What to Expect as Ski Areas Head Into Another Pandemic Season

In fact, many areas with only a few restaurants, like Utah’s Powder Mountain, didn’t even open their dining areas last winter. “We were very, very conservative,” said a Powder Mountain spokesman, JP Goulet. This season, indoor dining will take place once again at resorts across the board, with most at full capacity, though Powder Mountain will continue its conservative approach with limited seating. Other areas are counting on guests to take advantage of the increased outdoor dining options added last winter. Vail Resorts aims to reduce crowding by requiring skiers to book a slot at any of its on-mountain restaurants, up to 24 hours in advance, via an app introduced last season.

By also requiring proof of vaccination from those ages 12 and up to dine on-mountain, whether full-service or cafeteria-style, Vail Resorts has one of the most comprehensive safety policies (proof is not required to use restrooms). Taos, too, mandates that guests be vaccinated to eat at most resort-owned restaurants; skiers in Aspen will need to show proof of vaccination only at full-service dining spots on the mountains.

As for the staffers helping guests indoors, those working for employers like Vail Resorts, the Aspen Skiing Company and Snowbird, Utah, among others, must be vaccinated. At the very least, most ski areas that don’t require employee vaccinations will conduct regular testing.

Skiers can expect more caution at Canadian resorts. Even though proof of vaccination is required to enter the country, provincial health guidelines for Canadians and international travelers alike dictate many ski area policies this winter.

Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns Fernie Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse in British Columbia and Mont Sainte-Anne in Quebec, among others, announced that skiers (ages 12 or 13 and older, depending on the resort) will need to show proof of vaccination to ride the lifts, as did Quebec’s Tremblant (ages 13 and older).

Alberta resorts like Lake Louise, Mount Norquay and Banff Sunshine will require vaccination proof, or a recent negative test (P.C.R. and rapid test results accepted), not only to enter most indoor spaces and take ski lessons, but also to ride shuttles to the mountains.

Sun Peaks in British Columbia — along with Whistler Blackcomb, which is part of Vail Resorts — requires proof of vaccination to dine at restaurants. Meanwhile, Sun Peaks’ ski lessons will continue to operate at smaller-than-usual group sizes, and masking and physical distancing in lines and on lifts are still strongly encouraged.

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