Planning Your 2020-21 Ski & Ride Time At Winter Resorts In Colorado

Posted on November 16, 2020 by BWBacon. Tagged: For Candidates, Colorado Culture, For Clients

When Colorado winter resorts closed their lifts, ending the 2019-2020 ski season early, the Colorado outdoors community was heartbroken. While entirely necessary for public health, all of us hoped that by the time the 2020-21 ski season rolled around, winter resorts in Colorado would have a plan so mountain enthusiasts could enjoy their favorite winter pastime carving out the slopes.

If you’ve put making your ski reservations on the back-burner because the new systems are complicated and time-consuming, we understand! We also feel like a crisp bluebird day with 10 inches of fresh powder is worth the effort of figuring it all out. That’s why we put together this post to clarify what winter resorts are requiring ski reservations, the best way to make one, and tips to start shredding here in Colorado.

What You Need To Know About Skiing & Boarding This Year

First of all, safely enjoying skiing this year is also about being responsible. Officials in Colorado are doing everything they can to avoid another shutdown. This requires the coordination and cooperation of the people that live here to take a deep breath, and follow the guidelines the winter resorts have worked on for months to keep us all healthy.

Expect delays, and limits on the number of people allowed onto the mountain. Nearly every winter resort is limiting their daily tickets, and putting some sort of system in place to accommodate for social distancing between parties. They are also limiting the number of people that go inside facilities like restaurants and restrooms. So be patient, stick with your party, wear a face covering, respect others’ space, and let’s keep the mountains open together.

How Different Winter Resorts Are Approaching Safety

Vail Resorts

Opening Day: Keystone- Already Open (Nov. 6), Breckenridge Ski Resort- Nov. 13, Vail- Nov. 20, and Beaver Creek- Nov. 25.


  • We’ve all heard about the new reservation system that will prioritize Epic Pass holders, and is meant to limit guest numbers so everyone has reasonable space at the resort. And yes, that means Pass Holders have to have a reservation before showing up. The remaining available tickets each day will be online only, and based on how many pass holders reserve a spot.
  • Some have been critical of Vail Resort’s decisions when approaching the 2020-21 season, but as it stands, only Epic Pass holders will have access to Vail Resort mountains through December 7th. After the “core” season starts, pass holders will also be given priority reservation days before lift tickets go on sale to the public.
  • What are priority reservation days? Basically, pass holders will be able to lock-in seven “priority reservation days” for the season between Dec. 8 and Apr. 4. Another day can be reserved when one of the days is used. In this way, Epic pass holders hold onto a “reserve” of seven days rolling through the season. The window to reserve is through December 7th until the company starts selling one-day lift tickets. All the details on making reservations for Epic Pass holders can be found here.


  • “Guests will be required to wear face coverings on mountains and in every area of resort operations, including lift lines, on lifts and in gondola cars. Only related parties (guests skiing or riding together) will be loaded together on lifts, with exceptions: Two unrelated parties will be allowed to load on four-person chairlifts, seated on opposite sides of the chair; two unrelated singles or pairs will be allowed to sit on opposite sides of six-person chairs; two singles will be allowed to sit on opposite sides of gondola cabins.

Arapahoe Basin

Opening Day: A-Bay is open! (As of November 12th)


  • If you are an A-Basin season pass holder, you will not be required to make a reservation, but sales of passes will be limited. As for Ikon Pass holders, reservations will be required through their website starting November 9th. Single day tickets will still be sold at A-Basin. Throughout the season you must purchase your tickets online as there will be no onsite ticket sales.


  • From A-Basin’s website a few guidelines include: Wear a face covering unless you are skiing/riding or eating. Rentals, lessons, and the learning hill are not open and will not be available for several weeks.
  • A-Basin’s famous “Beach” will be closed all season, no tailgating will be allowed this year.
  • Strap up your gear at your car as lockers and on-site gear storage are also closed.
  • Visits inside are for purchasing food or using the restroom only.
  • Their shuttle service will not be running this season.
  • Get more info here at A-Basin’s page on what to expect

Copper Mountain

Opening Day: Expected to open November 30th


  • Copper Mountain is taking a different approach to keeping guests safe by implementing an entirely new reservation-based parking system. Copper is not requiring reservations for skiing and riding, but it will reduce crowds by keeping inventory through this new system. As the parking reservations apply to pass holders and single-day ticket buyers alike, they have an entire FAQ page with a short video to explain how it works. You can find that info here.



Opening Day: Loveland Ski Resort is open!


  • Yet another different approach, smaller mountain Loveland will not be required for skiing and riding, but they will be necessary for lessons and rentals. On busy days, single-day ticket sales will be limited and only sold online.


  • While their website says there is much to figure out, Loveland has laid out a few guidelines for guests skiing this season:
  • Social distancing is required in lift lines. Guests will not be required to ride on a chairlift with people outside of their party. Individuals not from the same party may ride a chairlift together with a minimum of one seat separating them.
  • Face coverings will be required in lift mazes and on lifts. Hand coverings (gloves/mittens) will be required on all chairlifts.


Opening Day: Steamboat will open on December 1st for the 2020-21 season.


  • Right now, Steamboat Resort officials are not planning to start a reservation system. However, only with a package purchase of lodging or ski school can you get lift tickets. There are no walk-up ticket sale options for now.

Winter Park

Opening Day: Unfortunately, WP officials just decided to push their opening date, and have not named a new date for opening yet.


  • For Winter Park resort, resort officials say they are not putting a reservation system in place “at this time,” but also said that could change. In addition to regulating daily lift ticket sales, WP resort has a long list of procedures to operate the mountain safely this year. Not unlike other winter resorts, they are counting on guests to stay with their parties and wear a face covering.


  • Get all of your questions about Winter Park/ Mary Jane answered at their page.

Remember Why We’re Here

Phew! That was a lot of information. To see the few resorts we didn’t cover in this post, check out this list. One thing we know is despite the challenges, we are happy a ski season is happening at all this year. Local health officials will continue to monitor the situation, but many have said it will take the cooperation of the public to see if winter resorts can stay open.

Officials in Summit, Eagle, and other counties have also expressed concern that with more steps in the process to ski at the resorts, more people will head towards public land. This increases the risk for avalanches and injury, as conditions are inconsistent in other regions outside of the resorts. Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center have launched an effort making virtual training classes available to educate folks on respecting Colorado’s wilderness and riding safely in the backcountry.

Ultimately, this ski season may be more complicated than grabbing your gear and driving up I-70 for a half-day of runs. As a local, I know this year gave me a new perspective on a sport I will never take for granted again. Here’s to hitting the slopes as safely as we can!

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!