Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) will open its ski areas for the winter season, but new rules will be in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Skiers will need reservations to access Vail mountains.
Keystone will be the first Vail resort to open in the winter season on Nov. 6. Breckenridge will follow on Nov. 13, then Vail on Nov. 20. Beaver Creek and Crested Butte will open Nov. 25.
The dates are subject to change depending on the weather and pandemic conditions.
“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,” Vail CEO Rob Katz said in a news release.
“It has been our goal to design an approach that can remain in place for all of the 2020/21 season,” Katz said. “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.”
Changes to the resort’s operations include:
- 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 chairlifts and gondolas, Vail will be seating only 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 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 using a reservation system and limits on lift tickets to prioritize 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,” Katz said. “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.”
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