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  1. #1
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    Default UT / CO parents...how are the slopes with Covid this season?

    Our family is contemplating a ski trip out west. Sounds crazy, right? Well a few months ago we would have NEVER considered such a thing, but all 5 of us recently had Covid. I'm happy we made it through okay, but now that we supposedly have more natural immunity for 3 months, we were thinking of going over our spring break in March.

    I am curious to know what it's like on the slopes as far as crowds, lift line wait times, and social distancing etc. I'm assuming that the food is pre-ordered and served outside? For that reason alone I would love to find a place with ski in ski out so we can just pop in our room for lunch and then go back out. I always like the nice break of being in warmth for an hour.

    I also noticed lift tickets at the more popular resorts like Park City, Vail, Breck, etc to be a fortune. I'm not sure if it has been like that in the past few years but we had been out west about 5 years ago and I don't remember them being so ridiculously expensive. A lot of running $180 a day, is this the norm? Or have they raised prices because they are not letting as many people on the slopes?

    Flights are super cheap, lift tix are super expensive. We might even consider skiing at some of the more local resorts or places like Solitude, Brighton, etc.

    Any info appreciated!!
    Marcy

    DD1 2003
    DD2 2005
    DD3 2009

  2. #2
    mmsmom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    We have not skies on CO/UT this year but did go to a place driving distance for us. They limited lift tickets but they were at capacity each day and I felt the lift lines were long. I will say though we usually ski at off times and during the week so I don’t have a reference as to weekend lift lines pre-Covid. We did a ski in/ski out so we could stop in for lunch and we were never inside at the ski resort except for bathrooms and picking up rentals. It worked out well but it meant more meal planning/prep/cooking so more work for me.

    I also think it is more crowded with better conditions. I think most places are limiting daily sales of lift tickets but those with passes can still come when they want. So if conditions are good expect a lot of local pass holders will show up.

    We were last at Breck 2 years ago and I think those lift ticket prices you are seeing are in line with what they have been. They may be a little higher but not much. I think we got 4 or 5 day Icon or Epic passes which were much less than paying daily rate. Usually there is at least some kind of multi-day ticket/rental package that makes it a little more reasonable. I would just say make sure everything is booked/reserved ahead of time as you will not be able to add anything at the last minute- it will all be sold out.

  3. #3
    marinkitty is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I'll chime in even though my only skiing this year has been in Big Sky (so Montana, not CO or UT) because we spent winter break at our house there, but some of it will be applicable.

    We skied 10 days at winter break. I would DEFINITELY recommend ski-in, ski-out. I wouldn't go without it this year, myself. Especially after spending two weeks in a ski town at Christmas/New Year's. I think a ski trip would be logistically very difficult without a home base that didn't require a car this year. The easiest and safest way to ski right now is to eat all your meals at the house and ski in for lunch and then back out. That's what we did and with that, you don't have base congestion, dining issues, bathroom issues etc.

    Lift tickets will need to be purchased ahead of time or you risk them selling out. The week between Christmas and New Year's every single day was sold out ahead of time in Big Sky. That takes into account capacity restrictions, so the mountain itself never felt crowded, but sometimes lift lines did jam up a bit depending on where you were and what time of day it was. It is also a low snow year almost everywhere, which is jamming people into less terrain than would normally be open. Ticket prices were the same as always. (We have season passes, but if you did buy it wasn't more this year than normal.)

    At least at Big Sky, there are two lift line choices - you can choose the ride with anyone line or the ride only with your own party line. We did the latter and rode only with our own group and didn't take the tram at all while we were there this time. It felt very safe and easy, but lift lines did get a big more congested than normal at times (peak times like 10:30-12). Big Sky in general is a VERY uncrowded resort, so I assume that somewhere like Steamboat, Vail or Park City would be way more crowded because they normally are in non-Covid times. A normal wait in Big Sky is 5-10 minutes tops at peak time. This year were waited up to 30 minutes a few times (usually one long line per day). For Big Sky, the jam ups at lifts were unprecedented but avoidable - we'd go ski elsewhere and then come back at a less peak time and not have a wait. Even when there was a line, it was spaced well, they enforced masks and distance kind of naturally happens with skis on. But, once you know where you want to go, I'd do some intel to see if it is worse where you are thinking of going. I think about the normal 30 minute llines at some of the CO resorts and how those might get impacted by the dual line system or not fully loading lifts/no singles lines and it might start really impact the quality of your ski day or your comfort level with how long you are around others.

    The dining on mountain was much more limited than normal. We didn't use it and didn't even go inside to a public restroom as we could easily pop in and out of the house, but we know people who did and they said it took more planning than usual to find food, time it so you weren't in a crowd, find a comfortable place to eat etc. That's why I'd steer clear and just pack snacks and plan to eat meals at the rental house. Some of our friends who don't have on mountain homes brought coolers, camp chairs and even small fire pits/heaters and did parking lot tailgate lunches. That's definitely an option but a lot more work!

