically lift lines on weekends 10:30am to 3:00pm run 15-30 minutes. People with a season pass who are working and don't have kids would often start skiing at 8:30am and leave by 11:30am. Some places give passholders an extra hour before non-passholders are allowed to load lifts.
     
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  12. Chaeron

    Chaeron Ski-Hike-Blade-Bike-Kayak Ski Pass: Gold

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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...e8a6d2-0719-11eb-859b-f9c27abe638d_story.html

    Washington Post overview of measures across ski resorts for this season

    Vail’s approach gets a full paragraph: “Social distancing will be enforced at ski resorts. To limit crowds, Vail Resorts, one of the world’s largest ski companies, is using a reservation system. Its top-tier Priority level Epic Pass ($999) offers exclusive early-bird booking at its 34 North American properties, including Vermont’s Stowe; Utah’s Park City; and Colorado’s Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Keystone, which opens early on Nov. 6. From Nov. 6 to Dec. 7, priority pass holders can reserve seven “Priority Days,” and later as many week-of reservations as they want. Day lift tickets will go on sale Dec. 8. “This reservation system is a tool to help us manage the unpredictable peak days,” says Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz.”
     
  13. summit_32

    summit_32 Hard Yards Ski Pass: Silver

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    I will be online at midnight Nov. 6 to reserve my ski days for Vail/BC. I'm hoping the reservation system has been thoroughly tested when it goes live !!
     
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  14. Chaeron

    Chaeron Ski-Hike-Blade-Bike-Kayak Ski Pass: Gold

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    From their Australian experience Vail knows how bad it can be.... read through a bit of this thread...( more elsewhere) - Search Epic Reservations...

    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/p...tes-and-conditions.86652/page-76#post-4341232

    Hopefully they’ve learnt from the Australian experiments- it was ugly at times.

    Get on early, persist if the site hangs or freezes or kicks you out.... forumites shared tips with each other on how to manage the process....

    Many website crashes, some cart anomalies, some failed reservations, many who missed out, and some very angry and upset people. Not universal, and they arguably did their best, but they burnt through a lot of goodwill in the process.

    Once the website crashed their customer contact service was also overwhelmed...

    Hopefully it works out. Good luck and happy skiing!
     
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  15. Jonathan_P

    Jonathan_P One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Let’s hope they have invested in load testing.

    Another resort tried bolting on virtual queue to existing system that in my opinion was even worse waiting hours to find it sold out or the website still crashed.
     
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  16. summit_32

    summit_32 Hard Yards Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks @Chaeron and @Jonathan_P - i'm really hoping they've learnt from the Southern Hemisphere experience. VR have copped a fair amount of criticism over the past six-months so you would like to think that the reservation system & the tech needed have been well considered.

    I have a two-week trip booked so regardless i'm going to be short a few days and have to take the chance of additional reservations once in-situ. Not great....
    I will certainly report back on the outcome!!
     
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  17. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    As I remember, when things opened up in June it was for both Epic holders and day tickets. Was there a limit on the number of days that Epic holders could pick?

    For N. America Epic holders get a month before day tickets are available to pick at most 7 Priority Days. That's for 30-some locations in multiple regions, as opposed to three in Australia. Could still be messy the first day or two, but very hard to predict which locations will be the most popular in the early days. Will it be the destination resorts in Tahoe or the Rockies? Or the northeast locations where a lot of city people can drive for shorter trips?
     
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  18. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Ikon reservation system opens up on Nov. 9.

    Jackson Hole is opening up advanced day tickets on Oct. 5. Hopefully the Ikon allotment is separate from day tickets. I plan to use Ikon in Dec for a few days. Going with a couple of friends but they have the MCP, which is not restricted. Since it's early season, I'm not particularly worried. But friends who are going a week later were nervous enough that they bought the MCP even though they already had Ikon. They are planning enough ski days to get good value out of both multi-resort passes.
     
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  19. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wachusett is a very successful family owned and operated mid-size ski area about an hour from Boston. It has a very loyal local following that includes seniors who ski midweek, kids who go after school, and adults in the night session race league. Wachusetts is a small mountain but invested in high speed lifts and RFID quite awhile ago. The long beginner trails even have a long high speed detachable quad. I had a good time skiing there a few days when my daughter was in school in the area. Instead of having her fly for school breaks, I'd drive up and ski for a few days around the northeast. Have a friend who has had a Wachusetts pass for a while.

