Our fellow ski enthusiasts everywhere won’t be surprised to hear that winter of 2020-2021 will look a little different than we’re used to. Sure, social distancing and mask wearing is on the menu, as well as a few other modifications. But we can tell you this: the snow is going to be just as featherlight as always. The sunshine, as steady. The storms, as plentiful. There may be a pandemic on, but Mother Nature doesn’t care. She’s busy cranking out 500 inches of gorgeous fluff for us all to marvel over.
So stay strong, and keep your priorities where they belong: powder skiing. Skiing is generally a low-risk way to get some fresh air, boost your endorphins, build fitness, and give your mental health a great big mountain-sized pick-me-up. You can pre-pay for passes online, and often pre-arrange gear rentals and ski lessons too. All you have to do is step outside and enjoy.
When it comes to lodging and dining, you have options to suit your comfort level. If you prefer, you can cozy up in a rental condo, a hotel room with a kitchenette, or a home or cabin and do your own meal prep. However, the resorts and their wonderful restaurants have also worked hard to make in-person dining a safe experience, with spaced-out tables and every protocol under the sun to keep you and your food safe.
As of this publishing, every resort in Utah either is open or plans to open for this season. All are making some adjustments regarding how the ski day will work, and all these adjustments fall within the realm of the expected. So add “mask” to your daily ski-gear checklist, and bundle up! By following the resorts’ simple protocol, you can get out and have an amazing and safe time skiing.
Here are the rules to roll with. If you’re familiar with 2020, the guidelines will feel familiar, too.
Across all resorts:
Here’s a brief summary of the full statewide resort policies:
- Wear a face covering when you can’t social-distance. Ski areas will follow CDC recommendations and require masks whenever people can’t be physically distanced. This applies inside and outside, unless you’re eating or drinking.
- Stay spaced out. Expect the resort to have guidelines for how to space out in lift lines, on lift rides, in ticket queues, in ski lessons, and in dining areas. Again, as a 2020 veteran, this should all feel as “new normal” as can be.
- Rest easy knowing everything is squeaky-clean. All our ski areas have adopted thorough cleansing and disinfecting strategies for every “high-touch” area, such as restrooms, dining facilities, ticket offices, and rental shops. They’re busting out their high-potency cleaning protocol and not looking back.
- Know that resort operating plans are adjusted and ready. Every resort is going out of its way to update its day-to-day operational processes to keep everything clean, disinfected, safe, and distanced for both employees and guests.
The takeaway: It’s all gonna ski all right.
The Salt Lake area resorts are on top of their pandemic-proofing game. Here’s what to expect, in addition to the above guidelines about face coverings and such, which apply everywhere.
Here’s a summary:
- Resort capacity will be limited, so check their Road & Parking webpage before heading up. Skiers are encouraged to visit during off-peak times such as mid-week.
- Ride the chairlifts just with the people you’re skiing with. Single riders will queue in the regular lift lines and will not be required to share a chair with skiers they don’t know.
- The ski school will start the season with private lessons only.
- Restaurants will have limited seating capacity and it will be for paying guests only. Additional grab-and-go food options will be available at multiple locations, and expanded outdoor seating space has been added.
- Gear rentals are still available but need to be reserved in advance by phone.
- Dining will be much more limited than usual, so check Alta’s page above for a restaurant-by-restaurant breakdown. Some restaurants and bars will be closed to people not staying at that lodge.
- Off-site ticket sales will be reduced.
Here’s a summary:
- Purchase your ticket online ahead of time, then pick it up contact-free at an electronic resort kiosk.
- Season passes and “Go Cards” will be mailed to you, not picked up at the resort.
- Reserve ski/snowboard rentals and lessons ahead of time. Class sizes will be reduced for easier spacing, and check-in is outdoors.
- Cars will be spaced further apart in the parking lot, so come during off-peak times or ride the UTA Bus because fewer cars will fit in the lot when spaced.
- Ride the ski lift with the people you came with, and if you came single you may be paired with another single rider on opposite ends of a “quad” chair.
- Indoor dining tables are spread out, and guests can order grab-and-go online for slopeside delivery. Outdoor dining has been expanded for more patio tables, too. Payment by credit card is required for all dining transactions.
Here’s a summary:
- Make all purchases using a credit card or mobile payment.
- Parking must be purchased before arrival with Snowbird's online parking reservation system. This doesn’t apply to guests staying in resort lodging.
- Dining seating capacity has been reduced for easier spacing, including additional grab-and-go and takeout options. Menus will be digital.
- Ski/snowboard lessons will be private only at the start of the season. Group lessons and multi-week kids’ group lessons are planned to be phased in later December and January.
- Additional precautions apply at the lodging and spa facilities to keep them perfectly clean, disinfected, and spaced. Game rooms will be closed.
- The tram will run as usual but only at 25% capacity, and chairlift riders can ride just with the group they came with.
- Lift tickets must be purchased online ahead of time.
- Rental shop guests will be greeted outside to verify their gear reservation. Entry will then be metered to help with social distancing.
Here’s a summary:
- Purchase all tickets online in advance for a specific ski day, or use your season pass, which will be mailed to you.
- You can pay for your parking on your phone, including applying a discount for carpooling.
- Lift lines will be spaced out.
- Dining includes more grab-and-go options, especially in day lodges, and outdoor patio seating is expanded, with added heaters in some areas.
- Ski/snowboard lessons must be reserved ahead of time, and more private and semi-private lesson timeslots have been added to accommodate young kids and families.
- Additional precautions apply at the lodging and spa facilities to keep them perfectly clean, disinfected, and spaced.