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Reservations: two philosophies

#42
We were made to be ski buddies!
Maybe we should ski at Jay Peak - no reservations :smile:! But we will miss our Canadian diva friends!

I recognize you would have to move all the way across the country to make this happen . . .
 
#44
Plus, Alterra is only saying reservations are not required "at this time". That gives them leeway to require them at any time going forward if they see fit--so I wouldn't necessarily assume there will be no reservations required at all.
In fact, they are playing it resort by resort ... which I like because one size does not fit all.

Funny, that tee time concept is what I absolutely do not like. I'm not sure I would even ski if that was in place, to the point I would probably give up skiing altogether if that became the long-term model for skiing.
Me too. I don't want to have to plan in advance all the time. We have to make reservations for enough stuff, let's leave recreation alone. SoCal is terrible for afternoon skiing most of the season.
We get up super early and get to the resort early and bug out by 1:00 on all but the most awesome of days. A start time of 11:00 is useless to me.

Snowbasin is not planning on requiring reservations.
I am wishing I had bought a Powder Mountain pass this year...
We will see what happens. Honestly, a reservation system would make me very happy on ANY given day. Even if you HAD to show up, and if you had X number of no-shows, you'd have your pass restricted for a two week period (or something like that.) As close as I am, I'd go up and take one run if I had to but conditions ended up being sub-par just to avoid being penalized. And I'd book every single day except Saturday.

Why CAN'T it be like Tee times?
What if you are put on hold for too many reservations so other skiers could have a chance. The problem with limited access is ... well, it's limited.

My biggest concern with reservations is if I want to go to Sqalpine or Mammoth. They are both long drives. How many days in advance will we be allowed to make the reservation? There are a lot of questions and I'm not happy with a lack of clear answers from either Vail or Alterra. Telling me I will be guaranteed access by staying at one of their properties does not help me. I have 2 dogs. They charge $50/day PER DOG! That's a non starter.

People have been eating in outdoor restaurants all summer - eating means no mask. I think skiing should be no problem and that the only limitations should be on Gondola/Tram occupancy and indoor occupancy including restrooms. If people can live with that, no other restrictions are necessary.
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#45
I have a really dumb question.

I have not read this entire thread, but enough to gather what we are all wondering about regarding the reservation system.
My local ski mountain has also sent out the email about how they anticipate using reservations. (local mountain includes several other resorts as well).

I have yet to read any details about HOW these reservation confirmation tickets will be accounted for once a skier arrives on the mountain. Much less how a passholder will be reserved. Am I missing something?
 
#46
I have had correspondence from both Killington and Okemo (Vail), and the exact mechanisms are not yet clear to me. (It is possible that reading through the self-congratulatory hype made me zone out and miss something, though.)

:snow:
 
#48
I think skiing should be no problem and that the only limitations should be on Gondola/Tram occupancy and indoor occupancy including restrooms. If people can live with that, no other restrictions are necessary.
I think any kind of gondola limits are going to necessitate some kind of people limits. With such reduced capacity to get people up the mountain, the lines could potentially be so long, without crowd control, that people would be really angry. At least at some times, at some mountains. Maybe there are exceptions in quieter places. I was just thinking about the Whistler gondola line--it is so long all the time already, and I can't imagine what it would be like with only related people going up together instead of 8 crammed in together.

But I also don't want to be cheek to cheek with strangers on the regular lift or on the parking shuttles (my home mt, Crystal, uses shuttles) even though those are outside. What do you do if you're put on a 4 or 6 pack with a bunch of young guys who pull their masks down and are joking and laughing with each other for 15 minutes on a lift (or 5-8 minutes on the shuttle)? Even if they are really good about keeping masks on, I just don't want to be that close to people even outside. And of course if you have gondola and lift and shuttle limits to keep people spaced, you really need some crowd control devices.
 
#49
I have a really dumb question.

I have not read this entire thread, but enough to gather what we are all wondering about regarding the reservation system.
My local ski mountain has also sent out the email about how they anticipate using reservations. (local mountain includes several other resorts as well).