    About a week ago Wachusett announced that they would be limiting season pass numbers. If someone can't use a pass at all during 2020-21, they can get a full refund. It's not even mid-October yet and most types of passes are sold out. Only one left is the Senior 65+ Gold Pass for US$359. They had added a lower cost option (Steel Mon-Thu) to encourage people to avoid weekends. I think there are a fair number of K-12 schools in that area that are online only.

     
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  20. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The flip side of capacity limits is that the slopes will be less crowded on traditionally crowded days like weekends. Especially true for ski areas/resorts near large population centers. Some people are starting to figure that out. Although others who normally only ski midweek are nervous that there will be too many people for them to feel comfortable because they are used to virtually empty slopes. Often those people only ski a few hours in the morning and live very close to their home mountain, meaning under 30 minutes.

    The author of this article grew up skiing at Tahoe. Her father remembers when lifts were slow and slopes were uncrowded even after a powder storm. The Tahoe ski resorts held a "town hall" phone conference to start getting the word out that they will all be open with adjustments to limit capacity but expect those who make the effort to drive from the city will be rewarded.

    October 9, SFGate in California (USA)
    'Lifts won't be packed:' Could this be Tahoe's best winter ever?
    https://www.sfgate.com/renotahoe/article/Lifts-won-t-be-packed-Tahoe-ski-resorts-15629317.php
    " . . .
    All of the ski resorts in Tahoe are creating a bunch of new levers that they can pull to regulate how many people will be on the slopes. And that sounds pretty good to me. Given the difficult year we’ve all experienced, the thought of standing on top of a ski hill with hardly anyone around makes me swoon. I am still anxious about the lines of traffic heading to the ski resort, but once we’re there and we’re skiing, might the slopes feel more relaxed? If so, and pending a lot of snowfall, this winter could be one of the best in Tahoe.
    . . ."
     
  21. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's becoming clearer that Alterra resorts expect that simply limiting day tickets will be enough to stay within capacity limits during weekends and holiday periods. Presumably the resorts near cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, SLC, or Denver have plenty of data from the past few seasons about the split between day tickets and season passes for a given day. However, with fewer people willing to fly the situation could be quite different at some of the locations.

    I wonder the most about Crystal, Solitude, and Blue Mountain. Although eliminating free parking last season at Solitude seemed to solve their problems from the previous season in terms of crowds on powder days or Saturdays. Although Snowshoe draws from Washington DC and states in the southeast, including as far away as Florida, relatively few people who drive more than 3 hours buy Ikon passes. Snowshoe sells a lot of day tickets to people who only take one ski vacation a year, which is often a long weekend or a short midweek trip for a couple days of skiing.

    Vermont continues to have stringent travel restrictions for all but a few neighboring states in the northeast. That will naturally decrease the number of people interested in going to Stratton or Sugarbush. Even some people who live in the "low risk" states were put off by the attitude of Vermont locals during the summer that felt very unwelcoming.

    Alterra Resorts for 2020-21

    Washington: Crystal Mountain
    California: ???/Alpine Valley; Mammoth, June, Big Bear
    Utah: Deer Valley, Solitude
    Colorado: Steamboat, Winter Park

    Vermont: Stratton; Sugarbush

    West Virginia: Snowshoe

    Québec, Canada: Tremblant
    Ontario, Canada: Blue Mountain
     
  22. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    One of my Top Five ski destinations is Big Sky. Consider going there this season but opted to head to Taos for another Private Ski Week with friends instead.

    Boyne Resorts paused sales of season passes during the summer as they decided how to handle the 2020-21 season. In mid-September plans for Big Sky were posted on their website. In short, they are hoping to avoid limiting lift access for Ikon and MCP holders but will be using the Ikon Reservation system. The FAQ is pretty long.

    Big Sky plans to have divide lift lines by whether or not someone is willing to share a chairlift with strangers. For the new extra wide chairlifts, some sharing will be required. Meaning no solo rides for the 8-pack that starts from the main base, which takes 4-min to reach the top.

    An Early Access option (unguided first tracks) will be available for a fee to load Ramcharger 8 an hour before lifts normally open. That provides access to green, blue, black, and double-black terrain on Andesite Mountain. Andesite is big enough to be a separate ski area.

