In Colorado, this time of year is typically marked by frantic snowmaking and a neck-and-neck race between Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Ski Area, and Keystone to be the first to start spinning lifts for the season. But there’s nothing typical about 2020, and so it comes as no surprise that the 2020-’21 ski season is off to an unusual start.

Unseasonably warm temperatures in September and October delayed snowmaking in Colorado, causing A-Basin and Loveland to fall behind schedule on their opening timelines. In the end it was Wolf Creek, a ski area in southwest Colorado known for receiving the most snow in the state annually, that was the first Colorado resort to open for limited operations on October 28.

But two Midwestern ski areas beat all of the Colorado resorts to the punch: Wild Mountain, Minn., and Trollhaugen, Wisc., which both opened a week before Wolf Creek to become the first areas to officially kick off the 2020-’21 ski season in the U.S.

Watch: The Snow Report Show - Who Opened First?

Meanwhile, Keystone, A-Basin, and Loveland have all followed suit, though without the fanfare and social media blitz that traditionally accompanies their season openings. With the pandemic gaining a stronger foothold throughout the country, ski areas are approaching this ski season with caution, putting in place a number of health and safety guidelines, including limited early-season access.

“We have been waiting to welcome everyone back to the mountain since our season ended in March and are happy to announce that Opening Day is finally here,” says Loveland COO Rob Goodell. “We want to do everything we can to make sure we remain open for the entire season and are counting on everyone to do their part to help keep the season going. Be safe and be smart so we can keep skiing and riding.”

With a number of other resorts scheduled to begin operations on Friday, Nov. 13 and in the coming weeks—and with the national rise in coronavirus cases forcing people to carefully consider their activity options—skiers will no doubt be chomping at the bit to hit the slopes. But before you jump in the car and head to your hill, check your ski area’s access and COVID-19 policies. A number of the resorts currently open or opening soon have restricted access and lift ticket sales due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines.

Ski Resorts Open for the 2020-’21 Season 

Arapahoe Basin, Colo. 

  • Access Details: No on-site lift ticket sales; open to the public but day tickets must be purchased online. Ikon Pass holders must make a reservation to ski via Ikon’s reservation website. No reservations required for A-Basin season pass holders and Mountain Collective pass holders. A-Basin season passes sold out for 2020-'21.
  • Terrain: Black Mountain Express lift servicing High Noon intermediate run and Banana Park; no beginner terrain open at this time. 
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing; no indoor access except to use restrooms and purchase food; no indoor gear storage, rentals, or lessons available at this time. 
  • More info here

Related: 2020-'21 Ikon Pass Details

Breckenridge, Colo. (opening Friday, Nov. 13)

  • Access Details: No on-site lift ticket sales. Only open to Epic Pass holders until Dec. 8; Epic Pass holders must make week-of or priority reservations on the Epic Pass reservation site
  • Terrain: TBD
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing; more details TBD
  • More info here 

More info: Vail Resorts 2020-'21 Operations Plan

Keystone, Colo. 

  • Access Details: No on-site lift ticket sales. Only open to Epic Pass holders until Dec. 8; Epic Pass holders must make week-of or priority reservations on the Epic Pass reservation site. 
  • Terrain: River Run Gondola, Montezuma, and Summit Express lifts servicing Schoolmarm, Endeavor, Dercum's Dash, and River Run trails. 
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing; cashless transactions at all resort facilities. 
  • More info here

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Epic Pass

Loveland Ski Area, Colo. 

  • Access Details: No on-site lift ticket sales; open to public but lift tickets must be purchased online in advance of ski day. No advance reservations required at this time. 
  • Terrain: Chet's Dream servicing Mambo, Catwalk, and Home Run. 
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing. On-mountain cabins will be closed for the 2020-'21 season; main lodge will have capacity limits and some food service will remain closed for the 2020-'21 season. The Ridge Cat will not operate for the 2020-'21 season. Advanced reservations required for ski and ride lessons. 
  • More info here 

Wolf Creek, Colo. 

  • Access Details: Open to public with on-site lift ticket sales; no cash transactions. Online ticket purchase via Wolf Creek's eStore is preferred; tickets must be purchased before 8 p.m. the day prior to skiing and riding. 
  • Terrain: 95 percent of terrain is open
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings must be worn at all times except when skiing. All facilities except lifts and restrooms will be closed; guests must bring their own water and food to eat outdoors. 
  • More info here

Mammoth Mountain, Calif. (opening Friday, Nov. 13)

  • Access Details: No on-site lift ticket sales; open to public but lift tickets must be purchased online in advance of ski day and will be subject to availability to limit skier traffic. No reservations required for Ikon Pass holders. 
  • Terrain: TBD
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings must be worn at all times except when skiing; perforated, ventilated, or single-layer neck tubes will not suffice—guests will be asked to wear an additional mask under these types of face coverings. Lodges and dining facilities will be open but occupancy will be limited; the resort has expanded outdoor dining and grab-and-go food options. Only private ski school lessons are available at this time. 
  • More info here

Wildcat, N.H. (scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13)

  • Access Details: No on-site lift ticket sales. Only open to Epic Pass holders until Dec. 8; Epic Pass holders must make week-of or priority reservations on the Epic Pass reservation site.
  • Terrain: TBD
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing. Indoor facilities will be open but capacity will be restricted. Ski school lessons are available but group numbers will be restricted. 
  • More info here 

Trollhaugen, Wisc.

  • Access Details: Open to the public with on-site ticket sales; tickets can also be purchased in advance online. 
  • Terrain: TBD
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing. Lodging and dining facilities will be open but subject to capacity limits. Private and family ski lessons available at this time. 
  • More info here 

Wild Mountain, Minn. (reopening scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13)

  • Access Details: Operating dates, hours, and rates are subject to change during the early-season; follow Wild Mountain's social media channels for the most up-to-date information. 
  • Terrain: TBD
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing. 
  • More info here 

Lutsen Mountains, Minn. (Nov. 14)

  • Access Details: Open to the public with on-site ticket sales; Flex Tickets can be purchased online for multi-day skiing. 
  • Terrain: TBD
  • COVID-19 Policies: Face coverings required at all times except when skiing. Lodges and dining facilities subject to capacity restrictions. 
  • More info here 

All information listed here is subject to change. Please visit your ski area's website to get the most up-to-date information regarding slope access, ticket sales, and COVID-19 policies. 

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