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So what's going to happen next season?

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).
Interesting! I know some people locally have been doing these bubbles, but I haven’t ventured to join any yet. I’m not sure if there is super specific guidance here like you mentioned, though it’s possible since I haven’t looked into it for myself yet. Definitely will be open to more for ski season with likeminded people though!
 
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 really a personal decision, even when there is guidance of how many people can be in a bubble who don't live in the same household.

Or just others who you know are behaving with your same comfort level of vigilance if everyone is in agreement?

I read about the concept of merging "bubbles" in New Zealand months ago. One large merged bubble included about 100 people on a boarding school campus. There were international students who couldn't fly home, plus faculty and staff who normally lived on campus, and a few faculty families who decided their kids would be better off living on 100-acre campus freely instead of being cooped up in one house. Worked out well for the faculty families who move onto campus.

I merged my family's bubble with my daughter's boyfriend in March. He didn't have anywhere else to go when their college shut down since he hadn't flown home for what was supposed to be a 1-week spring break. We have a big house with plenty of extra space. In April, we merged with two other families with tween kids who we've known for about 10 years. We were staying safe based on compatible thinking about social distancing and when face masks were appropriate. While sometimes we did stuff together outdoors, we also visited with each other in our homes. That included sharing meals. In late June, we drove to Lake Placid and shared a large private house on a private lake. Another good friend (no SO, no kids) joined us, driving from Boston. We had a very good time. Much more fun had it been just me and my daughter.

There are stories about neighbors with school age kids working together for the well being of not only the kids, but also the working parents. They have become an extended family. No different than if siblings or cousins happen to live within walking distance of each other, as used to be much more common.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Our bubbles are still at 10. But we're allowed gatherings with social distancing. Be interesting to see what Alterra comes up with. As I mentioned before, if the border stays closed the tourist numbers will be down and we may not need reservations at Tremblant.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
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.
This mostly solo skier is sort of wondering what’s going to happen, too. However it’s a while until December. Over the summer I have been very careful about my COVID-19 group and any other exposure. My group has been with the people who race on my boat. There are a couple of other minor connections but by and large I have been very very careful.
 
What I learned to do when considering a ski safari in the northeast, or anywhere else for that matter, is to start planning early. Even when my dates were fuzzy, I'd think about who I knew in my target region. As I narrowed down to which ski areas/resorts I hoped to ski, I'd reach out to see if I could find a few people to meet up with. Skiing together for half a day was the ideal scenario but just getting together for a chat or a meal was okay too. Most of the time my initial contact is private, via PM or email.

I used to get together with people I hadn't met in person for a completely different reason back in 2002-2010 while traveling to visit family all over the U.S. They were also people who had online group(s) in common. Learned long ago while working that even a lunch with a co-worker from another office or a client contact on an international project team made a big difference in better communication going forward.
 
I think this SAM web article is available to the public. It's the results of Mountain Spy calling and asking if lift tickets are guaranteed with lodging reservations. The goal was more the tone of the answer since nothing firm was expected this early.

https://www.saminfo.com/the-magazine/this-issue/item/165166-mountain-spy-september-2020
I grimaced at the "I would assume" from the thumbs-down resort. These are exceptional times, and one of the reasons for making a call with a question like this is because assuming things isn't safe.
 
May be seeing signs designed for NSAA (National Ski Areas Assoc.) at some of your favorite ski areas. NSAA member can download to print. Obviously there will also be fancier customized signs with logos, as well as more basic signs at local independent places.

I have an impression that NSAA has come up with guidelines for lift capacity for different sizes of chairlifts or gondolas.

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 8.51.58 PM.png
 
There won't be any early season hiking permitted at Killington/Pico.

Early Season Skinning [Killington]
I know that our first snowfall is going to get everyone excited for another season on the mountain and you may want to earn your turns before lifts spin, but uphill travel routes will not be open early season. Until we have enough snow coverage to open designated uphill travel routes, skinning is not permitted at Killington and Pico. I’m aware that many passholders have ignored our closures in the past, but this season, our uphill policy will be strictly enforced and you will be at risk of losing ski privileges if you’re caught on the mountain. If uphill routes are closed, it’s for good reason – such as unmarked hazards, poor coverage or large machinery at work to name a few – and in the best interest of our guests, staff and community first responders.
 
Lots of Killington operational update info today, including a set opening day of November 14'th (what a weird year!!) and parking reservations etc.
That makes two Powdr resorts planning to use parking reservations to limit the number of people on the slopes: Copper and Killington/Pico.

If more people carpool, that will also mean that lifts will be able to load more "travel buddies" together. That would help to make lift lines a bit shorter.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This from Killington's website (https://www.killington.com/plan-your-trip/getting-here/20-21-winter-experience/managing-capacity):

MANAGING GUEST CAPACITY
We will be limiting the number of guests at the resort in order to facilitate physical distancing. Our primary method for limiting the number of guests will be accomplished by adjusting our ticket and pass product offerings and sales channels as well as limiting the number of tickets we sell on any given day.


We are also implementing an online parking reservation system for all guests. This means that whether you’re a season pass holder or day ticket holder; you will need to let us know you’re coming. Implementing this system proactively will help us track and manage volume and ensure an experience which enables appropriate physical distancing. We plan to share more details on how this will be implemented in the coming weeks.
 