I have yet to read any details about HOW these reservation confirmation tickets will be accounted for once a skier arrives on the mountain. Much less how a passholder will be reserved. Am I missing something?
The situation remains pretty confusing. I think that will be the case well into January. But once people have a chance to use a system, hopefully the kinks shouldn't take long to work out. At the same time, there may well be a few locations that have issues that aren't anticipated. Certainly what happened for colleges, including some that had very detailed plans there were carefully implemented.

Only the Epic pass reservation system has been described to any level of detail yet. Vail Resorts had a functional system in use for Perisher in June-Sept in Australia. But they clearly made upgrades for N. America. Since Epic resorts use RFID, it's pretty simple to know whether or not someone shows up with or without a reservation. Is that your question?

I've seen advertisements for third-party software that can deal with online lift tickets and reservations. Presumably some independent resorts will be interested in that as a solution for this season.

I'm guessing Boyne Resorts will use the same process for the Boyne locations that will need reservations.

Powdr and Alterra resorts seem more likely to be coming up with solutions that differ by location.

More than one ski area/resort is installing RFID for lift access this fall. Presumably dealing with a pandemic is one reason, although it might have been in the planning stages before 2020.
 
#50
I have a really dumb question.

I have not read this entire thread, but enough to gather what we are all wondering about regarding the reservation system.
My local ski mountain has also sent out the email about how they anticipate using reservations. (local mountain includes several other resorts as well).

I have yet to read any details about HOW these reservation confirmation tickets will be accounted for once a skier arrives on the mountain. Much less how a passholder will be reserved. Am I missing something?
I would hazard a guess that for those with RFID tickets, the RFID gates will not open for you on days you don’t have a reservation.

For places that use hand-scanners (like Epic), I’m also guessing that the scanners will validate when you are scanned.

Does that respond to your question? Just a guess on my end, of course.
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#51
@ilovepugs , Yes I have assumed those scanning systems will be seen in a majority of larger resorts when it comes to passholders. For non-passholders I would imagine that they will be expected to scan or print out their ticket barcode and carry on phone or in a pocket if on paper. But honestly, it doesn't seem like that would work very well in the long run. Many resorts have yet to settle on just how this will all be implemented , especially when all the daily variables will have to be managed without the ticket window employee available to handle them.
 

kiki

Angel Diva
#52
One of our small local hills, Seymour, has indicated they are using the reservation system in conjunction with the rfid gates to manage people. This is the most detailed description I’ve seen for the mechanics at any hill yet:


To reduce the capacity on the mountain during peak hours but still provide access to as many season pass holders as is safe, there will be bookable four hour time slots, starting throughout the day on weekends and holidays only. Both season pass holders and lift ticket purchasers will need to reserve their visit.

What if I can't get to the mountain on time?
Your time slot will expire four hours after the start time. You are welcome to turn up after your start time but it will reduce the amount of ski or snowboard time available.

As a season pass holder, what happens if I just show up and try to go skiing on a weekend or holiday?
You RFID season pass will not allow you to pass through the chair lift gate. You must book your time slot before you arrive on the mountain.

Why four hours?
Last season we introduced RFID gates, the data from the gates has shown us that the time our guests spend skiing and snowboarding on average was up to four hours. We also sent out a survey to our 2020/2021 season pass holders and they responded saying that on average they spent around three hours skiing and snowboarding per visit on weekends and holidays. You will be able to stay as long as you want during weekdays outside of holidays.

Can I continue to ski or snowboard after my timeslot expires?
If there is availability for the next time slot you are more than welcome to book another time slot online while you are on the mountain providing there is a parking allocation available or you have taken the shuttle. If there is no space available, you will be unable to book and your RFID season pass will stop working at the end of the time slot.
 
#53
One of our small local hills, Seymour, has indicated they are using the reservation system in conjunction with the rfid gates to manage people. This is the most detailed description I’ve seen for the mechanics at any hill yet:
Thanks for sharing!

It's very clear that having RFID for lift access is going to make a big difference. I have no doubt that's one reason ABasin is installing RFID for this season. I have a feeling that's not the only ski area that decided the investment would be worthwhile sooner rather than later.

