Lake Tahoe area resort commits to reducing skier visits, caps season pass sales by 25%; Completes first phase of Ellis chairlift refurbishment to shorten ride time
While the 2020-21 winter season will resemble the authentic, uncrowded ski and ride experience Homewood Mountain Resort is known for, the Lake Tahoe area resort is implementing big changes to ensure public health and safety of its guests and employees. Along with new policies and procedures that align with federal, state, and local public health guidance, Homewood has made significant investments in new technology and on-mountain upgrades that will change the way guests access the mountain, including RFID lift ticketing and scanning, and refurbishment of the popular Ellis chairlift. The resort has also committed to reducing skier visits and has capped season pass sales.
“‘Fewer skiers per acre.’ Homewood has always been known for lesser crowds and we are fully embracing that this season with a planned reduction in skier visits. Our operational plan continues to put our guest and employee safety as our top priority and includes new policies and procedures for all who visit the resort. While things will certainly look and feel a little different, we know our guests will quickly adapt to the health and safety measures we’ve put in place.”
– Kevin Mitchell, Homewood Mountain Resort general manager
In response to public health initiatives, Homewood has made significant investments in new RFID technology to allow for seamless lift access, easy reloading of lift tickets online, and kiosks for contactless lift ticket pick-up.
The first phase of the Ellis chairlift refurbishment project, completed prior to the 2020-21 season, will reduce ride time by nearly four minutes, providing access to popular intermediate and advanced terrain.
In addition to these investments, new processes and procedures implemented this summer to ensure guest and employee safety will carry through to the resort’s winter operations. Here’s what skiers and riders can expect when visiting Homewood Mountain Resort:
Implementation of Industry-wide Guidelines
Throughout the summer, Homewood has collaborated with the ski industry, led by the National Ski Areas Association and Ski California to create a set of shared, consistent operational guidelines. The resort will adhere to the principles established in the Ski Well, Be Well guide, as well as with local public health agency recommendations.
Homewood will use its website, email, and social media to communicate frequently with guests. In addition, pre-arrival information for those who purchase tickets will include details on parking, ticket redemption, and what to expect with regard to the overall resort experience.
When purchasing a lift ticket, guests will be required to reserve their parking space. This will help facilitate reduced on-mountain capacity. Season passholders won’t need to make a parking reservation to park at the resort.
Opening Day and Early Season Operations
Opening Day is scheduled for Friday, December 11, weather and conditions permitting. All lift tickets sales will be capped each day throughout the season. All available lift ticket options will be communicated through Homewood’s website, email, and social media channels.
Lift Tickets & Resort Access
Homewood invested in Aspenware and RFID technology to modernize its ticketing system and better control when and how many tickets will be available throughout the season. New this year, tickets purchased online in advance will be available for pick-up at on-site kiosks rather than at the ticket window. This will reduce touchpoints and allow lift attendants to scan tickets from up to 12 feet away, ensuring greater social distancing between employees and guests. This technology will also allow tickets to be reloaded onto the same media. Lift tickets will not be available for purchase at the resort.
Ski School & Equipment Rentals
To start the season, only private lessons will be offered. Guests must reserve all lessons in advance. Equipment rentals will also be available with advance online reservations. All rentals will be pre-teched for each guest prior to pick-up, and indoor capacity will be limited in the rental shop.
The length of skis and snowboards inherently helps with social distancing in lift lines. In addition, new lift mazes will be established with more lateral space between lines and guests will be required to wear face coverings while in line and on lifts. Skiers and riders will be asked to self-group and ride lifts only with those they arrived with.
Lodge and Food & Beverage
Indoor dining will be limited. Instead, guests will be encouraged to use their vehicle as their “lodge” this winter. Hot food and grab-and-go options will be available via online ordering.
The resort’s comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing procedures have been increased in frequency in all high-contact places including bathrooms, entrances and exits, door handles, tables, and seating areas. The resort’s Safety Aware Clean Team use cleaning products approved for use by the EPA and proven to be effective against viruses. Hand sanitizer will also be available at all payment and check-in locations.
In an effort to ensure public health and keep the ski area open this season, resort guests and employees will be required to follow the resort’s guidelines for COVID-19 operations. This includes wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance at all times at the resort, including in parking lots, both base areas, ticket kiosks, while on or around lifts, and indoors (except while seated to eat or drink).
Learn more about Homewood Mountain Resort and planned winter operations at https://www.skihomewood.com/2020-21-what-to-expect-this-winter/.