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Park City Mountain Resort COO Says Reserving Ski Days Should Get Easier as More Terrain Opens

Sean Higgins

Park City Mountain Resort COO Mike Goar says when it comes to the resort’s new reservation system for skiing and riding in the age of COVID-19, some patience will be required. Despite some early season frustrations, he anticipates there will be plenty of opportunities to get out for some turns this winter.

Opening day at Park City Mountain Resort came and went last Friday under blue skies and sunshine as another winter season kicked off in Park City.?
It goes without saying, however, that this winter will be unlike any we’ve ever experienced, you know, with a global pandemic going on.

COVID-19 regulations definitely gave things a different feel on opening weekend. No hi-fives in lift lines, smiles were covered by face masks, and Payday lift was only loading at half capacity so everyone could be property spaced out on each chair as well.

PCMR Chief Operating Officer Mike Goar told KPCW that all things considered, opening weekend went about as well as they could have hoped. He said, by and large, health regulations were adhered to by guests.

“Every once in a while, somebody will forget, and a gentle reminder and that typically is about all it takes,” Goar said. “I think we’re just going to have to continue, as I say, to be diligent on that front. That isn’t going to get any easier for anyone as we go along.”

One aspect of early-season skiing and riding that did cause headaches for some was the resort’s reservation system. 

Vail Resorts is implementing a reservation system at all of their properties this winter to put a cap on on-mountain capacity in an effort to ensure proper social distancing.

With limited terrain and high demand early in the season, many people eager to get out on opening weekend found themselves out of luck if they tried to make a last-minute reservation. 

Goar said he is confident everyone who wants to reserve days later in the season will be able to, but added that if you are not able to use your pass this winter, you can actually get a refund.

“If they’ve not used their pass and they cannot get the days they want to ski, then, yes, they can get a refund,” said Goar. “I would just emphasize again a little bit of understanding about as it rolls out with very limited terrain, the capacity numbers are much smaller. That system is in place for one reason and that is the health and safety of guests and employees and our ability to get open and most importantly, to stay open.”

Goar stressed that the reservation system is fluid, with people reserving and cancelling ski days on an almost minute-by-minute basis. If you are able to time it right, you could make a last-minute reservation with a bit of luck and some fast fingers.

He also added that as more terrain opens up, more people will be allowed to reserve days on the mountain.

Open days for the coming week become available for booking on Wednesday afternoons and some guests have said this feels more like a lottery than a reservation system. 

Goar said Wednesday afternoons are the earliest they can offer those bookings and one thing they will be keeping an eye on is guests who book days and then don’t show up. He said if it happens once, it’s not a big deal, but if it becomes a pattern, you might be getting a call from the resort. 

“In fairness to those not getting reservations, we do have to monitor that and if that became a pattern with a passholder, then, yeah, you know, we’ve told our guests that we would have a conversation with them if that were to happen and, unfortunately, I think we would have to do that,” he said.

On-mountain access is restricted to Epic Pass holders only until day tickets go on sale December 8th. Goar said as of Tuesday, the only regular season dates that have sold out are December 12th and 13th.

New terrain opening is weather dependent, but Goar said Tombstone, Over and Out, and Bonanza will likely be the next lifts to open.

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