What to expect from a ski vacation during COVID

Skiing and snowboarding families should expect some differences at ski resorts this year. Ready to try a ski vacation during COVID? Read on!

Ski vacation during COVID: what to expect!

The good news: ski vacations are inherently safe, since they’re outdoors with plenty of fresh air and exercise. Families can pod together easily at ski resorts, and many resorts are expects a La Nina year! Here’s what to expect from a ski vacation during COVID:

Masks in lift lines and in lodges:

This is easy…you and your family are probably already wearing Buffs or other face coverings. If not, outfit your family with any type of balaclava, buff, bandana, or ski mask. If it’s a warm day, simply wear your face covering around your neck when you’re on the slopes. And be sure to check out ski and snowboard in Idaho for fantastic vacation ideas. 

Chair lift rides with your crew only:

Again, no big deal, since most chairs seat 4-6 people, and you probably ride up the slopes with your family anyway. Could this mean longer than usual lift lines, as lifties are required to load some chairs with fewer people on them? Yes, so be prepared to rest your legs a bit longer than you might like.

Some lodges closed for the season:

This one can be seen as a bummer, or as an opportunity: some ski resorts will be limiting lodge services. For instance, Mt. Ashland Ski Area‘s historic lodge will be closed for warming, lift ticket purchases, and food services, and will only be open for families to pick up rentals or meet for lessons.

This means that skiing and snowboarding may remind parents of the slopes of their childhoods, when a ski day did not include a $15 burger or ramen bar at lunch. Families will need to tailgate, bring packed sandwiches to eat on the chair, or plan more half-day experiences.

Walk-up ticket sales will be limited:

Most resorts, such as Squaw Valley, will limit walk-up tickets, in order to better control how many guests are on the slopes any given day. Day tickets will still be available, but they will need to be purchased in advance on the website. If day-of tickets are still available online, they may still be purchased.

fOther resorts, such as most Vail Resorts, plan to use a reservation system directly limiting the number of guests per day. This reservation system may be lifted later in the season. At Northstar California, for example, day passes won’t be sold at all until after a soft start for season passholders from opening day until mid-December.

This is the year to splurge on that annual pass:

Because of reservation systems and limits on walk-up sales, the best way to ensure your ski vacation during COVID–and the best way to plan in advance–is to purchase annual passes at your favorite resort. Annual passholders will be granted the most access and receive the most perks this ski season.

Are you ready for the 2020-21 ski season? Prep now by waxing and tuning your own skis with our DIY guide!