Vail Corp CEO Rob Katz took some time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the company’s winter reservation system. Even though you will have to reserve your days at Park City Mountain Resort this winter, you still might get to ski as much as you want.
Vail and Park City Mountain Resort announced they would be implementing a reservation system for the winter in order to control crowds at the mountain late last month. There have been many questions about how access to the mountain will change and what those changes will look like this winter. Vail CEO Rob Katz looked to answer some of those questions in a video posted by the company this week.
Reservations will be required to access PCMR each day but priority will be given to passholders. Vail says the reservation system will allow guests to feel safer and allow for more opportunities to physically distance.
Katz said capacity limits at resorts will be specific to each location and will factor in things like each resort’s unique characteristics, available terrain, as well as historic and modeled visitation levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said even though the process to get on the mountain this winter will be different, even in a typical season, most days do not have the number of visitors where capacity limits would be reached.
“So for most of the days this season, you’ll be able to ski or ride the days you want,” Katz said. “The reservation system is really in place for peak days. The issue is we can’t always predict a peak day so this reservation system becomes a tool to help us manage that capacity and be out front in our approach to help keep you safe all season long.”
PCMR is scheduled to open on Nov. 20th and passholders will have exclusive access to the mountain until Dec. 7th. Regular day tickets will go on sale Dec. 8th.
Scheduling reservations for a powder day also presents a challenge but Katz says even though it’s hard to predict when the best skiing will be, he is confident passholders will have the ability to access the mountain when there is fresh snow.
“Usually we don’t know about those storms until a few days before they happen so out passholders will be able to book using their week-of reservations any time they want during that week,” Katz explained. “Could those days be full? They certainly could, but while those powder days are incredible skiing and riding, we need to make sure they’re safe, and we know you want that as well.”
Katz did admit there could be days where a season passholder cannot access the mountain but argued that even with the reservation system, the relative value of a season pass might actually be better than ever. With passholders gaining exclusive early season access and priority reservations the rest of the winter, Katz is hoping skiers and riders still consider an Epic Pass this winter.
Katz said there’s even the possibility the reservation system could go away as the COVID-19 situation changes.
“There’s also definitely the possibility that based on how things play out, we may remove the reservation system, either for the rest of the season or for parts of it, but it would be a lot easier to remove the reservation system than to put one in mid season,” he said.
On-mountain regulations in addition to reservations include mandatory face coverings and physical distancing in lift lines as well as on chairlifts and in gondola cabins. Lift attendants will only be loading riders who are skiing or snowboarding in the same group.
The PCMR Ski & Ride School will also require a reservation and participants will have to undergo an online self-health screening prior to arriving at the mountain. Group lessons will be limited to a maximum of six people.