    Given that the Big Sky tram is pretty small (max 15 people), there may be a new hiking option for Lone Peak terrain: "A new boot pack route is being considered, beginning from the top of Dakota lift to the Yeti Traverse, providing additional access to Lone Peak terrain." The Dakota lift is on the far side of Lone Peak. Hiking from there would allow skiing down Liberty, which is the easiest way down but still only for advanced/expert skiers. There is a lift on the Moonlight Basin side that provides access to that side of Lone Peak.

    https://bigskyresort.com/winter-operations-update

    Excerpt as of Sept. 15, 2020:

    At this time, it is not our intention to limit access to the mountain. However, we may need to take some measures to maintain a safe and responsible experience for our guests by managing skier volume. Here's what we are committed to sharing today:
    • Big Sky Season Passholders are welcome to access the resort any day of the season their pass is valid, at any time during operating hours, and walk up to the lifts as usual. Season Passes are back on sale today for a limited time. Sales may be paused at a future date to continue assessing the number of skiers we can accommodate on the mountain. We hope that by monitoring the number of passes sold, we will avoid implementing a reservation system during the season. Every season pass purchase includes Worry-Free Winter Assurance, which provides a credit towards a 2021-22 season pass based on the number of days lost if the resort were to close due to unforeseen circumstances and operate fewer than 140 days. Passholders also have the option to roll over the value of an unused 2020-21 pass as a credit towards a 2021-22 pass for any reason through December 10, 2020, at no cost.
    • Ikon Passholders can ski when their passes permit access and must use Ikon's reservation system to let us know when they plan to visit. If we need to address volume, there may be a limit on how many Ikon passholders can access the mountain during specific days of the season.
    • Mountain Collective Passholders will also have access to Big Sky Resort when their passes permit access. Mountain Collective passholders may be required to make a reservation before their visit. More details are forthcoming. If we need to address volume, there may be a limit on how many Mountain Collective passholders can access the mountain during specific days of the season.
    • Lift Ticket holders can purchase their desired days of skiing at this time, with no anticipated restrictions. Purchasing your lift tickets online, and before the start of the season will assure access to the mountain for your desired days of skiing. If we need to address volume, availability for lift tickets on desired dates may be restricted for both online and same-day lift tickets sales. Please note, same-day lift ticket sales may be restricted at any time, so we highly recommend securing your winter lift access now.


     
  23. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Alterra is a privately held company but CEO Rusty Gregory is not being shy in terms of granting interviews. At least one of the people who asked questions for Yahoo! Finance is actually a skier. Gregory said the operations manual is over 200 pages. How food service was covered. He noted that there are also plans in progress to make sure people can have a place to warm up if needed. Heat lamps will be a bigger expenditure than usual for sure.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/video/alterra-mountain-ceo-upcoming-ski-172851486.html
     
  24. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jackson Hole opened up day ticket sales in early Oct. JH passholders don't need reservations. Neither do folks with the MCP. Ikon holders will need to make a reservation, which will be possible starting Nov. 9. This season only Full Ikon included JH, up to 7 days. Someone who bought Ikon Base still needed to pay another $150 if they wanted to ski up to 5 days at JH (and Aspen).

    I have Full Ikon and plan to ski JH for a couple days in early Dec. Going with two friends who don't have Ikon but have the MCP. A couple other friends will ski JH the following week for a few days. They have Full Ikon but opted to get the MCP too since they have other trips planned and can easily get value from both Ikon and MCP. One is over 65, so if he skis JH for three days, that will already more than cover the price of the MCP. I think day tickets in early Dec 2019 were $145, but lower prices were available for multi-day purchases. I don't expect many people will buy day tickets during early season. The local hill in town (400 acres, 1600 ft vertical) may be busier than usual this season. Snow King lift tickets still only US$59. It's also on the Indy Pass (US$199, 2 days at assorted locations), which I intend to use there for a day.

    Jackson Hole day tickets, US dollars
    Adult 19-64 : $93 Dec 1-4, $131 Dec 5-18, $164 Dec 19-31
    Senior 65+: $74 Dec 1-4, $105 Dec 5-18, $131 Dec 19-31

    The mid-Dec prices seem to be what applies to mid-season non-holiday days in Jan-Mar. As of Oct. 15, Jan. 30 shows as Sold Out and there were supposedly 248 tickets left for Jan. 31. No other dates had a warning. Although it's possible to buy multiple days, there is no discount. JH uses RFID so the card is re-usable and can be re-loaded. The season starts on Nov. 26, which is the American Thanksgiving Day.
     
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  25. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Big Sky (Boyne Resorts) has day tickets available in the online store. Unlike JH, there is a slight discount for multi-day purchases. Adult age range is 15-69. After early season is over on Dec. 10, the price range starts at $97 and goes as high as $179 during the Christmas/New Year holiday period. Senior 70+ prices are $10-20 less. Midseason rates in Jan and Feb are $169 Mon-Fri and $173 on weekends.

    Boyne limited the number of Big Sky passes they sold in the hope that no reservations will be needed. Ikon holders will need to using the Ikon reservation system, but other than holidays probably don't have much to worry about. The MCP access is unclear as of early October.