I think there are a few places where we could talk about this, but I just heard from Crystal about what Alterra is doing this year. I elected not to get a pass due to the uncertainty of it all, and how overcrowded they were last year. I don't blame them for prioritizing passholders and this seems like a decent system. I hope I can at least ski some weekdays but with everyone working from home, and so many people not taking real vacations, I gotta think there will be plenty of competition for weekday tickets too.

This effort starts with controlling resort visitation levels to avoid overcrowding. We are prioritizing access for season pass holders and will tightly regulate the number of daily lift tickets that will be available by advance purchase only. To this end, walk-up window sales will be eliminated, and the sale of most undated lift ticket products will be discontinued until further notice. Please visit our website for more information regarding our policies.
 
Just found the letter from Crystal's CEO. It's a nice statement, which is somewhat heartening. They say they will be introducing some mid-week passes. I might be interested in that, since it would give me reservation priority.

Maybe I should also mention that Crystal has closed summer operations early...due to a fire.

https://www.crystalmountainresort.c..._DGwwmFaoLYwgBIAAXfBhrAYSgFzFHFBnEvMScZvENUY8

We will be encouraging as much midweek skiing and riding as your new, more flexible schedule may allow. We’re really excited to introduce a number of new mid-week season passes and multi-day options this winter—from the co-parenting Hall Pass to the Local Hero Pass —so that you can do your part and get more turns. New product details will be announced soon so stay tuned.

On days where we expect to reach what will likely be a reduced capacity on-mountain this winter, Ikon Pass and local season pass holders will be our first priority. After all - you committed to us, and it just seems right that we do the same for you! We will tightly regulate the number of daily lift tickets that will be available by advance purchase only. To this end, walk-up window sales will be temporarily eliminated, and the sale of all undated lift ticket products will be discontinued until further notice. We’ll also be opening a little earlier on weekends and offering new ticket options for later arrivals to take advantage of extended hours on weekends and holidays to help maximize your time on the slopes this winter.

Our lodges will have limited seating and we’re excited to offer several new options to purchase food (and beverages) outdoors and on the go. Food and drinks can be ordered through mobile-app purchase, and table reservations, required for indoor seating, can also be made online. I have a feeling you’ll find me enjoying fish ‘n’ chips from the new Southback Fish Shack by the fire outside at Campbell Basin more often than I’d like to admit!


We know this is a lot. And, we’ll be honest—it will take a bit more planning on your end to be prepared for how it will all work. The theme this winter will be ‘Know Before you Go’ and in the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more details so you can be ready to embrace the changes that are necessary this winter
 
The general statement from Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra, is all over the usual ski industry news today. Alterra is clearly taking the opposite approach to reservations for season passholders than Vail Resorts. Most of the Alterra resorts will not have reservation systems for lift access. In addition to Copper and Killington, Eldora will also have a parking reservation system.

However, Ikon partners are another story. Not all have made a decision yet about whether or not to have a reservation system. The ones that have will require reservations for Ikon holders.

https://www.ikonpass.com/en/reservations
 
The general statement from Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra, is all over the usual ski industry news today. Alterra is clearly taking the opposite approach to reservations for season passholders than Vail Resorts. Most of the Alterra resorts will not have reservation systems for lift access. In addition to Copper and Killington, Eldora will also have a parking reservation system.

However, Ikon partners are another story. Not all have made a decision yet about whether or not to have a reservation system. The ones that have will require reservations for Ikon holders.

https://www.ikonpass.com/en/reservations
OH I totally made an assumption based on what I thought I was reading but you are right--they are not taking reservations. Huh. Not sure about this. Crystal's lots fill as it is. How in the world does a ski area go about "controlling resort visitation levels to avoid overcrowding" without taking reservations? What if all of your passholders show up on a powder day, which they will?

ETA: We still can only socialize, outside, with 5 non-household members, once per week. It seems odd that the state will allow a big crush of people at ski areas. Then again, the national parks and forests have been very crowded.
 
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OH I totally made an assumption based on what I thought I was reading but you are right--they are not taking reservations. Huh. Not sure about this. Crystal's lots fill as it is. How in the world does a ski area go about "controlling resort visitation levels to avoid overcrowding" without taking reservations? What if all of your passholders show up on a powder day, which they will?
What Boyne Resorts is doing for their New England locations is to really limit the number of season passes sold. They dropped off Loon from the traditional New England Pass. That meant those sales ended mid-June. I bet that was a surprise to a fair number of people.

Will be interesting to see if Crystal decides parking reservations are worth the effort. You would expect that Alterra resort managers are communicating with each other in order to help each other figure out what to do, and how to implement a plan.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Tremblant is on Ikon. So that is the season pass along with the Tonik (local non-holiday pass). Day tickets through the website only and limited. Limited "non dated" tickets are being sold..ie Costco or clubs. I imagine that there are a few groups that had already ordered, so they could be a go. And with the border closed, I'm thinking if we can stay out of trouble, could be a good year!!
 
My guess is that anything I do this season will be at the two mountains that I bought cheap early season weekday passes, Cataloochee, NC and Okemo, VT. I don't predict that I'll be trying any new mountains this season and I can't remember when that was the case, but priorities are safety and skiing!
 

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