A Guide to Colorado Ski Resorts Plans for the 2020/2021 Season

As the days grow cooler, there’s only one thing on many of our minds: ski season. This winter looks different than most years, but each of the Front Range ski areas have outlined plans to help keep the resorts open and powder days accessible and safe.

So, what can we expect? Anyone who’s skied in the last few years in Colorado knows the kind of crowds weekend skiing and riding can produce. Most resorts have limited the number of passes and tickets for sale to help control crowds, while some have implemented reservation systems. Your best bet is to buy your pass early to (hopefully) ensure days on the slopes this year. Most resorts are offering some sort of COVID-19 guarantee, so if the season is shortened or doesn’t happen, you’ll have 2021/22 to look forward to.

Expect to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing in most situations. Longer waits to get on lifts are likely, as only related parties will be riding together at most resorts. For the best chance of avoiding crowds, take advantage of work from home life and hit the slopes mid-week. Avoid weekends and holidays if possible. If you’re normally a half-day skier or rider, opt for the less crowded afternoons.

Here’s what to expect from the resorts along the Front Range this season.

Photo courtesy of Arapahoe Basin.

Arapahoe Basin

Projected Opening Date: Mid-October
Reservations: Only Ikon Passholders need to make reservations
Pass and Lift Tickets: A-Basin will be limiting the number of seasons passes sold, so purchase yours as soon as possible. Daily lift tickets will need to be purchased in advance and Ikon Passholders will need to make advanced reservations for their ski or ride days. The resort has not yet announced the process for Mountain Collective passholders. Though Arapahoe Basin usually has the longest season in Colorado, it never guarantee number of days. Season passes won’t be refunded or transferred unless the resort can’t open at all for the season.
COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures to Follow: Arapahoe Basin is relying on the limited ticket and pass sales helping with its notorious parking, but parking could be limited if the resort continues to see large crowds this year. Its shuttle bus will not run, so plan on walking from your car to the lifts. Visitors won’t be able to store gear or eat brown bag lunches inside any of the buildings. Tailgating and gatherings over 10 in the parking lots will not be permitted (staff will be monitoring) and The Beach is closed for the 2020/21 season.

Loveland Ski Area

Projected Opening Date: TBD
Reservations: N/A
Pass and Lift Tickets: If you purchased a season pass between February 15 and March 14 this year, you can extend your pass to the 2020/21 season. Loveland is guaranteeing a 130 day season this year. If it’s forced to close again, season pass holders will receive a prorated credit for the 2021/22 season. Renewal discounts are also deeper this year and season pass prices won’t change until December 1, so you have plenty of time to make a decision.
COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures to Follow: Physical distancing and face coverings will be mandatory in lift lines, hand coverings (gloves or mittens) are required on chairlifts and only related parties will be able to ride the lifts together.

Photo Courtesy of Copper Mountain on Facebook

POWDR Resorts – Copper Mountain and Eldora

Projected Opening Date: Eldora – November 23; Copper Mountain – November 30
Reservations: Advanced parking reservations required
Pass and Lift Tickets: If you were a 2019/20 season pass or four-pack holder, you should have already received a voucher towards a pass for the upcoming season. For the 2020/21 season, Copper and Eldora are offering refunds for passholders for any reason until December 10, 2020. If the mountains close due to COVID-19 for seven or more consecutive days, or for 21 total days between December 11, 2020 and April 14, 2021, passholders will receive a voucher for the 2021/22 season.
COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures to Follow: Face coverings will be required in all indoor spaces (with the exception of sitting down while dining) and outdoors anywhere you can’t physically distance. Skiers and riders won’t be asked to ride the lifts with anyone outside of their party, with the potential exception of larger capacity lifts and closed-cabin carriers if loading can be done in a way that allows for distancing.

Vail Resorts

Projected Opening Dates:
Keystone Resort – November 6; Breckenridge Ski Resort – November. 13; Vail – November 20
Beaver Creek Mountain Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort – November 25
Reservations: Vail Resorts implemented a reservation system for the 2020/21 season. Passholders are being prioritized and will have access to the system before daily lift tickets go on sale December 8. As a passholder, you can make up to seven daily reservations for the season ahead of time, and then will be able to make week-of reservations throughout the season. As you use the original days you reserved, you can make more advanced reservations. Passholders get exclusive early access to the mountains through December 8.
Pass and Lift Tickets: Daily lift tickets don’t go on sale until December 8.
COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures to Follow: Face coverings will be required in lift lines and on lifts. Only related parties will be required to ride lifts together, with the exception of singles, spread out on the chair to maintain physical distancing.

Photo courtesy of Winter Park Resort Facebook Page.

Winter Park Resort

Projected Opening Date: November 18
Reservations: N/A
Pass and Lift Tickets: Walk-up daily lift tickets and most un-dated ticket options have been eliminated this season and Winter Park will be managing the number of advance lift tickets to try to avoid having to move to a reservation system. All season pass holders qualify for Adventure Assurance, which means an unused pass can be deferred to the 2021/22 season. COVID-19 related closure credits will also be issued if the situation arises.
COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures to follow: Winter Park Resort will require face coverings while waiting in line and riding lifts and visitors will be encouraged to maintain social distancing.