I think its safe to say, most of the locals are anxiously waiting for word on how the 2020-21 ski season is going to go. It’s the same anticipation we experience going into every season but more so this year. Usually, we are all just wondering if it’s going to be a powder year. We have hope in our hearts and fingers crossed behind our backs while we purchase season passes. This year, it’s still about the snow but it’s more about the safety protocols put in place to protect the public and the employees from Covid-19.
Last week, the resort admins came together to discuss this season’s expectations. Below is a summary of each resort’s plan. The full report with extended details can be seen on the Sierra Sun website.
SQUAW VALLEY ALPINE MEADOWS
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows president and COO Ron Cohen stressed that this season will be different in a number of ways, while stating that the resort will look to make the on-mountain experience as normal as possible while following local and state guidance. Here’s what you can expect:
- Limited Park Capacity
- No Walk-Up Ticket Sales to Start the Season
- Reduced Riders On Lifts
- Tightening Advanced Purchase of Lift Tickets
Northstar is eyeing Nov. 20 for a season opener with plans to fire up its snowmaking system in the coming weeks. Deirdra Walsh the Vice President stated: “Our focus as a resort is not only to open safely, but to stay open for the entirety of the season.” Here’s what you can expect:
- Face Coverings Required While In-Line and During the Unloading and Loading of Chairs
- Lift Tickets Will Not Be Sold In-Person
- Gondolas, Chairlifts and Ski Lessons Will Have Capacity Limits
- A Reservation System Will Give Passholders Priority When Booking Ski Dates
The General Manager Jim Mitchell states: “We’re really going to be encouraging people to use their car as the lodge. The lodging space indoors is constrained already … we don’t want to pack a lot of people into it.” Here’s what you can expect:
- Limiting the Number of Skiers Per Acre By Reducing the Total Season Pass Availability
- A Daily Cap of Skiers/Riders
- Interaction Free Ticket Sale System Using Kiosks
- Food and Beverage Purchases Done Online
- Face Coverings Required for All
SODA SPRINGS, BOREAL MOUNTAIN
Boreal Mountain Resort and its sister location, Soda Springs, are focusing on getting skiers and riders on the mountain early in the season and remaining open until snow melts away.
“The goal with that is to really ensure that we have adequate terrain to give everybody the room that they need,” said Amy Ohran, president and general manager. “And as much as we’d love to be the first to open in California and it’s always a race to the start line, we really feel this year it’s more important to start conservatively and preserve our operations for the remainder of the year.” Here’s what you can expect:
- Reduced Capacity
- Guests Choose Skiing and Riding Times
- Hands-Free Ticketing
- To Begin, Ski and Riding Schools Will Be Limited to Private Lessons, Group Lessons May Be Added Further Into the Season
“Things are not going to be the same and I think we really look to the community to help express that … so that everyone knows what to expect,” said Executive Director of Marketing Jon Slaughter. Here’s what you can expect:
- Required Reservations for Lift Tickets and Rentals
- No Walk-Up Purchases of Any Kind
- No Indoor Dining
- Face Coverings Required When Not Skiing or Riding and During Any Sort of Interaction
Above Incline Village, Diamond Peak Ski Resort is targeting Dec. 10 as its opener and plans to offer top-to-bottom skiing once lifts begin to turn. Here’s what you can expect:
- Limit Guest Capacity
- Required Face Coverings for All
- Social Distancing Measures in Place
- Indoor Dining with Reservations Only
- With the Exception of Season Pass Holders, All Skiiers/Riders Will Need a Reservation Before Heading up the Hill
- Transactions Will Be Done Online
MOUNT ROSE SKI TAHOE
Mount Rose is typically among the first resorts in the area to open, but this year skiers and riders will have to wait until there is enough coverage to open from top to bottom in order to spread the crowds out safely. Additionally, the resort has added to its snowmaking capabilities, and has yet to set a date to open the season. Here’s what you can expect:
- Capped Number of Season Passes
- Implementing a Reservation System for Daily Tickets
- To Start, Access Is Limited to Season Pass Holders
- No Longer Offering Daily Specials
Tahoe Donner is eyeing Dec. 11 to open its downhill area, and will implement similar protocols as other resorts.
The ski and cross-country area will make use of online ticket sales this season and is encouraging guests to eat outdoors. The potential for indoor dining is still up in the air.
Scacco, Justin. “Truckee-Tahoe Resorts Lay out Plans for First Turns.” SierraSun.com, SierraSun.com, 28 Sept. 2020, www.sierrasun.com/news/truckee-tahoe-resorts-lay-out-plans-for-first-turns/.