Steamboat Resort releases details about 2020-21 ski season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After months of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. released details about the 2020-21 winter season Wednesday morning.
In a letter to the public, Ski Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Perlman said the resort is planning to open Nov. 21, but with some notable changes to keep guests and employees safe.
Some of the measures are things the resort has already implemented for its summer operations and ones people should be used to, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and requirements for face masks, social distancing and hand washing.
The letter comes two days after Steamboat Resort’s parent company, Alterra Mountain Co, made an announcement regarding operations at its worldwide conglomeration of ski areas. The company is focusing efforts on controlling visitation levels to avoid overcrowding as a way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Pass holders will receive priority for access at Steamboat Resort. As of now, they will not be required to make reservations, according to Ski Corp.
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“We are going to do everything in our power to make sure our Steamboat season pass holders and Ikon Pass holders are able to access the mountain,” Perlman said.
For people without a season pass, Ski Corp. also is offering scheduled vacation packages. This includes any bundle of a lift ticket with one or more products, such as lodging, equipment rentals or airfare. People who purchase a package before Nov. 2 will be able to schedule their vacation on their desired dates, Perlman said.
The ski area cannot guarantee guests will be able to reserve specific dates after Nov. 2, he cautioned, particularly during peak periods. For instance, if people want to book a trip during a holiday, they should do so before Nov. 2.
Steamboat Resort is not currently offering standalone lift tickets, Perlman said, but that could change during non-peak periods.
Walk-up window sales and undated lift tickets will not be available at any Alterra-owned ski area, according to the company’s announcement. The goal of these measures is to avoid congestion, Perlman emphasized.
To ease customers’ minds amid pervading uncertainty, Steamboat Resort implemented a new refund policy to provide more flexibility with booked trips. For more information, visit steamboat.com/plan-your-trip/2020-2021-worry-free-vacation-policy.
Alterra also has Adventure Assurance, which allows skiers and riders who purchased an Ikon Pass for the 2020-21 winter season to defer the pass until the next season “for any reason, with no fee.”
Another notable change at Steamboat Resort this winter is on-mountain dining. All lodges and restaurants will be reconfigured to allow more space between tables, according to the letter from Ski Corp., and officials are exploring ways to provide contactless ordering and payment systems.
Ragnar’s and Four Points will not offer night dining, Perlman said, mostly because there is no safe way to transport people to those restaurants without getting too close to others. Reservations will be required for all other night dining, as well as daytime dining at Ragnar’s, Hazie’s, Stoker and Timber & Torch.
Reservations will be necessary for rental equipment and ski and snowboard lessons. Equipment rentals will operate with specific fitting times. Private lessons will be limited to no more than five students. Group lessons will be limited to half-day sessions with five students per instructor.
For children age 2 to 4, private lessons will have a maximum of two students. Child care and group lessons will not be available for children younger than 5, according to Ski Corp.
While these measures will drastically change people’s ski area experience this winter, Perlman said the precautions are meant to keep people safe and keep the ski area open.
“We need our guests to understand things won’t be the same as they have been in the past,” Perlman said.
The resort worked with industry partners Alterra, National Ski Areas Association and Colorado Ski Country USA as well as state and local government to determine best practices for operating during the era of COVID-19.
Last winter, Steamboat Resort closed its downhill operations on March 15 due to the pandemic, just hours before Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order suspending all downhill ski operations.
Other ski resort companies are making similar changes this winter. Vail Resorts, which offers the Epic Pass, also will prioritize pass holders. It plans to implement a reservation system for ski area access, according to the company. Walk-up tickets will not be available. Vail expects to open on Nov. 20.
The new protocols at Steamboat Resort will be a shared responsibility, Perlman said. Guidelines may change through the season, and the resort will be ready to adapt as necessary, he added. Perlman hopes people will respect the changes and be patient with staff.
“We are all in this boat together,” he said. “We need everyone’s help so we can stay open and people can enjoy skiing and riding at Steamboat Resort.”
The resort will continue to release information regarding the upcoming winter season. To stay up to date on the latest developments, visit steamboat.com/trailforward.
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