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So what's going to happen next season?

Bookworm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Taos Ski Valley sent out an email today. Bottom line is that they intend to be open for the winter season. It may take a few weeks or even a couple months before TSV can announce their plans.

Received via email on August 24, 2020

We Plan to Ski and Ride. An Update From Taos Ski Valley
"The days are still warm and the sun is shining here at Taos Ski Valley, but we’re already thinking about snow. We start going into overdrive this time of year, ramping-up planning and operations for the coming ski season, and right now, we’re doing just that.
We’re planning to ski and ride this winter, even though we still can’t predict the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic and the governmental orders that come with it. We’re working hard to create a safe environment for our staff, our guests, and our community.
We’ve safely welcomed visitors to Taos Ski Valley this summer for hiking, biking, enjoying our new Via Ferrata, and outdoor adventures. Through this process we’ve learned important best practices about screening our staff, maintaining physical distancing in outdoor environments, managing the flow of people through the resort, and operating our lodging, dining, and retail outlets in this ‘new normal.’ Our staff, business partners, and summer visitors have embraced COVID-safe practices including mask-wearing and distancing, so we can maintain a safe environment and keep the summer fun going. All of this is helping us to plan for the winter.
. . ."
I have my place booked and I just got a flight on SW - $240 RT from Chicago. Jan 23-30
 
Haven't read much yet, but here is a look at how ski resorts in Europe may be handling their season. The website is for Ischgl in Austria. Terminology is a bit different when translated from German.

Ischgl is the ski resort in Tyrol where a number of skiers were infected in early March. Recent research has concluded that COVID-19 community transmission probably started by early Feb, if not some time in January. There were connections found to Italy and Germany, where the initial outbreaks were from contact with people who traveled from China.

https://www.ischgl.com/en/Active/Active-Winter/Winter-2020-21-COVID-19
 
People in Utah are starting to think about the upcoming ski season.

There was a bit of a peak in COVID-19 cases detected in mid-July, but has been pretty stable after that. Pretty much in the middle in terms of Percent Positive and doing fine for hospital bed availability.

 
More articles about the upcoming season from the past few weeks.

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/08/07/loveland-ski-area-passes-skiing-coronavirus/

https://localnews8.com/news/local-n...n-hole-mountain-resort-outlines-winter-plans/

https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/spor...cle_0e31ce97-39c2-5f68-a973-c402e13a62cc.html

https://vtdigger.org/2020/08/23/vermont-ski-areas-vow-to-provide-an-outdoor-experience-this-winter/

I expect plenty more early September in all regions of N. America. One of the lessons learned in New Zealand and Australia is that the folks interested in planning ski trip do better with ongoing communication as the situation evolves, even if that means bad news like an unexpected closure. Just as people prefer real info about a snowstorm, not a beefed up estimate of snowfall that is clearly too optimistic.
 
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There is going to be a new category or responsibility for "mountain hosts" or "ambassadors" at some ski areas/resorts or ski towns for 2020-21. Came across the idea in the Telluride local paper. These ambassadors will be paid by the town, and will be walking around reminding people about social distancing and face mask usage.

Telluride resort has a very strong mountain host program, one of the best. Telluride is the ski town with a free gondola that connects the town with the mountain village. Not much of a surprise that they want to be as pro-active as possible for the upcoming winter season.
 
Websites for ski resorts are starting to be updated for the 2020-21 season. Fair to say there will be a wide variety of approaches to limiting capacity. One factor will be whether or not a resort has resort lodging. VR has stated clearly that lift access reservations and day ticket sales will not be tied to resort lodging. For example, it looks like Purgatory is taking the opposite approach for guests who book resort lodging. Purgatory is part of a small group of ski areas/resorts in the southwest (CO, NM, AZ, plus Nordic Valley near SLC) that are on the Power Pass.

We anticipate a cap of daily guests this winter. With this in mind, we want to assure our valued passholders that we are working on a convenient system to offer access for you each and every day. Also, guests who book their stay directly through the resort will be guaranteed access to purchase lift tickets, rentals, and lessons for the duration of their stay.

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StayWarm

Certified Ski Diva
Received an interesting update email from Copper Mountain today (where we have season passes). It looks like part of their approach to limiting density on the mountain will be to require reservations for *parking* rather than reservations for tickets (I'm not sure how this will interact with any guidance that Alterra/Ikon puts in place, since Copper is on Ikon). They're also opening a bit later so that more of the mountain will be available. Parking shuttles are definitely a chokepoint for a lot of resorts when it comes to distancing.
  • Opening Date – Copper Mountain will open for the 20/21 ski season on November 30th. We’re confident that starting our season later than we have historically opened, with more acreage and lifts open, will help guests spread out and maintain appropriate distance while also providing a higher quality on-snow experience from day one of the season.
    [*]Parking – We are implementing an online parking reservation system. This means that whether you’re a season pass holder coming for a few powder day laps or a family looking to enjoy a tubing session and lunch, you will need to let us know you’re coming. Our goal has always been, and will continue to be, to provide our guests with a seamless Copper Mountain experience, which is why we are implementing this system proactively to help us track and manage volume to ensure a better overall experience. We plan to share more details on how that will actually work in the coming weeks—please be patient and understand this will reduce crowds on peak days and is intended to enable appropriate physical distancing.
 
