Should You Buy a Ski Pass This Year?

Should You Buy a Ski Pass This Year?

What to Consider Before Buying a Ski Pass For the 2020-2021 Season

The 2019-2020 ski season was cut short in March when the COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders forced most ski resorts to close early. Despite the ongoing pandemic, most ski resorts plan on reopening for the 2020-2021 season. But in a year of unpredictability, is it wise to purchase a ski pass? Here’s what you need to know before you decide.

Reservation requirements

Part of the thrill of purchasing a ski pass is being able to hit the slopes spontaneously. However, this may not be possible for ski pass holders this year. 

Many ski resorts are requiring ski pass holders to make reservations in advance to manage crowds and comply with social distancing guidelines. 

Make sure you understand how reservations work before purchasing a ski pass. How many spots are available per day? How far in advance will you need to reserve your spot? Can you upgrade your ski pass to get guaranteed access? The answers to these questions will help you determine if you should purchase a ski pass. 

If planning a skip trip doesn’t appeal to you, it may not be worth it to purchase a ski pass this year.

Indoor restrictions

The base lodge, bars and restaurants in a ski resort are typically buzzing with activity during the ski season. This year, there are certain restrictions on indoor activities that could take the fun out of your trip to the ski lodge.

For example, restaurants and bars may need to comply with indoor dining occupancy limits, which could lead to longer wait times. 

Some ski resorts are also not allowing guests to enter the base lodge to put on their gear before hitting the slopes. Instead, these resorts are asking guests to use their vehicle as a base lodge for putting on their equipment.

The new restrictions could change the entire ski resort experience, so it’s important to keep potential policy changes in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase a ski pass this year.

Refund options

There’s no telling when the government could issue another lockdown or stay-at-home order to control the COVID-19 pandemic. If this occurs, ski resorts around the country may be forced to close down in the middle of the ski season. Before buying a ski pass, make sure you ask whether or not you will receive a refund if this happens. 

You should also find out whether you can receive a refund if you change your mind about making the trip to a ski resort during the pandemic. Some ski resort operators offer “adventure assurance,” which is the opportunity to convert unused 2020-2021 ski passes into 2021-2022 ski passes. Having this option reduces the risk of purchasing a ski pass during this unpredictable season.

Availability of activity

Ski resorts may need to limit the number of activities available to guests to meet specific COVID-19 safety guidelines. Be sure to ask for a full list of activities that will be available at each resort before purchasing a ski pass. This way, you won’t experience the disappointment of arriving at a ski resort only to find that your favorite activity is not available.

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