Picking the perfect ski day has always been an art. But the arrival of COVID-19 has made everything that much harder. You can’t just walk up to the window and buy a lift ticket anymore. The 2020/2021 ski season brings new rules, new restrictions, and new ways to access the slopes.
So far, Vail is the first company to share their vision for a coronavirus-compliant ski season. And that plan comes with a lot of new restrictions. If you want to ski Park City Mountain or Canyons Village, you’ll need to plan ahead.
First of all, there will be no ticket sales at the window at Vail-operated resorts. All lift tickets for the season must be reserved in advance. Eligible days—and how far in advance you can make a reservation—will depend on a couple of factors.
While Park City ski areas are set to open on November 20, the resorts are only available to Epic Pass holders until December 8. At that time, normal guests will be able to make a full-day reservation for a specific date at a specific resort on a case by case basis. Inventory is released one week at a time based on passholder reservations.
Resort occupancy will be strictly controlled to maintain social distance. At least that means the slopes will be a bit less crowded once you do make it onto the lifts.
Epic Pass holders will continue to have registration priority throughout the season.
Those rules aren’t universal, though. Snowbird and Deer Valley resorts require reservations and advanced ticket sales, but Alta doesn’t. Only Vail resorts will require a pass for priority ski registration.
Having an Ikon Pass will get you a little insurance at eligible resorts. If your designated “home resort” closes for seven consecutive days or more than 21 total during the season, you will get proportional credit for those closures under the Adventure Assurance program.
Picking Your Ski Days
So when and how can you buy tickets? Most Utah resorts haven’t released all the details yet, but the picture is getting clearer with each new announcement.
You’ll have to reserve in advance (except for Alta). You’ll also have to buy online, directly from the resort. In an effort to control the number of bodies on the slopes at one time, resorts are restricting third-party sales and putting caps on daily inventory. No reseller bargains this year, we’re afraid!
Make sure to double-check with the resort regularly, as information is changing rapidly.
Remember how we said you have to reserve a time on the slopes in advance? Well, there is a very limited exception at Park City Mountain.
If there is unsold inventory available for the current day, guests can snap up the remaining tickets online and pick them up at the window. Availability is not guaranteed. Don’t rely on same-day sales as the only way to get on the slopes, but it might help you pick up an extra day or two to extend your stay.
Getting the Best Price
A few things remain true from “the before times.” The further in advance you buy your tickets, the cheaper they will be. Same-week reservations will cost you the most. Buy at least a week out and you’ll save a little. Grab your tickets a month or more ahead, and you’ll save more (where available).
As usual, peak season days cost more than spring ski getaways. Hitting the powder in January is a pricier prospect than snagging a sunny April getaway. The downside is that late-season snow isn’t guaranteed. The hills could be turning green by the time your reservation rolls around.
The price you pay also depends on the day of the week you want to ski. Weekend access comes at a premium, especially Saturday. Mid-week tickets cost less, especially Tuesday through Thursday. Non-weekend days are more affordable due to lowered demand at the resorts, helping you get on the snow cheaper if you can spare a couple of vacation days.
The Perfect Stay on the Perfect Day
For the best deal, book a weekday visit at least a week in advance. The further out you book, the better.
Whether you’ve already settled on your desired ski days or your calendar is still wide open, you’re going to need somewhere to stay on your upcoming ski trip. Fortunately, Stay Park City has you covered. Browse our selection of Park City lodging for everything from a budget home base to a glitzy mansion by the lifts. No matter what this season has in store, Stay Park City has you covered.