Vail Resorts announced this week that it will not require reservations this season, part of the resort conglomerate’s winter operating plan.
In an effort to limit crowds at the height of the pandemic last season, resort visitors and Epic Pass holders were required to reserve their spots online. Along with the elimination of that system, Vail promised to load lifts and gondolas at normal capacity at its 34 North American resorts, aiming to optimize guest movement around its resorts during the 2021-22 season.
Face coverings will still be required at indoor settings. They are no longer required in the lift line.
“We are fortunate that the core of our experience takes place outdoors in vast mountain settings,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “However, as we welcome guests from around the world to the indoor experience at our resorts, we feel it’s important to do our part to combat the spread of Covid-19. We all need the opportunity to enjoy and experience the great outdoors, and we could not be more excited to welcome guests back to our resorts for the 2021-22 ski and ride season.”
Guests 12 and older will be required to show proof of vaccination to dine at indoor, on-mountain quick-service (cafeteria-style) restaurants. Like last season, guests will be required to book a reservation to eat at many on-mountain restaurants. More details on the verification process will be released ahead of the season on resort websites.
According to a press release, “Consistent with many other large-scale indoor activities and venues, Vail Resorts believes the vaccine requirement is important for the protection of its guests and employees, given the number of people using these facilities and the fact that guests will not be wearing face coverings while eating and drinking. This is currently the only part of the resort experience that will require proof of vaccination, unless required by local public health.”
All Vail employees will be required to have Covid-19 vaccinations “for their safety and protection as well as the safety and protection of guests and resort communities, and in compliance with the recent rules announced under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”
All safety protocols outlined in Vail Resorts 2021-22 Winter Operating Plan are subject to change based on the evolving nature of the pandemic as well as federal, state and local public health guidelines.
Mount Snow, Stowe, and Wildcat will be the first three New England resorts under the Epic umbrella to open for the 2021-22 season. Each resort has a planned opening of (Friday) Nov. 19, followed by Okemo Mountain Resort a day later. New Hampshire’s Mount Sunapee will open on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving, followed by Attitash Mountain Resort and Crotched on Dec. 3.