Received an interesting update email from Copper Mountain today (where we have season passes). It looks like part of their approach to limiting density on the mountain will be to require reservations for *parking* rather than reservations for tickets (I'm not sure how this will interact with any guidance that Alterra/Ikon puts in place, since Copper is on Ikon). They're also opening a bit later so that more of the mountain will be available. Parking shuttles are definitely a chokepoint for a lot of resorts when it comes to distancing.
This makes a lot of sense to me. Parking usage seems like a really good proxy for "number of quarantine pods", and that's what's really in question—if you have four people who drive up together in one car, and you're sending solo riders up alone on a chair, then your group of four ends up using the same "capacity" since they can all stick together.
 
Received an interesting update email from Copper Mountain today (where we have season passes). It looks like part of their approach to limiting density on the mountain will be to require reservations for *parking* rather than reservations for tickets (I'm not sure how this will interact with any guidance that Alterra/Ikon puts in place, since Copper is on Ikon). They're also opening a bit later so that more of the mountain will be available. Parking shuttles are definitely a chokepoint for a lot of resorts when it comes to distancing.
That’s interesting. The last time I went to Copper was taking the Summit Stage bus from Frisco. No parking necessary. Maybe the bus system doesn’t add too many visitors?
 
(I'm not sure how this will interact with any guidance that Alterra/Ikon puts in place, since Copper is on Ikon)
Thanks for the info about Copper. My guess is that all the Ikon resorts are having some discussions with each other, including at least a few of the partners. Probably more by region where they are in the same state, so would be under the same restrictions . . . or lack of restrictions.

SAM and NSAA are providing general guidance to any managers in the ski industry who are interested. I think the SAM podcasts are public.

https://www.saminfo.com/mountain-departments/podsam
 
That’s interesting. The last time I went to Copper was taking the Summit Stage bus from Frisco. No parking necessary. Maybe the bus system doesn’t add too many visitors?
Have you heard what the plans are for the Summit Stage yet?

I know Steamboat Springs was threatening to severely cut back on bus service due to budget concerns. During the summer the town was actively trying to get money from the ski resort (owned by Alterra) towards the bus system. Jackson, Aspen, Mammoth are other destination resorts that normally depend a lot on free bus service.
 
The buses are running at 50% capacity but apparently on a regular schedule. The few times I’ve ridden it, it seems taken more by regulars than tourists.
Are the locals wearing their ski boots or carrying boot bags?

I've been planning a trip to Jackson Hole. While staying in town or the Aspens would be my normal approach, not having a good place to boot up and leave my boot bag is an issue I decided to avoid. So looking at slopeside lodging made more sense. I'm driving from SLC so will have a car, but I wonder what people will do who normally fly to JAC and just use the local bus system and the JH free shuttles around Teton Village.
 
This makes a lot of sense to me. Parking usage seems like a really good proxy for "number of quarantine pods", and that's what's really in question—if you have four people who drive up together in one car, and you're sending solo riders up alone on a chair, then your group of four ends up using the same "capacity" since they can all stick together.
Also encourages car pooling instead of 2-3 people driving solo in 2-3 cars.

Last season Solitude opted to charge for all parking. Solitude is also owned by Alterra. Hmmm . . .
 
Are the locals wearing their ski boots or carrying boot bags?
From what I remember, in general, the vast majority of people wore their boots. Since you have to carry your skis/board on the bus, having a boot bag, especially a backpack style, is a bit cumbersome; you risk either wacking sitting people in the head, or blocking people from getting past you. Quite a few wore a slim backpack, though, especially those with little kids.
 
From what I remember, in general, the vast majority of people wore their boots. Since you have to carry your skis/board on the bus, having a boot bag, especially a backpack style, is a bit cumbersome; you risk either wacking sitting people in the head, or blocking people from getting past you. Quite a few wore a slim backpack, though, especially those with little kids.
Interesting.

From what I've noticed of people getting off the UTA bus at Alta, most have a boot bag. But waiting for one at the base of BCC on spring, I saw plenty of high school age kids getting off at the parking lot with ski boots or snowboard boots. They were picked up by a parent.

The people who ride the bus from Taos to TSV are a mix. Some in ski boots and some with boot bags.
 
Agreed... definitely hoping I'm able to get into a pod with friends for ski season.
How would that work though? I mean technically it should be people you already live with, right? Or just others who you know are behaving with your same comfort level of vigilance if everyone is in agreement? My significant other doesn’t ski, so I’m solo from my household if no one wants to ski with me lol. Though I’m also leaning towards doing an adult seasonal program at Sumday River again this year, so I’ll at least have people to ski with for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays once that starts if I end up doing it.
 
How would that work though? I mean technically it should be people you already live with, right? Or just others who you know are behaving with your same comfort level of vigilance if everyone is in agreement? My significant other doesn’t ski, so I’m solo from my household if no one wants to ski with me lol. Though I’m also leaning towards doing an adult seasonal program at Sumday River again this year, so I’ll at least have people to ski with for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays once that starts if I end up doing it.
It's tricky. San Francisco hasn't officially allowed multi-household "social bubbles", but Alameda County (Oakland, Berkeley... generally where a lot of my people live) allows up to 12 people as long as the groupings are "stable" (you can't be a member of more than one bubble in any three-week period).
 

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