When the Epic pass was created in 2008, what was less obvious is that VR also started the process of developing EpicMix based on moving to RFID at all locations. RFID has been added fairly quickly to new acquisitions, including the relatively small "urban" locations such as Wilmot or Afton Alps.
 

annieoakes

Diva in Training
#55
I pretty sure for Tremblant, no reservations isn't going to be a problem. Not so much Blue Mountain in Colllingwood. They get the crowd from GTA. So Ikon must know how many day passes they sold versus Ikon pass used.
We have 5 x 7 holders (many locals) that are not IKON holders and they are also considered season pass holders. We do get a lot from the GTA so not sure how this will all pan out.
 

aliwill

Diva in Training
#57
Really interesting to read other people's thoughts on reservations. My gut, as a heavy user of a local mountain on IKON, is against them, since my pass is only worth it to me because I use it a lot and love the flexibility of making last-minute decisions. Not just powder-chasing but touring conditions, work needs, partner availability, etc. The price is not worth it to me for 7 days I've pre-selected in the fall (then maybe a few other bonus days, if there's still room when last-minute spots open up).

I like parking as the throttle on number of people on hill, rather than reservations—I'm not opposed to an early start to guarantee I can park, and limiting parking means that every "spot" is used, rather than a certain percentage of reservations that will go unused each day.

But then I recognize I'm pretty privileged to be able to arrive super early for a guaranteed parking spot, and if there are only a limited number of ski days available this winter it isn't super fair to let one sliver of the population horde them. But, again, blocking users from using it any day they want to get there early enough turns a Season Pass into an X-Number-of-Days Pass—and it would need to be significantly cheaper for me to still find the purchase worthwhile.

One thing that worries me is that while I'm all for some extreme measures this winter (and, sigh, maybe next) for Covid reasons, I'm worried that resorts will keep many of these policies, figuring that once people no longer expect to be able to use a season pass any day they want, or start their ski day when they want, they have no reason to go back.
 
#58
One thing that worries me is that while I'm all for some extreme measures this winter (and, sigh, maybe next) for Covid reasons, I'm worried that resorts will keep many of these policies, figuring that once people no longer expect to be able to use a season pass any day they want, or start their ski day when they want, they have no reason to go back.
Don't remember which interview with a VR senior manager . . . but VR has no intention at this point of keeping the Epic reservation system after 2020-21.

Alterra, Boyne Resorts, and Powdr have made it clear they prefer to give priority to passholders and don't want to limit their access. They intend to use day tickets to keep the numbers under the maximum that is considered appropriate. Note that numbers can change a lot depending on how much terrain and how many lifts are running, especially during early season.

Saw that one small mountain will be cutting off season pass sales early and stated that no day tickets may be available on weekends.
 
#59
Don't remember which interview with a VR senior manager . . . but VR has no intention at this point of keeping the Epic reservation system after 2020-21.
I wonder if it will be so successful in some places that they will keep it. I mean, the parking situation at Stevens Pass has been such a mess for years. It fills up before opening nearly every weekend. There is overflow parking in a nordic skiing area 7 miles away, but driving there, parking, and waiting for the shuttle (I've heard the waits are considerable) is time consuming. If the reservation system means people who have driven 1.5-2 hours can actually park, I have to think people will like it and want to keep some form of it.
 
#60
I wonder if it will be so successful in some places that they will keep it. I mean, the parking situation at Stevens Pass has been such a mess for years. It fills up before opening nearly every weekend. There is overflow parking in a nordic skiing area 7 miles away, but driving there, parking, and waiting for the shuttle (I've heard the waits are considerable) is time consuming. If the reservation system means people who have driven 1.5-2 hours can actually park, I have to think people will like it and want to keep some form of it.
I think parking reservations and lift access reservations are pretty different. I could imagine that Powdr will see how parking reservations go and consider implementing the idea during holidays and weekends after 2020-21. But it only applies in specific situations.

Since VR prefers to have a consistent approach across all resorts, keeping lift access reservations may be more trouble than it's worth. Based on what I'm hearing, there are only 15-25 days that ski resorts think day tickets will have to be severely limited, and most of those are during holiday periods. I assume all resorts know how many day tickets are sold. Those with RFID or good hand scanning know how many passholders or various types have been showing up.

What will be very different this season is that there will be more locals and fewer travelers, probably in every region. So it would be hard to make predictions based on this season.
 

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