What will be different for 20/21 Ski Season?


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  1. #1

    What will be different for 20/21 Ski Season?

    Posted this at first in the ski resorts response to COVID 19 thread but thought it was worthy of its on.

    As we approach ski season 20/21 it will be interesting to see what evolves as far as procedures / operations / process etc for the resorts.

    A preview of perhaps what is to come.... Magic offers a first hint of what 20/21 season could be like:


    Some highlights:
    - likely skier visit restricted capacity (50% of hourly uphill capacity)
    - online reservations (with pass holders getting first dibs)
    - reservations for table space inside lodges
    - expanded outdoor seating etc.

    I'm sure all are subject to change, but I'm guessing we will see similar start to emerge at most resorts.

  2. #2
    Refreshing to see someone not simply sugar-coating things and trying to pretend that everything other than lodges will be normal.

  3. #3
    Newpylong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Upper Valley, NH
    I haven't really seen any sugar coating - but responses from people who have yet to really formulate a plan, or disseminate that plan. I can't really blame them, things are still very fluid and may change before winter. Magic has a more defined audience and they can a draw a line in the sand before most others. Eventually those lines will all need to be drawn however unpopular though.

    I wouldn't want to still be in the industry having to figure this out. No thanks.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Newpylong View Post
    ... responses from people who have yet to really formulate a plan, or disseminate that plan. I can't really blame them, things are still very fluid and may change before winter.

    I wouldn't want to still be in the industry having to figure this out. No thanks.
    Decisions like how many per chair, how many in the parking lot can change easily and adapt to the latest guidelines. Decisions on changing software for RFID, managing reservations, new pass holder limitations probably need to be done now or very soon. Contracts for temporary buildings in normal times might only need 30 days, but what if there aren't enough to meet demand, then you need to be booking them now. Add in the likelihood that some COVID procedures and travel requirements will be different in 3 months. I'm not sure anyone can figure it out accurately, it's more like throwing a bunch of darts and hoping your pattern is somewhat close.

  5. #5
    I still believe something will eventually happen with gondolas. That's the hill I'll die on. LOL
    President - Bicknell's Thrush Extermination Solutions (BTES), LLC

  6. #6
    So when A Basin reopened they used a lottery system. Over three weekends we got one day. My bet is some sort of systematic approach will be used to limit people. The lodge was closed but is open during the summer with limited access. Lodge rats will probably not be allowed. They were not allowing tailgates at vehicles not sure why. But you may have to eat and drink on the run. Smaller places will have greater success at controlling everything where the big resorts depend on lodging sales, food and beverage sales and touristy sales as well. It will be interesting to see how they deal with it. Vail village is like a funnel for in and out. Breck in town is already pretty busy and shut down the Main Street for our door dining but winter will not allow that.

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  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Barto, Pennsylvania
    While smaller ski areas will get away with restricting the number of days a skier with a season passes will be allow on the hill, I would take a wild guess that Vail and other larger operators are seriously looking at the legal aspect of enacting such policy. I haven't been able to locate a copy of the T&C for the epic pass, so not sure if they changed them to include the ability to restrict the number of days you may ski on the season pass due to capacity restrictions. Anybody have any info or thoughts on that problem.

  8. #8
    Pure speculation here, but if they restrict lodge access, that will severely reduce daily visitors. Families with young children won't come. No apres scene will limit young adults. I think you'll be left with people that have on mountain or local housing. I'd guess that limits crowds by 40%, making limited lift capacity less of an issue

    That said, with full ski gear - googles, masks, gloves, etc, we're probably the least at risk group there is. Crowded indoor spaces are the problem.

  9. #9
    NY DirtBag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Mecox, NY / Winhall, VT
    Only thing that concerns me is kids/wife having to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, I don't plan on setting foot in a lodge all winter.

    Ive always been a show up early, skip lunch break, be done by 2-3 anyway so I don't anticipate any issues.

    With the family, I guess if they need a warm up we can head back to the vehicle for 20 minutes.

    Maybe I'll have to wear a pack next year to carry family food and beverages.

    Anticipating no development program for the youngest so maybe we'll do a private here and there?

  10. #10
    machski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Northwood, NH (Sunday River, ME)
    Well, some resort operators have already partially addressed the passholder issue. Boyne for example shut off all winter pass product sales mid June and it remains to be seen when and with what products they will reopen sales with later summer or fall.

    I am betting that use of lodges will require a reservation ahead of time, at least on weekends and peak holiday times to limit capacity and set guest expectations. I'm not sure if the larger resorts with multiple access portals will need to Cap skiers per day, but they may institute 1st chair time slot reservations to limit morning crowding at the portals.

    Regardless of BG's gondola concerns, those will run but likely be limited to seating only members of the same family/party. I think wide open on the way down, especially if they can keep the doors open downhill, should mitigate any issues for the next group.

    Finally, Trams. JHMR has not been running theirs this summer even but have announced they plan to this winter but at vastly reduced capacity. For any other Tram that is the only way to the very top (Big Sky), I would think they will be doing reserved tram ride slots ahead of time. You get a slot and need to be ready to ride the Tram at that time or you miss out. Seems the only way they could run it without mega crowds at its base.

    No matter what, this season is likely to be a very unique one and something that will be told in tales to the coming generations years from now.

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