As the snowflakes continue to fall and the weather remains brisk, one thing is on the minds of most Park City residents and visitors: skiing. Hosting some of some top skiing resorts globally, Park City offers a once-in-a-lifetime mountain experience.
However, with the global pandemic raging and the country on high-alert, what changes have been made to your favorite winter activity? While the focus is on safety, skiers may experience a few unforeseen complications on the slopes this year.
The 411 You Need
To help you better prepare, we at Jensen and Company have compiled information about local ski resorts for this season, allowing you to make your trip a bit better this winter.
The way Utah resorts have shaped their approach to the 2020-21 season is varied amongst the resorts, but they all have in common a focus on safety. Some resorts now require reservations to ski, others to park, and still, others to eat. Some will only allow private lessons, while others are giving traditional ski school the green light.
One thing to be aware of this ski season is that it will be more challenging to get a reservation to ski and park (if necessary). The number of people wishing to ski is still very high, but reservations and parking options are often limited. It may be best to call ahead to the resort to get a better idea of a landscape before heading up to the mountain.
Fewer rooms will be available for skiers in lodges. And most restaurants have reduced capacities to comply with coronavirus restrictions. Because of this, it may be advisable to pack a lunch or dinner instead of waiting to eat (we all know how hungry you can get after a long day of skiing).
Park City Mountain
One of the most popular and most famous skiing destinations in Park City is Park City Mountain. In the summer of 2015, Park City Mountain Resort was combined with The Canyons, the mountain directly above it, creating the largest resort in the U.S. With a skiable area of 7,300 acres, 185 trails, and 41 lifts, it is often regarded as having some of the best slopes in the nation.
However, this year may be harder to ski Park City Mountain than most. An extra safety precaution has been added, requiring everyone, even their Epic Pass holders, to make an online reservation before allowing them on the mountain. This may be difficult as the online reservation system has a skier cap in place.
Daily reservations can be made up to a week in advance, and pass holders get seven rolling reservations good for any time during the season. Skiing lessons will be available at Park City Mountain with reservations, which count as on-mountain reservations.
There are no full-service bars, limited menus, reduced capacity in restaurants/lodges, and a cafeteria-style approach in Miner’s Camp and Summit House. Guests are allowed to bring food from home as well. The resort will handle cashless transactions only.
Alta and Snowbird
Alta and Snowbird resorts are open for business this year as well, although with a few restrictions. Alta is one of the oldest skiing resorts in the country, founded in 1939, and began to partner with Snowbird starting in 2002. They now offer joint passes to let skiers utilize both mountains.
Alta is one of three resorts in the U.S. that is a skiers only mountain (no snowboarding), while Snowbird has no restrictions. The two resorts are connected via lifts, and you can get a joint pass or individual one for each resort. With 26 ski lifts and 4,700 acres of skiable terrain, this is one of the world’s most desirable skiing destinations.
Alta has walk-up tickets currently, and a reservation is not required in advance. Skiing lessons are private only, and they do offer childcare with restrictions. Caps on skier numbers here are determined by the available parking spaces on the mountain.
Snowbird is instituting a reservation system for parking. Guests not taking the bus or staying at one of the lodges will have to claim a parking spot online or via a new app.
General manager Dave Fields said that the same app would alert people when the lot is nearly full so that they can avoid a fruitless trip up the canyon.
“If you empower people with information,” Fields said, “they can make choices instead of coming up here and finding out we’re full. That’s something we want to avoid.”
Snowbird’s famous tram, which usually carries about 100 people per car, will be reduced to 25. All passengers on the tram will have to wear masks — neck gaiters will not suffice.
Deer Valley is one of three ski resorts in the world that does not allow snowboarders. Opened in 1981, it is seen as more of a family-friendly resort for skiers of all skill levels.
Walk-up tickets are not available here, but reservations are also not required in advance. Skiing lessons are available with reservations, but only for those age six and under.
Groups on lifts are strictly limited, and singles will be required to group up. Reservations are required inside Snow Park, Silver Lake, Empire Canyon lodges, Royal Street Cafe, and full table service.
Heated tents will be set up outside Snow Park and Silver Lake lodges for grab & go eating. Skier caps will also be in effect, so make sure to book your ticket in advance if you can.
With all of these winter resorts open and ready for visitors, Park City remains a premier destination for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. For those looking to permanently stay in Park City, consider using Jensen and Company to find your perfect home in this beautiful mountain town.