What to expect as ski areas head into another pandemic season

In fact, many areas with only a few restaurants, like Powder Mountain in Utah, didn’t even open their dining rooms last winter. “We were very, very conservative,” Powder Mountain spokesperson JP Goulet said. This season, indoor dining will once again take place at all resorts, most at full capacity, although Powder Mountain maintains its conservative approach with limited seating. Other regions are counting on customers to take advantage of the increased outdoor dining options added last winter. Vail Resorts aims to reduce overcrowding by requiring skiers to reserve a slot at one of its mountain restaurants, up to 24 hours in advance, through an app introduced last season.

By also requiring proof of vaccination from age 12 to dine in the mountains, whether full service or cafeteria, Vail Resorts has one of the most comprehensive safety policies (proof is not required to use the toilet). Taos also requires that guests be vaccinated to eat at most restaurants belonging to the resort; Aspen skiers will be required to show proof of vaccination only at full service restaurants in the mountains.

As for employees who help guests indoors, those who work for employers like Vail Resorts, Aspen Skiing Company, and Snowbird, Utah, among others, need to be vaccinated. At the very least, most ski areas that do not require employee vaccinations will perform regular testing.

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

Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns the Fernie Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse in British Columbia and Mont Sainte-Anne in Quebec, among others, announced that skiers (aged 12 or 13 and over, depending on the resort) will need to show proof of vaccination to get on the ski lifts, just like the Quebecer Tremblant (13 years old and over).

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

Sun Peaks in British Columbia – as well as Whistler Blackcomb, which is part of Vail Resorts – requires proof of vaccination to dine at restaurants. Meanwhile, Sun Peaks ski lessons will continue to be held in smaller groups than usual, and masking and physical distancing in lines and on ski lifts are still strongly encouraged.

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