Vail Resorts today announced the opening dates of its 34 North American resorts. If things go according to plan, Keystone in Colorado will be the first to host skiers and riders this winter. Vail's opening dates for the 2021-22 ski and riding season are subject to change due to weather, but right now they are in major planning mode.
Keystone plans to lead the pack thanks to recent investments in a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient snowmaking system. They weren't the only resort who benefitted from an influx of cash. Vail has been dumping a ton of money in snowmaking technology. In fact, 15 of the company’s North American resorts – including Breckenridge, Vail, Whistler Blackcomb and Okemo – are set to open for skiing and riding in November.
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The leaders at Vail are looking forward to helping skiers get back to normal. “We are thrilled to welcome guests back this season for a fantastic winter of outdoor fun across our portfolio of resorts,” said James O’Donnell, president of the mountain division of Vail Resorts. “As always, our goal is to provide a safe and memorable experience of a lifetime for our guests and employees, and to do everything we can to provide incredible skiing and riding all season long.”
Rockies & West Ski Season Opening Dates
Note: all dates are subject to change.
- October: Keystone (CO) – as early as possible, as weather and conditions permit. Read our Keystone review here.
- Nov. 12: Breckenridge (CO), Vail (CO)
- Nov. 19: Heavenly (CA), Northstar (CA), Park City (UT)
- Nov. 24: Beaver Creek (CO), Crested Butte (CO). Read our Beaver Creek review and our Crested Butte review.
- Nov. 25: Whistler Blackcomb (Canada)
- Dec. 3: Kirkwood (CA), Stevens Pass (WA)
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East Coast Ski Season Opening Dates
Note: all dates are subject to change.
- Nov. 19: Afton Alps (MN), Hunter (NY), Mt. Snow (VT), Stowe (VT), Wildcat (NH). Read our Mt. Snow review here.
- Nov. 20: Okemo (VT). Read our Okemo review here.
- Nov. 24: Mt. Sunapee (NH)
- Dec. 3: Attitash (NH), Crotched (NH), Jack Frost (PA), Mt. Brighton (MI), Wilmot (WI)
- Dec. 17: Big Boulder (PA), Liberty (PA), Roundtop (PA), Whitetail (PA)
- Dec. 18: Alpine Valley (OH), Boston Mills and Brandywine (OH), Hidden Valley (MO), Mad River (OH), Paoli Peaks (IN), Snow Creek (MO)
Safety Updates and COVID Protocols at Vail Resorts
Note: Vail says all safety protocols outlined in are subject to change based on the evolving nature of the pandemic as well as federal, state and local public health guidelines. Key details include:
- Mountain Access: Vail Resorts will not have a mountain reservation system this season and will load lifts and gondolas at normal capacity, optimizing guest movement around its resorts.
- Face Coverings: Face coverings will be required in indoor settings, including in restaurants, lodging properties, restrooms, retail and rental locations, and on buses. Face coverings will not be required outdoors, in lift lines, or on chairlifts or gondolas, unless required by local public health. (For example, Whistler Blackcomb requires face coverings on gondolas due to orders from the Provincial Health Authority of British Columbia).
- Dining – Reservations: Like last season, guests will be required to book a reservation to eat at many on-mountain restaurants. However, based on current regulations, the company is expecting significantly more seating and dining capacity than last season, and intends to open reservations one day prior, versus the day-of last season.
- Dining – Vaccinations: Guests will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to dine at indoor, on-mountain quick-service (cafeteria-style) restaurants. Proof of vaccination will be required for guests ages 12 and over at those locations. This requirement includes those guests 12 and over in ski and ride school programs that include lunch. More details on the verification process will be released ahead of the season on resort websites. Consistent with many other large-scale indoor activities and venues, Vail Resorts believes the vaccine requirement is important for the protection of its guests and employees, given the number of people using these facilities and the fact that guests will not be wearing face coverings while eating and drinking. This is currently the only part of the resort experience that will require proof of vaccination, unless required by local public health. (For example, Whistler Blackcomb requires proof of COVID-19 vaccinations in all indoor restaurants, restaurant patios and bars due to orders from the Provincial Health Authority of British Columbia).
- Employee Safety: All Vail Resorts employees will be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations for their safety and protection as well as the safety and protection of guests and resort communities, and in compliance with the recent rules announced under the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Indoor face coverings, enhanced hygiene practices, daily employee health screenings, and other health and safety measures will also continue.
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