Pandemic Causes Salt Lake County Ski Resorts To Implement New Plans For 2020-2021
December 8, 2020
In reaction to the highly contagious Covid-19, Utah ski resorts have changed the way that their resorts will run this season. The four ski resorts in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon have a common requirement of inhibiting skiers who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms. Skiers should note that lift tickets are now only available for purchase online.
At each resort, everyone is required to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained. Snowbird, Alta, and Solitude have stated that neck gaiters and Buffs are not considered to be acceptable face coverings unless they are multi-layered. Resorts have also made purchased food accessible as “grab-and-go.”
Snowbird has enacted a new parking system to limit the number of people at the resort. Now, parking spots must be reserved online one week in advance. These parking passes are free and are given out as QR codes. Once the car has arrived at the resort, employees will scan the driver’s QR code and direct them towards a parking spot. Season pass holders are only allowed seven days of reserved parking. People who purchased season passes earlier in the year can make cancellations until November 30.
Snowbird has adopted the phrase “let’s shred it, not spread it.” Face coverings will be required on the aerial tram and all tram windows will remain open. To achieve social-distancing, there will be maze designs to create social distance spacing at lift lines and only private ski lessons will be available. Transactions can only be made with credit cards
Beginning in December, Alta is changing its parking system, as well. As soon as parking lots are full, drivers will be stopped from driving up the canyon. The resort will also manage its daily capacity in response to weather conditions. During more extreme weather conditions, fewer people will be allowed at the resort in order to avoid concentrated gatherings in lodges and restaurants.
As for lift lines, Alta is using “ghost lanes” to promote social-distancing. According to Alta’s website, lift attendants will not require skiers to ride a chair with other skiers they do not know. Following Snowbird, only private ski lessons will be available. Season pass holders are able to cancel their passes until December 31.
Big Cottonwood Canyon will have a new digital sign at the mouth of the canyon to inform skiers of whether or not there is parking available at Brighton. Parking is free at Brighton, while Solitude will continue having skiers purchase parking.
Currently, Brighton is only allowing the groups who drove/rode together to ride the lifts together. Solitude has not stated whether or not they will implement this regulation. At Brighton, season pass holders will be mailed their passes, and “ghost lanes” will be used in their lift lines.
Solitude’s website has confirmed that “if guests are restricted from coming to Utah due to one of the following COVID-19-related conditions, [Solitude] will issue a full refund on lodging and/or activities.” This only occurs if there is a state-mandated mandatory travel ban from the guest’s home state or if Solitude ceases operations prior to April 18, 2021. Solitude has also removed ski lessons for children under the age of seven.
Each of these resorts may have to change their regulations again throughout the season, permitting coronavirus mandates.