Here’s your guide to how Tahoe-area ski resorts plan to open this year

Amy Alonzo | Reno Gazette Journal

With winter just around the corner, many skiers and snowboarders are hoping that Tahoe-area ski resorts will be able to mitigate COVID-19 concerns and exposure risks for the 2020-21 season.

All of Tahoe’s major ski resorts – on both the California and Nevada sides – plan to reopen this winter. “The beauty of the ski industry is social distancing is already there. The chair lift is moving, you have airflow,” Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Marketing Specialist Travis Bennett said. “Once you’re on the hill, you can spread out. And you’re already wearing goggles, masks, face coverings and gloves as part of normal attire. In that regard, it is business as usual.”

Joanna McWilliams, communications manager for Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood, said the resorts are focusing on three primary areas of safety to manage COVID – requiring face coverings, social distancing and managing access to the mountains.

“Just having skiing and riding equipment kind of naturally distances people,” she said. “Our mountains are so big. Even last winter I would find myself on runs completely alone. As far as activities go, we are so lucky to have so much outdoor space.”

The Washoe County Health District recommends skiers and snowboarders avoid enclosed areas at the resorts such as lodges, restaurants and bars. The district also recommends only carpooling to resorts with household members and wearing a face covering.

If you plan to ski or ride:

  • Check your resort’s website for updated information/restrictions
  • Remember a face covering
  • Bring some form of cashless payment, such as a credit card or uploading money to a season pass account
  • If skiing or riding for just the day, purchase tickets online ahead of time. Many resorts are not allowing walk-up ticket sales

Diamond Peak

  • Opening day: Dec. 10  
  • Reservations required: No, but could be implemented later
  • Are season passes still available? Yes
  • Daily lift tickets: Yes, sales will be capped  
  • Cashless transactions: Required
  • Face masks: Required while in lift lines, loading, riding and unloading chair lifts.
  • Chairlifts: Guests from the same household can ride together, or two singles can ride on opposite sides of a four-person chair lift. Singles will ride solo on double chairlifts.

Heavenly, Northstar

  • Opening day: Friday, Nov. 20
  • Reservations required: Yes. Reservations open Nov. 6; Pass holders are given priority access.
  • Are season passes still available? Yes
  • Daily lift tickets: On sale Dec. 8 online or through call centers.
  • Cashless transactions: Required
  • Face masks: Required to access the mountain, including in lift lines and while loading, unloading and riding chairlifts and gondolas.
  • Chairlifts: Only related parties can ride together, or: two singles seated with distance on a four-person lift; two singles or two doubles seated with distance on a six-person lift; or two singles on opposite ends of a gondola cabin.

Kirkwood

  • Opening day: Friday, Dec. 4
  • Reservations required: Yes. Reservations open Nov. 6; Pass holders are given priority access.
  • Are season passes still available? Yes
  • Daily lift tickets: Go on sale Dec. 8 online or through call centers.
  • Cashless transactions: Required
  • Face masks: Required to access the mountain, including in lift lines and while loading, unloading and riding chairlifts and gondolas.
  • Chairlifts: Only related parties can ride together, or: two singles seated with distance on a four-person lift; two singles or two doubles seated with distance on a six-person lift; or two singles on opposite ends of a gondola cabin.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe 

  • Opening day: TBD
  • Reservations required: No
  • Are season passes still available? Some mid-week passes are still available; weekend passes sold out
  • Daily lift tickets: Yes, but ticket sales will be capped
  • Cashless transactions: Contactless payment preferred
  • Face masks: Required in all indoor areas, lift lines, while riding chair lifts, and during ski and snowboard lessons.
  • Chairlifts: TBD

Sugar Bowl

  • Opening day: Planned Nov. 27 but subject to change
  • Reservations required: No, but may be implemented
  • Are season passes still available: Sales are on hold
  • Daily lift tickets: Advanced purchase required; ticket sales will be capped.
  • Cashless transactions: Required
  • Face masks: Required indoors; outdoors when within six feet of another person.
  • Chairlifts: Guests can select if they want to ride with others on a chairlift; Gondolas will be disinfected after each unload.

Boreal

  • Opening Day: Nov. 23
  • Reservations required: No
  • Are season passes still available: Yes
  • Daily ticket purchases: Tickets and lessons must be purchased online prior to arrival. Boreal will use a phased arrival model that will allow for a limited number of visitors to arrive per hour. 
  • Cashless transactions: N/A
  • Face masks: Required in and around the resort, including parking lots, base areas, service areas, lift lines, while riding the lift and while indoors. Indoor lodge access will be Visitors will choose arrival time to access the resort, lodges, services and lifts. Guests with a valid ticket/pass will have access to lodge  and indoor facilities. Indoor break/warming areas will be available for 20 minute blocks.
  • Chairlifts: Limited to two riders per chair, however families or guests from the same household can ride the lift at full capacity together.

Homewood

  • Opening day: Dec. 11
  • Reservation required: No
  • Are season passes still available: Yes
  • Daily ticket purchases: Lift ticket sales will be capped each day. Tickets must be purchased online. Tickets purchased online will be available for pick-up at on-site kiosks. When purchasing a ticket, guests will be required to reserve a parking space. Season passholders won’t need to make a parking reservation.
  • Cashless transactions: Required
  • Face masks: Guests will be required to wear face coverings while in line and on lifts.
  • Chairlifts: Skiers and riders will be asked to self-group and ride lifts only with those they arrived with.

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows

  • Opening day: Nov. 25
  • Reservations required: No
  • Are season passes still available: Yes
  • Daily ticket purchases: Buy online in advance. Temporarily eliminating the sale of walk-up tickets except for midweek, but the resort will remain flexible on that.
  • Cashless transactions: Required
  • Face masks: Face coverings will be required
  • Chairlifts: Guests asked to self-group and load with people within their party. Exceptions are the Funitel and the Tram, which will be loaded at significantly reduced capacities. Guests can ask to ride chairlifts alone

Sierra at Tahoe

  • Opening day: N/A
  • Reservations required: No
  • Are season passes still available: Yes
  • Daily ticket purchases: Walk-up tickets offered on first-come, first-served basis.
  • Cashless transactions: N/A
  • Face masks: Masks will be required when loading and unloading lifts and in line.  Masks are required around the resort and in the lodgesChair lifts: Guests will be asked to self-group with members of their party.

Source: www.rgj.com

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