    Big Sky Season Passholders are welcome to access the resort any day of the season their pass is valid, at any time during operating hours, and walk up to the lifts as usual. Season Passes are back on sale today for a limited time. Sales may be paused at a future date to continue assessing the number of skiers we can accommodate on the mountain. We hope that by monitoring the number of passes sold, we will avoid implementing a reservation system during the season. Every season pass purchase includes Worry-Free Winter Assurance, which provides a credit towards a 2021-22 season pass based on the number of days lost if the resort were to close due to unforeseen circumstances and operate fewer than 140 days. Passholders also have the option to roll over the value of an unused 2020-21 pass as a credit towards a 2021-22 pass for any reason through December 10, 2020, at no cost.

    Ikon Passholders can ski when their passes permit access and must use Ikon's reservation system to let us know when they plan to visit. If we need to address volume, there may be a limit on how many Ikon passholders can access the mountain during specific days of the season.

    Mountain Collective Passholders will also have access to Big Sky Resort when their passes permit access. Mountain Collective passholders may be required to make a reservation before their visit. More details are forthcoming. If we need to address volume, there may be a limit on how many Mountain Collective passholders can access the mountain during specific days of the season.

    Lift Ticket holders can purchase their desired days of skiing at this time, with no anticipated restrictions. Purchasing your lift tickets online, and before the start of the season will assure access to the mountain for your desired days of skiing. If we need to address volume, availability for lift tickets on desired dates may be restricted for both online and same-day lift ticket sales. Please note, same-day lift ticket sales may be restricted at any time, so we highly recommend securing your winter lift access now.

     
  26. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sun Valley is not planning on any reservations for season passholders. I didn't realize how expensive the passes are, with the unlimited going for US$2500 and the 15-day Plus Early/Late season at $1650. At least there is a pretty good Pass Protection Program. These passes are good at Sun Valley and Snowbasin, which have the same ownership. SV is a Partner for Epic. Epic holders will need to use the VR reservation system and are limited to a few days at SV.

     
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  27. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    For a comparison of a big mountain destination resort with a medium-size resort in the midwest, here are the prices in Dec for Boyne Mountain in northeast Michigan. It's a good half day drive from the closest population center. Boyne Resorts began at Boyne Mountain back in 1947. It became a 4-season resort decades ago with golf, soccer and lacrosse fields, and other summer time activities. Big Sky was bought Big Sky in the 1970s but it's taken a while to put together enough financial resources for major projects like the 8-pack bubble chair. Boyne Resorts owns and operates 9 ski resorts in multiple regions of the USA, plus golf resorts, and has 11,000 employees. Boyne is a major partner for Ikon.

    Obviously the prices for Big Sky and Boyne Mountain are quite different. Big Sky has over 5000 acres while Boyne Mountain has just over 400 acres and not that much vertical, but plenty of lifts to spread people out. There is also an independent ski area right across the road called Nub's Nob. I noticed that there are Early Bird discounts for day tickets at Boyne Mountain. Boyne Resorts is clearly using the same software for all their resorts. I think that may be relatively new since Boyne only recently invested in RFID for lift access at the major mountains.

    Be interesting to see how quickly the holiday period tickets sell out.

     
  28. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some ski resorts have been waiting for guidelines from state government before they could finalize winter operations plans. Probably more of an issue in the northeast (NY, NJ, MA, CT, VT, NH, ME) than in the Rockies. That's the region that has travel restrictions that may well deter people who live within driving distance but would be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Obviously that makes a long weekend ski trip totally impossible.

    Here's a summary of what New York recently released as the guidelines for ski resorts. Although NY doesn't have large destination resorts of the scale of Stowe or any Epic/Ikon resorts in the Rockies, it has about 50 ski areas/resorts. Whiteface in Lake Placid where the Winter Olympics have been held is probably the best known internationally. What's also unusual about NY is that Whiteface, Gore, and Belleayre are owned and operated by the state government. Perhaps less surprising for people who are aware of the history of the NY Adirondack Park, which is larger than many American National Parks and was created in the 19th century. The level of detail in the state guidance may reflect the unique history for skiing in NY.

    https://www.saminfo.com/headline-news/9690-key-eastern-ski-regions-get-government-greenlights

    New York

    Beginning Nov. 6, New York ski areas will be allowed to operate with 50 percent indoor capacity. The interim guidelines put out by Gov. Cuomo and under review by the Ski New York Legislative Committee include relatively standard mandates: face coverings required unless eating or drinking; social distancing between parties at all times; ride-with-your-party lift protocols; and increased sanitization of rental equipment.