    Once you factor these logistics into it, I will say skiing felt totally normal other than the lift lines. It was wonderful! We stuck together as a group way more than normal because riding as a four pack was less uncomfortable than taking up a six chair lift for one or two. I did ski alone one afternoon after the kids went in and I rode a six chair with another person at the opposite end a couple of times, but wasn't forced to - I just felt like it was enough space and we all stayed masked on the lift. Many times I was on a four person chair as a single just because Big Sky tends not to be super crowded and my sense was a lot of people are skiing shorter days right now to avoid going in and out from home after lunch. We did ski less hours per day than normal - we'd go out at 9:30 or 10 and ski till 1:30 or 2 and then come in for the day because home does tend to draw you in more than a quick lunch stop on mountain.

    My only other piece of advice would be not to plan to eat out or get take out much. The number of dine out options or even take out options are limited this year and more people than ever are trying to order and pick up food to go. We'd been warned before we arrived so we didn't try it at all, but apparently pizza pick up times were running two hours to sorry we can't fit you in tonight. We did a huge grocery pick up and then I pre-arranged catering that was dropped off in one delivery that made it really easy to toss a hot lunch in a crock pot for mid-day or pop dinner in the oven (things like tortilla soup, breakfast casserole, chili, lasagna, baked mac and cheese). It was a life saver and if you don't want to be on cook and clean duty all week I'd recommend that. We are going back at spring break and I'm definitely going that route again.
    Last edited by marinkitty; 01-26-2021 at 02:09 PM.

  4. #4
    PunkyBoo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    My parents ski in Utah every year, they have a ski in/ski out timeshare for 3 weeks. They cancelled this year's trip. They did a bunch of research and found that both the condos and the resort are not doing enough to make them feel comfortable with the covid risks. I don't think Utah has had near as many restrictions as some other states (I'm in southern California which is very restrictive). Granted my dad is almost 80 (yes he still skis some black diamonds!) so he decided his age makes the covid risk higher.

    I haven't skied in years but I wouldn't be at all surprised with how expensive lift tickets are.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk

    Mama to DS1 Punkin (2/04) and DS2 Boo (1/09)

  5. #5
    smilequeen is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    We went at Thanksgiving and will be going again in March. We go to Beaver Creek in CO which is generally less crowded than Vail or Breck and part of the reason we go there, even without Covid.

    Lines were normal, but they were strict about masking. Main reason they are more normal is no lift sharing, so fewer people due to ticket restrictions but slightly longer waits. We were able to keep our distance but I would say others might not have been as careful. In general, I find that distancing is up to me. It’s quite hard to violate it with skis on.

    Ski-in/out is our norm, but now, it’s the only way I’d do it. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in transportation (which they were limiting and requiring you to use an app to reserve, but still, I wouldn’t want to share at all) and we ate all meals and used the bathrooms at our place. They did have more outdoor options, and again, reservations to eat, but we chose not to. Our place has a ski valet so you pick up and drop off skis outside...so no ski lockers to deal with. We felt as safe as possible.
    Mama to my boys (04,07,11)

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    We havenít been skiing this year and we probably wonít go, but I have been daydreaming about going.
    Most ski areas have live webcams. I looked recently because I was wondering about crowds this year too. Things looked quieter to me in general.

  7. #7
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    My brothers family lives in a UT ski town. They have been skiing a lot this winter and are very COVID cautious, so I imagine that is a sign that the resort is doing a good job with precautions. I don’t know whether that says much about how much of a hassle it is if it’s meant to be your vacation, but as a local with passes they are out a fair amount.
    momma to DD 12/08 & DS 3/13

  8. #8
    basil is online now Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Haven't been out west this year. Was supposed to go in February but for us, wasn't worth it considering my non-vaccinated family members would be stressed plus all the stuff like restaurants not being open etc and not worth the price. I think those ticket prices are just what those places cost, pandemic or not.

    Have skied in MA. One weekend we rented a place on the slope and it was nice to go in for lunch. Another weekend they were sold out and we got a place about 0.5 m away. We drove home for lunch. It was kind of a pain, but better than not skiing at all. I think the lodge was open with reservations, so if you are ok w indoor dining considering your family's probable immunity, you may be able to do that for lunch. You probably have to check resort by resort though.

    In MA (Berkshires), things have been pretty crowded and often selling out due to reduced capacity. Lift lines are long due to loading chairs at 50% capacity. New England has weird quarantine/testing rules between states that don't make a whole lot of sense (I can drive 3 hours to Western mass without quarantine, I can drive 2 hours to NH but need to quarantine coming home, I can't drive 2.5 hours to VT without a quarantine and a neg test, etc.). So that affects the resorts here and their relative crowds a lot.

    I'm jealous of marinkitty's Big Sky place
    DS- 8/11
    DD- 5/14

  9. #9
    bcafe is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Ticket prices have indeed increased. The lines are not bad when it is not a holiday or popular date. Masks are enforced and the lines are decent given that families are riding together and others need to be "welcomed" to ride with a family. Everyone seemed very respectable and accommodating, given the unusual circumstances. I believe skiers/boarders are just thankful to be out getting fresh mountain air, exercising, and loving the sport.

  10. #10
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    Thank you marinkitty! I wasn't considering MT but flights are way cheaper than usual so this could be an option. Thanks so much.
    Marcy

    DD1 2003
    DD2 2005
    DD3 2009

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