The general manager of Sun Valley Resort in Idaho wrote a letter to guests recently, outlining the resort’s approach to the upcoming covid-19 winter season.
Looking forward to a November 26th opening day, Tim Silva explained that due to being a relatively uncrowded resort and adding a further 380-acres of skiable terrain over summer, Sun Valley will not require guests to make reservations and will not be limiting skier numbers. Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass reservation system opened this weekend, with Keystone Resort, CO, for example, selling out within the hour.
Other policies are in line with most other resorts concerning social distancing and required face coverings.
The full letter is below:
A Message From General Manager, Tim Silva
Dear Valued Pass holders and Guests,
All of us here at Sun Valley Resort are looking forward to the upcoming winter, especially now with the crisp hint of fall in the air. Weather dependent, our plan is to open Bald Mountain as tradition holds on Thanksgiving Day, November 26th and follow with Dollar Mountain on December 12th. The entire resort leadership team has been working to create a winter operating plan that ensures a safe and enjoyable experience, and I thought it would be appropriate to share some of our key thoughts and assumptions regarding the upcoming winter season.
A shared responsibility for health and safety
Of greatest importance is the health of our team members, guests and community. Maintaining focus on this critical priority will require the best efforts of our resort team, our pass holders and guests, as we cannot succeed independently. We assume that the current health mitigation strategies related to COVID-19 will continue to be in place through the winter, which includes the requirement of facial coverings in public spaces and indoors, and maintaining physical distance in all public spaces by both team members and guests.
Mountain access and capacity
We are fortunate to be somewhat off the beaten path, and to have significant slope and lift capacities contributing to a relatively uncrowded resort. We have also been busy this summer completing a 380 acre expansion of skiable terrain on Bald Mountain and replacing the old Cold Springs lift with a state of the art express quad lift. With those things in mind, we do not plan to implement a reservation system or visitation limits for Sun Valley Season Pass holders or Epic Pass holders on Bald Mountain or Dollar Mountain this 20/21 winter season. If necessary, we will manage peak day access for both Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain through day-ticket restrictions. Lift tickets will go on sale in early October, and this year we encourage all guests to pre-purchase their lift tickets online.
On-mountain lodges and dining
We plan to operate all of our on-mountain lodges and dining facilities this winter, with a few added safety measures. To accommodate for physical distancing and in accordance with State and County ordinances, indoor seating has been reduced in all lodges and we will add to our outdoor dining options. We have simplified menus, instituted reservation systems in some venues, and will offer grab and go options to assure appropriate distancing is maintained in our lodges. Finally, the availability and cleanliness of restrooms has traditionally been a strength at Sun Valley, and will certainly be upheld and an asset this winter.
SnowSports lessons and guest services
While many aspects of skiing Sun Valley will seem unchanged, others aspects will require us all to evolve as we strive to minimize crowding. It will be a good year to arrive at the mountain prepared to ski, and to plan ahead. If you wish to store items at the base areas, we will offer secure and sanitized bag check facilities outside the lodges. Equipment rentals will be available through online reservations. Our children’s and adult SnowSports offerings will continue on Dollar and Bald Mountain with an emphasis on pre-arranged private and limited group instruction.
We have been very pleased with how smoothly our summer operations went in the village and on the mountain, and I am grateful to our guests and our leadership team for their continued focus on safety. The upcoming ski season may seem familiar in many ways and quite different in others, and we will continue to update you as we finalize details. We have created a new winter FAQ’s page on our website (www.sunvalley.com/20-21-winter-season). This page, our Sun Valley app and social media channels will act as our hub for winter operations updates. We encourage you to reference these channels for frequent updates, and we plan to send another email update on winter operations in October. I look forward to seeing you on the mountain and sharing another safe and enjoyable winter in Sun Valley.
President and General Manager