    Lessons at New York areas will be limited to no more than 10 people, and transport, F&B, and retail services will be required to conform to additional state-issued guidance. Resorts are also being instructed to operate at 25-percent reduced outdoor capacity during peak periods or when terrain on offer is limited.

    These restrictions are subject to change, and Ski NY is in the process of evaluating which guidelines are required and which are merely recommended. New York will be relying on a data-driven micro-cluster strategy to navigate a scientist-predicted spike in infections this fall. But, said Cuomo during a briefing, “Ski resorts will be allowed to reopen with limited indoor capacity, which will allow New Yorkers to have some outdoor activity this winter without having to quarantine when they come back."
     
  29. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    In the next few weeks, the ski resorts that haven't already announced their winter operations plans will be getting on board. Haven't heard yet about one that isn't planning to open. At the same time, there are plenty of people who are scared that ski resorts will end up shut down like they were in March virtually across the country. The level of pessimism depends a great deal by region.

    Skiing in the southeast (NC, VA, WV, TN) has been around for 50+ years, much to the surprise of people who live in the northern states. The Appalachian Mountains go all the way into Georgia and there are quite a few areas that are over 5000 feet south of Washington DC. Only a few ski areas/resorts made the switch to snowmaking early enough back the 1980s to survive into the 1990s. But those that did have been doing pretty steady business for the last few decades. Fair to say the people who are managers at all the southeast ski areas/resorts are probably optimists.

    The writer of the following article has been working for the West Virginia ski industry for quite a while. Snowshoe in WV is the only true destination ski resort in the region. It's owned by Alterra, was developed by Intrawest, and is on Ikon.

    Oct. 19, Ski Southeast (USA)
    MAKING PLANS NOW FOR LATER

    https://www.skisoutheast.com/making-plans-now-for-later/
    " . . .
    Many of you know that my day job is serving as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association. Due to that position I represent the West Virginia Ski Resorts during country wide meetings. In the past, a meeting or two would be held just so that we knew basically who the players were, so to speak.
    . . .
    I think we all have heard of the saying about that so-called silver lining to bad situations and the weekly meetings of the ski area associations is an example of a good thing coming out of adversity. Seriously the call includes folks from Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, California, etc. During the hour-long chats, nothing is held back when discussing a topic and everything is transparent, meaning everyone is helping everyone.
    . . ."
     
  30. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    For context about U.S. skiing, here's how many places with slopes were open in 2019-20. Note that Big SNOW at American Dream is the first indoor snow facility in the USA. Two others are approved but hard to say when they might actually get built. All three are on the Atlantic coast.

    New England combined with NY/NJ and the midwest have the most ski areas/resorts but the vertical for many is under 1300 ft (400 m).

    Here's how I think of the regions that aren't along the Pacific coast or in the Rockies. Although there are some school groups from the UK that have a tradition of spring skiing in the New England, there isn't really much reason to fly across an ocean to ski in any of these regions. However, there are many people who start closer to home and then start flying west for big mountain skiing on soft snow later on. Or pick up and move west.

    Northeast: NY, VT, NH, ME, CT, MA, RI
    Mid-Atlantic: NJ, PA, MD, VA, also Catskills in NY for people in New York City
    Southeast: AL, TN, WV, NC, also VA for some people
    Midwest: WI, MN, MI, IN, OH, IA, MO; ND, SD

     
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  31. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not completely sure, but it seems as if Utah will not mandate capacity limits for the ski resorts. Recently face masks became a requirement statewide. Utah is looking at Percent Positive by county. Restrictions such as gathering maximums will be based on what "level" a county is in.

    Ski Utah has a COVID-19 webpage. The standard safety precaution will be in place. There is a summary table about reservation requirements for all ski areas/resorts in Utah. All of them plan to open and most have announced opening dates already.

    https://www.skiutah.com/resources/new-covid-winter-page

     
  32. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Grand Targhee is not expecting to need a reservation system. However, they are clearly trying to make sure there is better communication about the status of parking lots. The shuttle buses from Driggs and Victor will be running. In fact there will be three more buses. There will be a text messaging services for updates about parking.

    The last time I was at GT was during the Feb holiday weekend. The Saturday was a powder day with blue sky. Except for the fwhen the main base lift (high speed quad) had a line before the lifts opened, I never waited more than 5 minutes. For the two lifts not at the main base, usually less than a 1 minute wait. Rode up with a couple of young men who drove over from Jackson. They were amazed at the relatively emptiness at GT.