Vail Resorts (VR) announced today how it plans to operate its 34 North American ski resorts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this winter. The company will start spinning lifts according to schedule but plans to limit the number of skiers on its hills on any given day by introducing a reservation system that prioritizes season pass holders. VR will also enforce a number of other policies in line with coronavirus health guidelines, including social distancing on lifts and in resort restaurants, reduced Ski and Ride School group sizes, as well as the mandate to wear a face covering while on the slopes and in public facilities.

In a letter to guests, VR CEO Rob Katz outlines the main operational changes for the 2020-’21 winter season. Chief among those is how the company intends to manage mountain access to restrict the number of skiers on the hill in an effort to enforce social distancing guidelines.

“For the vast majority of days during the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to,” says 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.”

Vail Resorts 2020-’21 Reservation System

  • Pass holders will be required to make advance reservations before arriving at any VR resort at EpicPass.com
  • Pass holders will be able to make as many week-of reservations as their pass product allows
  • In addition to week-of reservations, pass holders will receive seven Priority Reservation Days that can be booked for any days between Dec. 8-April 4. The booking window for Priority Reservation will open Nov. 6 and be exclusive to pass holders until Dec. 7
  • No day tickets will be sold to non-pass holders before Dec. 8, giving season pass holders exclusive access to the resort until that time
  • As pass holders use their Priority Reservation Days, they can continue to book new ones as their pass product allows
  • Families will be able to book reservations together if they are in the same pass holder account
  • Lift tickets will only be sold online and through VR call centers; pre-purchased tickets may be picked up at the resort lift ticket window

To give skiers more time to consider how these changes may affect their upcoming ski season, VR is extending its Labor Day Epic Pass sales deadline to Sept. 17. It is also adding additional pass protection to its new Epic Coverage program to account for days skiers may lose due to the new reservation system if they are unable to book their preferred Priority Reservation Days during the pre-booking window of Nov. 6-Dec. 7.

VR Ski Resorts 2020-’21 Opening & Closing Dates

All dates are subject to change pending weather and pandemic considerations.

Colorado

  • Beaver Creek: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Breckenridge: Friday, Nov. 13, 2020–Monday, May 31, 2021
  • Crested Butte: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Keystone: Friday, Nov. 6, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Vail: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, April 11, 2021

Utah

  • Park City: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021

Tahoe

  • Heavenly: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, April 11, 2021
  • Kirkwood: Friday, Dec. 4, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Northstar: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, April 11, 2021

Pacific Northwest

  • Stevens Pass: Friday, Dec. 4, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Whistler Blackcomb: Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020–Monday, May 24, 2021

Northeast

  • Attitash: Friday, Dec. 4, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Crotched: Saturday, Dec.5, 2020–Sunday, March 28, 2021
  • Hunter: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, April 11, 2021
  • Mount Snow: Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020–Sunday, April 11, 2021
  • Mt. Sunapee: Wednesday, Nov.25, 2020–Sunday, April 4, 2021
  • Okemo: Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020–Sunday, April 4 2021
  • Stowe: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, April 18, 2021
  • Wildcat: Friday, Nov. 13, 2020–Sunday, April 11, 2021

Mid-Atlantic

  • Big Boulder: Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020–Sunday, March 21, 2021
  • Jack Frost: Friday, Dec. 11, 2020–Sunday, March 28, 2021
  • Liberty: Friday, Dec. 11, 2020–Sunday, March 21, 2021
  • Roundtop: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, March 21, 2021
  • Whitetail: Friday, Dec. 11, 2020–Sunday, March 21, 2021

Midwest

  • Afton Alps: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020–Sunday, March 21, 2021
  • Alpine Valley: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Boston Mills: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Brandywine: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Hidden Valley: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Mad River: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Mt. Brighton: Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Paoli: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Snow Creek: Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021
  • Wilmot: Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020–Sunday, March 14, 2021

Keystone is slated to be the first VR resort to kick off the 2020-’21 ski season. Epic Pass holders who make Priority Reservations or week-of reservations will have exclusive access to Keystone and other VR ski resorts slated to open before Dec. 8, as day lift tickets will not be sold to the general public until Dec. 8.

“There is no doubt this season will be different,” says Katz, “but we are committed to what matters most: working to protect your safety and wellbeing and providing you with great skiing and riding this winter. I hope to see you on the mountain.”

Read the full letter go guests from Vail Resort’s CEO here

View full details about VR’s priority reservation system here.  

Get all the 2020-'21 Epic Pass details here

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