Following the trend of other resorts keeping their communities informed, Sky Foulkes, President and COO at Winter Park Resort, CO wrote an open letter to the Winter Park faithful last week. Turns out that that letter created more questions than answers, so the resort responded with an AMA style Q&A session on social media.
- Related: Winter Park Resort, CO Will Open Mid-November as Usual, Says President and COO in Open Letter
See the questions and answers below, giving us even more insight into what resorts are thinking about for next season, and what we as skiers and riders can expect. Looks to me that actual skiing and riding will change very little, if at all. Liftlines maybe a little longer, and après might take a hit, but that’s a small price to pay.
Full list of questions and answers below:
Q: When is opening day?
- A: Our anticipated opening day is November 18th, 2020!
Q: Will pre-booking effect Ikon or Winter Park Pass Holders?
- A: At this time we are only planning for lift tickets, lessons, rentals, and activities to be pre-booked online. Season passes will need to be purchased in advance online.
Q: When will lift tickets go on sale?
- A: We are still working through details on daily lift tickets, but we will provide an update when they are available. Flex 4 Lift Tickets are on sale now for a limited time.
Q: Will we be able to sit and eat inside at both of the bases because it is cold outside?
- A: We are still working through what indoor spaces will look like to accommodate social distancing while maintaining our guests’ comfort. However, our guests should plan to spend more time outdoors this season.
Q: Ski bikes?
- A: We will allow ski bikes, as usual, and will also be offering Sno-Go ski bike tours this winter.
Q: Will there be temperature checks/health screenings for guests?
- A: We do require temperature checks and symptom screening for employees, but dos not have plans to require them for guests at this time. We do ask that guests do not visit if they are ill, as this puts our community and fellow skiers at risk.
Q: Are you gonna prioritize tourists over locals with season passes?
- A: At this time we do not have plans to prioritize specific types of guests over others.
Q: What are your plans for lift lines and riding the chairlift?
- A: Similar to the summer season, lift line queues will be managed with 6 feet of distance between groups, and face coverings will be required in accordance with Colorado mandates. We may limit the number of people who load each chair to accommodate social distancing needs.
Q; Will uphill access be allowed?
- A: At this time we are planning to allow uphill access and do not have plans to make changes to our uphill policy.
Q: Will all the restaurants be open?
- A: We are planning to have many of our locations open and some locations may be grab and go only. Most of our Village restaurants are planning to be open, as well.
Q: Will there be a lottery system?
- A: We currently do not have plans to use a lottery system to manage capacity.
Q: Will the whole ski area be open as usual?
- A: Yes, we are planning to have terrain open up as usual.
Q: Will you limit the number of pass holders per day?
- A: Currently we do not have any specific information on potential capacity requirements. With over 3,000 acres to spread out across, we are focusing on plans to effectively manage lift lines and indoor spaces in hopes of not limiting the number of skiers and riders on the mountains. However, we are preparing for several potential scenarios and will keep our guests updated as we receive more information.
Q: Will the train run?
- A: We do not have information on the Winter Park Express at this time, but we will provide an update when details are available.
Q: What if I get a pass and only got to use it a couple of times will we be refunded if the resorts close?
- A: Pass holders will be covered by our Adventure Assurance Policy, giving credit for COVID-19-related closures.
Q: Will masks be required on the mountain?
- A: In accordance with Colorado mandates, guests will need to wear a face-covering at all times when indoors, while outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained, in lift lines, and while loading/unloading lifts.
The original letter in full below:
To Our Community of Mountain Adventurers,
I want to start by saying thank you for your loyalty, patience, and continued support of Winter Park. It has been a challenging, yet invigorating few months, and we appreciate your support. That unique annual excitement and giddiness is beginning as all mountain enthusiasts look towards winter. Unlike any winter before, however, this year we’re anticipating those first signs of snow with feelings that are hard to describe, with new questions and several unknowns.
What we do know is that Winter Park Resort is built on the transformative nature of venturing out: the power of nature, movement, and mountains to help us restore, recharge and reset. And now more than ever, it feels like that is what we all need. We’re excited to venture out this winter with our favorite people: YOU, skiers and riders, adventurers and mountain enthusiasts.
Winter Park plans to open for the 2020/21 winter season as we usually do in mid-November, following all appropriate guidelines. Our priority remains the health and well-being of our guests, employees and community, and we will pivot operations based on the latest information from health officials. Our operations will be modified and your experience as a guest will likely feel a bit different, but we’ve been working diligently to create a memorable 2020/21 winter season.
Here’s what we know now:
- Winter will come, and our mountains will soon be covered with snow!
- We will adjust indoor spaces to reduce the number of people able to gather in a space, and this may mean more time outdoors for our guests.
- With more than 3,000 acres to spread out on, our guests have plenty of room to enjoy the fresh mountain air.
- We plan to provide new contactless dining and lodging check-in options.
- We will continue to implement enhanced cleaning procedures.
- We plan to offer modified versions of ski and ride lessons, tours, tubing and rentals that will allow for smaller group interactions, social distancing and a greater focus on outdoor spaces.
- We plan to shift to a pre-booking method of purchasing to limit lines and in-person contact.
- To help us keep our resort healthy and open for adventurers of all types, we will ask our guests to commit to our health code of conduct, and continue to take measures such as wearing a face mask, frequent hand washing and maintaining at least six feet of distance from others.
The Winter Park team is the best in business, and we’ve worked hard to plan and open modified summer activities, including our famed Trestle Bike Park. Since June 27, we have successfully and efficiently moved guests up and on the mountain for summer adventures. Based on our successful summer, we’re reflecting and learning how to modify our winter operations to give our guests a place to venture out.
More than 80 years ago, it took a hell-bent army of tunnel builders to bore through the Continental Divide, a stubborn ski die-hard to invent grooming, and a town of tenacious adventure seekers to create Colorado’s original ski community. That essence of trailblazing still permeates every trail, stream and slope in Winter Park. And that same pioneering spirit will help us plan and open Winter Park Resort for an unforgettable 20/21 winter season.
We invite you to join us as we venture out this winter.
President and COO
Winter Park Resort