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Survey reveals ski resort visitors' top concerns for upcoming winter

Abbi

Angel Diva
#21
Before I found this thread this morning I was about to post a question asking if anyone had already tried to reserve days for this year. I haven’t since I ski weekdays and had not seen it as a concern. But perhaps I am being optimistic. Thoughts? Has anyone tried to reserve days already?
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#22
Before I found this thread this morning I was about to post a question asking if anyone had already tried to reserve days for this year. I haven’t since I ski weekdays and had not seen it as a concern. But perhaps I am being optimistic. Thoughts? Has anyone tried to reserve days already?
I don't think you can reserve, at least on Epic, until November 6.
 
#24
I don't think you can reserve, at least on Epic, until November 6.
Correct. For Ikon, the start date for making a reservation is Nov. 9.

There is a big difference between Epic for Vail Resorts locations and Ikon for Alterra locations (not Partners), Epic has the 7 Day Priority limit and reservations are required at ALL VR resorts. Alterra resorts are not requiring lift access reservations, at least that's the plan. However, Alterra Partners can make use of an Ikon reservation system and most plan to. But need to check individual resorts. That's pretty easy to do on the Ikon Reservations webpage, which also has opening dates.

https://www.ikonpass.com/en/reservations
 
#25
For those who haven't been paying close attention since the shut down in mid-March, the podcasts on the Storm Skiing Journal are worth listening to. Can also just read the overview. Even though the focus is on skiing in New England, the details of how to operate this winter are similar to what will happen all across N. America in terms of what ski managers will be doing to open and stay open during a pandemic.

October 12 (recorded Oct. 6), Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast
Podcast #25: Cannon Mountain GM John DeVivo - recorded Oct. 6
https://skiing.substack.com/p/podcast-25-cannon-mountain-gm-john

October 16 (recorded Oct. 7), Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast
Podcast #26: Fairbank Group (Jiminy Peak, Cranmore, Bromley) Chairman Brian Fairbank
https://skiing.substack.com/p/podcast-26-fairbank-group-jiminy
 

StayWarm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#26
Before I found this thread this morning I was about to post a question asking if anyone had already tried to reserve days for this year. I haven’t since I ski weekdays and had not seen it as a concern. But perhaps I am being optimistic. Thoughts? Has anyone tried to reserve days already?
At least one resort has opened day ticket reservations already -- Powder Mountain -- but they've been operating with a cap on day tickets for years, so having it in place during Covid isn't a new system for them. What they don't have in place yet (as far as I can tell) is a system for day ticket reservations for folks who want to use free days through partner resorts. I emailed them about this yesterday to see when they might roll that out. We've got Loveland and Copper season passes, which come with three days each at Powder Mountain. Last year, we had to go to the window and show our season passes to get our free tickets, so not sure how that will work this year.
 
#27
Epic FAQ has been updated with more information on the reservation regime. (Sorry for not linking ... lazy). Three items stood out. (1) After initial reservation of priority days, you cannot change them until after 11/17 (reservations start 11/6). (2) You cannot make reservation for multiple resorts for the same day, and you cannot cancel reservation on the day of the reservation, but you can make a same-day reservation for a resort. For example, if I have no reservation anywhere for Wednesday, and come Wednesday I want to go to Liberty, I can make a same day reservation if any is available. But if I already have a Wednesday reservation for Liberty, and on Wednesday I want to go to Roundtop instead, I can’t reschedule the reservation from Liberty to Roundtop. (3) If you cancel or no show too many times, Epic can suspend your ability to reserve for a time.
 

jskis190

Certified Ski Diva
#28
I won't be skiing this season. Apart from the border being closed, having to make daily reservations would be top of my list of not wanting to bother going. The poll results don't really surprise me. My next issue would be being forced to ride a lift with a stranger
 
#29
I won't be skiing this season. Apart from the border being closed, having to make daily reservations would be top of my list of not wanting to bother going. The poll results don't really surprise me. My next issue would be being forced to ride a lift with a stranger
Understand the reluctance. But what makes you think you would be forced to ride a lift with a stranger? Would you still be uncomfortable at one end of a quad with someone else at the other?

