Due to COVID-19, we’re changing a few things around here. Read up before you go.
The good news? Skiing and riding will still happen this winter. But it’s going to look a little different than you’re used to. This year, we’ll be following state and local health guidelines for best practices to keep our guests, staff, and community safe from COVID-19. As a result, we’re making some changes on our end—you’ll see new policies and signage around the mountain—and we’re asking you to do a few things differently, too. Here’s what you need to know.
1. This is the Winter you Plan Ahead
While we’re not currently requiring reservations for Ikon Pass holders and Mountain Collective pass holders, those buying day lift tickets will need to book in advance. Before you go, in addition to checking the weather and snow forecast and lift operation status, you’ll also want to check for parking updates and any other important notifications we’ve issued. The best way to do that? Download the Squaw Alpine app to stay up to date. You can also check our social media for the latest: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or Mtn Ops Twitter.
2. How to Ski If You Don’t Have a Pass
This season, we’re eliminating walk-up lift tickets sold at the window, so if you don’t have a season pass, you need to book your ticket online in advance to reserve a spot. We expect tickets to primarily be available midweek, but things could change throughout the season. Guests who book a ski or snowboard school lesson, rentals or demos, or book lodging at The Village at Squaw Valley will have priority access to tickets.
3. Face Coverings Required
All guests will need to wear a face covering with two or more layers indoors and outdoors where distancing can’t be achieved. That means lodges, shops, shuttle busses, and all lifts. Face coverings are not required while eating or drinking, but we ask that you please leave masks on while waiting for your food and put them back on when you’re done eating. If you need a mask, many of our local shops sell them.
4. Lift lines May Look Long Because of Social Distancing
Don’t be alarmed if you see a long line at the bottom of KT-22 or Summit chair. We’ll be loading chairs at reduced capacities and we’ll be rearranging our lift mazes to have wider, longer lanes and adding signage to encourage social distancing. Remember to give a ski’s length of distance between you and your neighbors. You’ll still get to ski, so be patient with us as we work through this process.
5. You’ll Be Asked to Self-Group when Riding the Lifts
You’ll be loading lifts with the group you came with. The only exception? The Funitel and the Aerial Tram at Squaw Valley, which will be operating at reduced capacities and with face coverings required. If you’re skiing or riding solo, plan to ride chairs alone or to sit on opposite ends of bigger chairs.
6. You’ll Spend Much of the Day Outside
Due to capacity limits in our lodges, popping inside for a hot chocolate or lunch won’t be quite as simple as it once was. To-go orders will be available at some establishments. We’ll be moving some dining outside, with expanded deck seating and outdoor heaters and fire pits at the Alpine Meadows Base Lodge, Gold Coast Lodge, and KT Base Bar. The best thing you can do? Dress warm enough to spend most of your day outside. If you need an extra layer or essential storm day gear, our retail shops have you covered there.
7. Come During Off Times
We’ll let you in on a little secret: The mountain is considerably less crowded midweek and in the afternoons. If you’re able to, consider readjusting your schedule to avoid peak times like weekends and mornings. Show up after 1 p.m., and you’ll likely score a parking spot right up front and be treated to shorter lines. Or come on a Tuesday afternoon instead of a Saturday morning, for example, and you’ll help us spread people out throughout the week and enjoy a much more relaxed vibe.
8. Be Patient on Storm Days
We know, it’s hard to wait when 12 inches of new snow have fallen overnight. But we’re asking that you bear with us during storm cycles: COVID-19 procedures will inevitably slow down our mountain operations teams. Case in point: Ski patrollers must also mind capacity limits on uphill transport, so it’ll take them longer to get their job done safely. (And we really don’t want to rush that process.) As always, we will do our best to communicate the latest operational updates so you know what to expect.
9. What Dining Will Look Like
Yes, you can still grab a bite to eat during and after your ski day. But it’ll look a little different this year, with more outdoor dining, more grab-and-go options, and more people posting up at their cars with a brought-from-home picnic. Make a plan ahead of time: Pack a cooler and some blankets in your car, check out our restaurants that offer online ordering or wear an extra layer to dine outside.
10. You Will Still Have Fun
This pandemic has been hard on everyone. We want to provide you with a place to escape all of that, a place where you can still have fun in the fresh mountain air with your friends and family. We want to be able to open the mountain to you each and every day, so please, stick with us as we get through these tough times together. You do your part and we’ll do ours and we can ride this thing out together.