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Ski resorts lay out plans for the pandemic this year

The 2021-22 ski season will be the industry’s third season operating around COVID-19 precautions.

COLORADO, USA — The weather is (sort of) cooling off, the leaves are beginning to turn, and the high country enjoyed a light dusting of snow this week.

As Colorado transitions from summer to fall – another season is fast approaching: Ski season!

9News is collecting information about Colorado ski areas and how each plans to adjust to pandemic precautions this year. This list will be updated as we gather new or additional information.

VAIL RESORTS

(Including Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek and Crested Butte)

Visitors to Vail Resorts properties will not have to use a mountain reservation system this year, and the company says lifts and gondolas will operate at normal capacity. Face coverings will only be required for indoor settings. Visitors are not required to show proof of vaccination to ski or ride at the resorts, or to ride lifts and gondolas.

Visitors dining at indoor, quick-service restaurants (like on-mountain cafeterias) will be required to make a reservation and show proof of vaccination (ages 12+). Vaccinations are not required for outdoor restaurants or indoor full-service restaurants.

Vail Resorts will require all employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Nov. 15.

ARAPAHOE BASIN

Arapahoe Basin announced all employees are required to be vaccinated by Nov. 2. Any newly hired employees have six weeks from their start date to get vaccinated. In a blog post this week, A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth said about 90% of employees are already vaccinated.

"Our intention is to protect the safety and well-being of our employees and guests and to keep our business open, viable and sustainable. By requiring vaccinations, we will reduce the chance of employees transmitting and contracting the disease as well as reduce the amount of business interruption caused by employee absences related to illness and quarantines," Henceroth wrote on his blog.

Currently, A-Basin has no COVID-related restrictions for guests. There are no capacity limits and no reservation system this year. A-Basin recommends unvaccinated guests wear a mask indoors.

The company says it is selling 10% fewer unrestricted season passes this year and will limit daily lift ticket sales to “reduce crowding and overall guest experience.”

ALTERRA MOUNTAIN COMPANY

(Includes Steamboat Springs and Winter Park Resort)

Alterra Mountain Company has not yet released information about COVID-19 protocols for this season.

A spokesperson for Alterra says its “currently assessing all possible measures to help ensure the health and safety of our guests and employees while offering the best experience possible for winter 21/22,” and plans to have more information soon.

LOVELAND SKI AREA

A spokesperson for Loveland Ski area the company has not yet finalized operational plans for the upcoming season.

COPPER MOUNTAIN SKI AREA

A spokesperson for Copper Mountain ski area said the company is still finalizing COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming season

EL DORA MOUNTAIN RESORT

A spokesperson for Eldora Mountain Resort said vaccinations are strongly encouraged for all staff members, and staff will receive paid time off to get their vaccines and recover, if necessary.

A spokesman said El Dora is also working on a plan following a federal mandate announced earlier this month.

"We are aware of the recent proposed federal rule requiring employers with more than 100 employees to require employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and will be working internally to determine how best to operationalize this requirement."

MONARCH MOUNTAIN

Monarch Mountain is requiring employees who work indoors to be fully vaccinated. Monarch said 100% of the administrative team and the ski-patrol team already are. Employees who work outdoors who have not shown proof of vaccination will have to wear a mask indoors as well as submit to weekly testing.

Monarch is not planning to set capacity restrictions on the mountain, but strongly encourages visitors to ski on less busy weekdays and avoid weekends and holidays when possible.

The company will not require guests to show proof of vaccination or wear a face covering, but strongly recommends masks indoors.

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