The guidelines are that no one will be forced to ride with someone they don't know. Only exception I've seen is for the Big Sky lifts that are for 6 or 8 people where at least two people will be loaded. Those are relatively new lifts and the rides are about 4 minutes
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#30
My top concern is being forced to ride the gondola with strangers who fail to wear their masks as they eat their lunches while protected from the cold and wind. I can already hear the outrage at a single filling up an 8 seater... Missing the 2 person gondolas in Japan. Hopefully my anxiety is greater than the actual experience.
This is my top concern as well.
 

WhyKnot

Certified Ski Diva
#31
. (3) If you cancel or no show too many times, Epic can suspend your ability to reserve for a time.
This surprises me in that my understanding when i got pass was this would not be an issue to cancel. Also because since it can be a crap shoot as far as weather and driving to plan so ahead, it's a little like guessing.

One issue I would hope they/Epic could address is how to deal with late afternoons. For instance depending on weather and work I might decide to head over to the mountain to ski at say, 2:30 in the afternoon and ski for an hour or so. One reason I like doing this is I always will get a parking spot right next to the lift (!). I wait for people to leave and many are gone by then.

I've already voiced my opinion to them: how are they planning to deal with the fact lots of people leave by 2 and for sure 3 and others may want to ski then. They may have a lot emptier late afternoons this year as I am sure I am not the only one who likes to do this. If you all want to bug them about this (haha) maybe the concern will find its way up the ladder!
 
#32
This surprises me in that my understanding when i got pass was this would not be an issue to cancel. Also because since it can be a crap shoot as far as weather and driving to plan so ahead, it's a little like guessing.
What they want to avoid are people who try to time a powder storm by booking 3 days in the next week KNOWING that they will only go for 1 day. VR learned from what happened in Australia during the start of the 2020 season in late June that there needed to be a way to deter people who think they too smart to get caught. Just as there are people who think it's okay to "share" a season pass that is non-transferable and then complain loudly on social media (anonymously of course) when they get caught and banned for the season.

When ABasin attempted a reservation system during late season there were people who used multiple email addresses for the lottery. Needless to say, that meant people who did the right thing were put at a disadvantage.
 
#33
This surprises me in that my understanding when i got pass was this would not be an issue to cancel. Also because since it can be a crap shoot as far as weather and driving to plan so ahead, it's a little like guessing.
I think the policy is aimed toward local skiers. Since people can reserve as many week-of reservations as they want, this prevents them from reserving all 7 days but only show up for 1 or 2 because they can’t or unable to decide ahead of time which days they actually want to ski. If you cancel because of weather or illness once or twice, that’s fine. But if the pattern of cancellations means you’re making it difficult for other people to make reservations, that’s bad.
 
#34
One issue I would hope they/Epic could address is how to deal with late afternoons. For instance depending on weather and work I might decide to head over to the mountain to ski at say, 2:30 in the afternoon and ski for an hour or so. One reason I like doing this is I always will get a parking spot right next to the lift (!). I wait for people to leave and many are gone by then.
I’m one of those who are gone by 2pm. I like to drive home while there’s still light. My local mountains have night skiing. Vail’s reservation system does not distinguish between day skiing and night skiing. The reservation is for the whole day.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#35
My sense is that the VR expectation is that getting a reservation won't be an issue for for Mon-Fri, and perhaps even Sundays that are not during holiday periods. That's been stated often since the Epic reservation system was announced. With EpicMix, VR has loads of data and knows exactly what past experience is for their locations. Probably has decent data for former Peak Resorts and SnowTime ski resorts as well.

By mid-season in Australia, there were few people who had problems buying day tickets at Perisher for the days they wanted that were midweek. When more terrain and lifts were open, more reservations and day tickets were released. When there was a thaw and rain period, then there were fewer tickets available. VR didn't just release the maximum number far in advance. Instead a minimum number were available, with the potential for additions closer to the week of interest. The "week of" concept wasn't part of the Australian Epic for 2020.
 
#36
Same question here about Epic reservations. e.g.
1) if daily cap at 200,
2) 200 people reserved that day
3) all 200 w/ reservations show up
4) by 2pm 100 people left.

