Here's what to expect when heading out to the slopes this year.
Ski and board season will be here before we know it. Soon enough, Coloradans will be flocking to the mountains to find the best powder. It's no question 2020 has changed many of our favorite pastimes, including our ski and snowboard experience this upcoming season. Most ski resorts and areas have implemented guidelines to lessen crowds and ensure the health and safety of every visitor.
The most significant change for many ski areas is the number of passes and tickets available each day. Many have reservations in place—a lot of them prioritizing pass holders. Resorts will also be enforcing face coverings and physical distancing while on the mountain. Most ski areas will only be seating people in the same group on lifts, and gloves and masks will be required on the mountain.
Have a favorite mountain or not sure which to choose based on guidelines? We compiled a list of ski resort guidelines so you don't have to. Here's what to expect from Colorado ski resorts this winter:
Like most Colorado ski areas, Arapahoe Basin will be limited the number of skiers and boarders on the mountain each day. They plan to achieve their "skier visitation targets" in a few ways:
- Limited season passes for sale
- Limited lift tickets availability (must purchase in advance)
- Limited building capacity and physical distancing guidelines
- Ikon Pass holders must make reservations (pass and lift ticket holders won't need reservations)
It's shaping up to be another long ski season at A-Basin; the ski area is planning a mid-October opening. Season passes are still available here. As for parking, the ski area hopes limited sales will ease parking problems. The shuttle won't be running to farther lots, so plan to walk.
Read A-Basin's initial announcement here.
Please see the latest update from, COO Alan Henceroth, about our winter 2020-21 operating plans. We are pleased to announce that Arapahoe Basin passholders will not be restricted during the 2020-21 season. Please follow the link to learn more from Al. https://t.co/2YYrgzDQ0q pic.twitter.com/RcnrrfiI5Z— Arapahoe Basin (@Arapahoe_Basin) September 10, 2020
If you're looking for a new ski adventure or can't get a reservation at your favorite mountain, Bluebird Backcountry is opening for its first full season on Bear Mountain. Anyone interested in backcountry skiing is welcome to learn and shred at Colorado's first ski area dedicated to backcountry skiing. The ski area will offer rentals, lessons, and warming huts across the mountain for the best backcountry experience for all skill levels. To ensure proper health and safety guidelines, Bluebird Backcountry plans to cap guests at 200 and implement a flexible refund policy.
Read more on Bluebird Backcountry's upcoming first season here.
In an online letter, Copper Mountain delayed their opening date to Monday, November 30, to increase skiable terrain acreage. The new acreage will encourage greater physical distancing and enhance the quality of the guests' experience. The resort also announced an online parking reservation system to track visitors and control volume. Season passes are available until September 30, and the resort is offering full refunds until December 10.
Read more about their operating plans here.
We are excited to share that we will be opening for the winter season on 11/30, we can’t wait to get to back on the slopes! Today we’re sharing our winter operating plans. As part of this announcement, we will also be extending our lowest pass sales prices of the year through 9/30, giving you more time to buy with confidence, thanks to our Passholder Promise. Visit the link in our bio to learn more ☝️
Eldora Mountain is opening November 23. If the resort closed due to COVID-19, qualifying pass holders would receive a voucher for future use. They will also be offering full refunds until December 10. They're also implementing an online parking reservation system to manage crowds and reduce the volume on peak days.
Read more about Eldora Mountain's 2020/2021 winter experience here.
Loveland Ski Area
Loveland Ski Area published a summary of changes and guidelines on their website. The ski area guarantees 130 days of skiing, though they haven't yet announced an opening date. They will offer a prorated credit toward a 2021/2022 season pass for lost days in the event of a mandated COVID-19-related closure. Loveland is also selling season passes at last year's rates, increased the discount for renewals, and extended the purchase window to December 1, 2020. If you purchased a pass in March or April, you could extend it to this season.
Read more on Loveland Ski Area's 2020/2021 season plans here.
Learn more about Loveland’s preliminary plans for the upcoming season including the 130 Day Guarantee for season pass products. 2020/21 season passes are on sale now.— Loveland Ski Area (@LovelandSkiArea) August 6, 2020
For more info go to https://t.co/eYvaMdKYJN pic.twitter.com/WPC5O7zNob
Steamboat Springs and Winter Park Resorts
Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of 15 ski areas, including Steamboat and Winter Park, announced they would be prioritizing season pass holders this year. Reservations aren't required, but both resorts will limit daily lift tickets available in advance and eliminate walk-up window sales. Ikon Pass holders will also have priority.
Read more about Alterra's announcement here.
Vail Resorts was the first major ski resort to announce procedures regarding COVID-19 guidelines and operating plans for the 2020/2021 season. The resorts included are Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Crested Butte. In a letter published in August on the Vail Resorts' website, CEO Rob Katz announced a new reservation system to control crowds, which includes:
- Priority reservation days for Epic Pass holders
- Epic Pass holders must make a reservation before arriving
- Limited general public lift tickets depending on pass holder reservations (beginning December 8)
- All reservations and tickets available only online or by phone
All resorts are planning a mid-November opening. Read more about Vail Resorts' operating plan here. If you can't get a reservation but still want to enjoy Breckenridge, the town is building a giant sledding hill and offering more physically distanced activities this winter.
Winter is around the corner. Are you ready? Vail is planning to open for the season on November 20! We’ve been hard at work planning, preparing and dreaming about delivering you a great ski and ride season, focusing on three things: your safety, having a successful season start to finish, and prioritizing our pass holders. Today, we’re sharing our winter operating plan with opening dates and answers on everything from face coverings to loading lifts to dining on mountain. But the most important change is that for your safety, we will be managing mountain access this season with a new reservation system that gives pass holders priority access. We know this season will be different, but we want to give you peace of mind knowing you’ll have the space you need at our resort. To give you more time, we’ve extended our Labor Day pass deadline to September 17. Read more in the letter from our CEO in our bio.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Wolf Creek used the results of an online survey to refine its reopening plans. According to the results of more than 4,000 respondents, the ski area plans to cap visitors to 5,000 per day. The cap will help control crowds and limit the number of people on the mountain at any given time. While Wolf Creek still has yet to announce an opening date, the Pre-Season Pass Sale began September 26 and runs through October 4. Passes are only available online or by phone.
Read Wolf Creek's original announcement here.
Will you be hitting the slopes this year? What's your favorite Colorado ski resort? Leave a comment below. And before you go, make sure you brush up on your skier lingo!