SnowBird, UT Winter 20/21 COVID Plan: Tram Capacity Reduced to 25%, Mandatory Parking Reservations, Face Masks

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The Hidden Peak tram at Snowbird will be reducing capacity to 25% this winter. | Credit: SnowBrains

Snowbird Ski Resort just told the world what they’ll be doing differently this season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some significant changes are inbound. The world-class ski resort nestled in Little Cottonwood Canyon is doing it’s best to preserve the ski experience this season, sharing its plans to reduce tram capacity to 25% and requiring guests to reserve parking spaces. Their full plan is outlined below, courtesy of Snowbird.

What To Expect

Snowbird will open for the 2020-21 winter season on November 30, weather and conditions permitting. By giving our Mountain Operations team a few additional days, we hope to be able to increase the number of lifts, ensure more terrain and have a great experience from day 1 of the season.

In order to manage volume and facilitate appropriate physical distancing:

  • Our early-season snowmaking and terrain plan is different than recent years. We will focus on getting multiple lifts open and spreading out guests across the resort.

  • We will limit the number of guests at the resort by adjusting our daily lift ticket sales and pausing other sales channels for lift tickets.

  • We are also implementing an online parking reservation system for all guests. This means that whether you’re a season passholder or day ticket guest, you will need to let us know you’re coming. We will share more details on how this will be implemented in the coming weeks.

Mandatory Masks 

In line with Salt Lake County’s mask mandate (currently in effect through December 31, 2020), facial coverings that cover the nose and mouth will be a requirement for staff and guests. Masks will be required in all indoor spaces, except when seated to eat or drink, and outdoors when 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. Whether you are riding a bus, waiting in a lift line, loading and riding a chairlift or the Aerial Tram, or entering our facilities, you will be required to wear a face covering. We believe this is an essential first step that we can all take to ensure a safe experience at Snowbird.

Aerial Tram

We will run the Aerial Tram with capacity limitations to best accommodate the health and safety of our employees and guests. As in seasons past, the Tram will operate as weather and snow conditions permit.

  • Tram cabins are limited to 25 people, which is 25% of typical winter capacity, and high-touch points are disinfected before each ride.

  • Guests will be required to wear masks at all times, including queuing, loading, riding and unloading.

  • Foot passengers (scenic rides) will not be allowed on the Tram this year.

New Snowbird App 

We’ve been working behind the scenes to develop a new Snowbird app, which will be available for Apple and Android phones at the beginning of the winter season. The app will help provide guests the information they need to do their part to physically distance across the mountain with features like:

  • Real-time lift and trail status, plus lift wait times.

  • Ski-day tracking; see where you’re at on the map and where friends and family are on the mountain.

  • Push notifications with real-time updates and information as needed allowing us to improve communication to guests who are at the resort.

  • Real-time parking lot status.

Parking Reservations

We are implementing an online parking reservation system for all guests. This means that whether you’re a season passholder or day ticket guest, you will need to let us know you’re coming. Implementing this system proactively will help us track and manage volume and ensure an experience which enables appropriate physical distancing.

  • Snowbird, Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders will need to make an advance parking reservation.

  • Snowbird shuttle buses will be circulating throughout the resort to provide transport to the base areas and hotels.

  • We plan to share more details on how this will be implemented in the coming weeks.

Chairlifts

Physical distancing in lift queues occurs organically due to the length of skis and snowboards and guests will notice additional spacing measures, including extended maze designs, more lateral spacing and increased signage, to further ensure a consistent flow of appropriately spaced traffic.

  • Guests will be required to wear masks at all times, including queuing, loading, riding and unloading.

  • Guests will self-group and load chairlifts with their traveling party.

  • Lift attendants will not require guests to ride a chairlift with people they do not know. High-capacity chairlifts may be the exception, and may be loaded in a way that allows for physical distancing.

Lift Tickets

Advanced purchase will be required for lift tickets. Day visitors will now be able to pick up lift tickets without coming to the ticket window. There will be pick-up kiosks around the resort base areas for on-site ticket pick-up. In the event that you need further assistance, the ticket offices are available for you. Lift tickets will be on sale in October.

Snowbird and Ikon Season Passes

If you are a renewing Snowbird or Ikon passholder, you can go direct to lift once you’ve reloaded your pass and signed a waiver. New passholders will be mailed their pass.

Dining 

Dining spaces and cafeteria flow have been reconfigured to allow for more space for physical distancing and faster service. Grab-and-go and takeout options will be available around the resort. Conference spaces at Creekside Lodge and Snowbird Center will be open for additional seating capacity. Guests are encouraged to avoid prime time in our restaurants (12:30 – 1:30 pm) as our overall seating capacity has dropped.

Mountain School 

To start off the season, Mountain School will offer private lessons only. Reservations are required and will be on sale in October. Please stay tuned for information on multi-week kids’ programs.

Ski & Snowboard Rentals 

Snowbird will operate ski and snowboard rentals with reservations required. Boots and helmets will continue to be sanitized after each use. More information coming soon.

Snowbird is asking you to be flexible 

Please keep in mind that we’re operating in a very dynamic environment and so while we have laid out our current plans and will continue to do so this fall, we’re ready to adapt and adjust as needed and thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

A Letter from Snowbird’s General Manager, Dave Fields

To our Snowbird Family,

Although I’m missing the polka music and cheers of Oktoberfest, this summer has been valuable in teaching us how to safely welcome guests to recreate in the mountains we love. With these lessons top of mind, I’m confident and excited about our return to snow. Although there will be differences this season, the deep snow and legendary terrain that you have come to expect from Snowbird will still be here waiting for you. My goal is for season passholders, lodging guests and daily ticket holders to enjoy their time at Snowbird and feel confident in their safety throughout their stay.

Opening day is scheduled for November 30. By giving our Mountain Operations team a few additional days, we hope to be able to increase the number of lifts and terrain available. I want to give you an update on the actions we are taking to prioritize the wellbeing of all for the duration of the season. While I believe skiing and snowboarding are inherently safe, we are doing everything we can to ensure the longevity of the season. In addition to limiting daily ticket sales and pausing other sales channels for lift tickets in order to manage volume and enable appropriate physical distancing, we are implementing an online parking reservation system for all guests.

Our teams have been working to develop operating plans and protocols designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These plans are consistent with local regulation and follow the National Ski Areas Association’s “Ski Well, Be Well” best practices. I appreciate the time our team has put into working on this plan, with many details yet to come.

While sharing these details with you today, I realize questions may arise over the coming weeks and will provide further details as they are finalized. In the meantime, I want to remind all passholders that they continue to be covered by the Passholder Promise, which includes full refunds before December 1 and In-Season COVID-19 Coverage.

I believe starting the season with a conservative and thoughtful plan will ensure the wellbeing of our community, employees and guests, and enable us to provide a great ski and ride experience for the full season. I know you are all just as excited as I am for our return to snow this upcoming winter, we’re cut from the same cloth and skiing is in our hearts. Let’s continue to take care of each other so that we can reunite on the mountain soon!

Sincerely,

Dave Fields
President and General Manager
dfields@snowbird.com
(801) 933-2041

To learn more about Snowbird’s operational plan this winter, click here


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