Would they release / open additional slots remaining of the day?

I would think yes from revenue standpoint. Same idea as going to restaurant / supermarket these days. But don't know how you check people out to determine the net count.

Trying to understand this system now that I am contemplating Epic Local pass.

My main concerns for the coming season:
1) this season will end before it gets started.....
2) slip / fall / fracture from walking on skis boots to parking lot for lunch, since can't use indoor dining.
3) My bad knee will not hold..... I have not been exercising or strengthen my knee even though I have 8 months for rehabilitations. I blame on my lazy bones!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#37
Same question here about Epic reservations. e.g.
1) if daily cap at 200,
2) 200 people reserved that day
3) all 200 w/ reservations show up
4) by 2pm 100 people left.

Would they release / open additional slots remaining of the day?

I would think yes from revenue standpoint. Same idea as going to restaurant / supermarket these days. But don't know how you check people out to determine the net count.
I don't think so. The entire premise of this season is that there will be far fewer amenities indoor. So only grab-and-go food, no hanging around a bar, and so on. I tend to believe Rob Katz when he says that the goal is to have a safe season. Obviously as CEO he also is trying to make sure that Vail Resorts stays in business. But he thinks long term viability, not just short term stock price. Otherwise he wouldn't have come up with the idea of the Epic pass back in 2008. The VR Board of Directors thought he was crazy to REDUCE pass prices while allowing more people to ski at Vail and Beaver Creek.

There will be the possibility of new open slots first thing in the morning at times. But that will be because of last minute cancellations or perhaps if cold weather or a snowstorm unexpectedly allowed for more snowmaking and adding an additional lift to be open.

Midweek afternoons will be emptier. That's the nature of the ski industry. Very different business model and situation than a grocery store, restaurant, or retail shop. Golf courses, theme parks, zipline adventure parks, or private gardens where people are primarily outdoors have more in common with ski resorts. All of those gained experience over the summer. In some cases, those are also ski resorts. While the situation will be new to many skiers/boarders the management will be drawing on experience within their own team as well as shared knowledge from other managers in the industry.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#38
But don't know how you check people out to determine the net count.

Trying to understand this system now that I am contemplating Epic Local pass.
Keep in mind that Epic resorts use RFID. Keeping a count with plenty of associated data is standard practice. That's one of the strengths of the VR business model based on Epic passes.

Limiting capacity for a ski resort is not the same as limiting capacity in a restaurant or store. For a single building, the limit is based on a percentage of the Fire Code Maximum. So the business is literally supposed to be counting the number of people in the place. Trader Joe's uses shopping carts as a way to keep under the max. That's why they have extra staff getting carts back to the door as soon as someone finishes in the parking lot. That type of capacity limit will apply to base lodges at ski resorts. However, that's not how capacity limits are handled for people who are out riding the lifts. No one is going to be counting the number of people on a lift or on a particular trail.

Every operations plan for a ski resort will have to be approved by local authorities. Some states have ski areas that are working together for a consistent overall plan, plus plans to address unique situations. Most plans will be months in the making.

For an idea of how capacity can be calculated, check out the short videos that Snow Operating is making for Ski Area Management (SAM).

https://www.saminfo.com/mountain-departments/covid-19/capacity-management-video-series
 
#39
@alison wong - Epic passes do offer a voucher for unusable pass time. No refunds, just vouchers for an upcoming year. I would call the mountain where you'll be skiing to ask about afternoons. One problem for the mountain that I anticipate will be measuring who has left - their computers will tell them who has arrived, but they need to look out the window to see empty parking spaces.

I'm one of those morning skiers. I'm rarely still on the mountain past 1:00 or so, as are many of the retirees who arrive before dawn. (I don't arrive before dawn. We are lucky if I'm out of bed before dawn.) There will likely be more skiers clearing out, as there's no place to sit, talk, and eat for very long at lunch time.
 
#40
A slight aside on the topic of ski passes and reservations. It appears that for the time being many Mountain Collective member resorts will not be requiring reservations, even though they require them of the Ikon pass holders. I am guessing that the mountain collective numbers are so much smaller that they are not worried about the impact.
 

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