Even with everything that has happened in the past months, our commitment to providing a great skiing and riding experience has not wavered. We believe that getting out on the mountain is one of the best activities you can do this winter. The mountain is the perfect environment to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family or by yourself, while providing plenty of opportunity to social distance.
The health and safety of our guests and staff is our primary focus, and we will continue to follow the State of Vermont guidelines with regards to protocols and capacities. We expect that there will be changes to these plans throughout the season as we learn what does and does not work, but we are hopeful that the below information and protocols are a good starting point.
Operational Changes for the 20/21 Winter Season
Social Distancing Practices
To encourage social distancing, we ask that skiers and riders boot up in your car when possible, actively space out on the chairlift and mountain, and spend as much time as possible outdoors. While these changes will present us with a unique looking season, the Sugarbush team will be here to help along the way, as along with prominent signage around the resort.
The built-in protection of gloves, masks, and goggles that come naturally to us as skiers and riders is also a big plus. Of course, this will only work if we all follow the proper guidelines and stay committed to keeping our greater Sugarbush community safe.
Lift Tickets and Product Offerings
At this time, we will only be offering date-specific tickets this season, in an effort to control visitation on our peak days. This means we will not be offering products like the Quad Pack or the Four Pass this year. Unused Quad Packs from the 2019/20 season will valid through 12/24/20 but guests will be required to book the days they plan to use (more info on how to do that will be coming soon). Sugarbush specific passes, Ikon Passes, as well as the Ikon Session Pass 4-Day are going to be our priority this winter. At this time, season pass holders will not have any additional restrictions outside of what their pass would normally have. Those without a season pass can purchase online tickets in advance, when available. Ticket sales may be limited for certain days. Purchasing a season pass is the best way to access Sugarbush this winter, but those planning to purchase online tickets should do as soon as possible once they are put on sale this fall. Day tickets will be first come first served.
Opening Plans and Lift Protocol
We still plan to open on schedule, weather permitting, on Saturday, November 21st, with Mt. Ellen scheduled to open Friday, December 18th. We do not anticipate any adjustments to our snowmaking or lift operating plans, but we will be adjusting the way we load lifts. Different groups of guests will not be forced to sit together, and we do not plan to have a singles line this season. This means that you will be able to ride with only friends and family if you prefer, even if that does not fill the chair. So, while we are not reducing lift capacity, it is likely that lift efficiency will be affected if chairs are not fully loaded. With our spread out lift system and plan to limit overall skier capacity on certain days, guests could see an improved ski experience with less overall downhill traffic.
Changes and offerings for the Ski & Ride School will be announced soon, but we have made the difficult decision to not offer any group lessons or seasonal programs this season. Although we know how disappointing this will be to many of our guests, there is just not a great way to limit interaction between participants in these groups, many of whom will be from different households or bubbles. Private lessons will still be offered, and we are continuing to work on additional offerings as we plan through the fall.
Rentals and Demos
Our fleet of rental and demo products will continue to be offered, but all gear will need to be reserved and purchased online in advance. Specific pickup times for each reservation will be given to you in advance and we are currently looking into solutions to mitigate queue waiting to make this experience better.
Food and Beverage
We plan to significantly increase our food and beverage grab-and-go offerings throughout the resort, both at our current facilities and potentially new ones. Capacities in restaurants are going to be limited, but we do plan to offer sit down dining in some of our venues. Base lodges and retail outlets will also operate at a reduced capacity, and we are purchasing additional heaters and furniture to encourage guests to dine outdoors when possible.
Please continue to check back for more updates as we get closer to the season. Information will be updated as we continue to develop operational plans for the upcoming season. We look forward to welcoming you back on the slopes and appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Winter will be here before we know it!