Call for questions: Vail Resorts properties
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Scott - DCSki Editor
4 months ago
Member since 10/10/1999
1,113 posts

Earlier, I published a story about some of the new policies that will be in place this winter for Vail Resorts properties, including Mid-Atlantic Resorts Roundtop, Liberty, Whitetail, Big Boulder, and Jack Frost.  There has been a lot of change at these resorts due to their new ownership, and of course COVID is driving a lot of changes this winter, such as a new reservation system.  This makes for a somewhat confusing time.

If you have any questions about these resorts, the pass products that will be offered, and how the upcoming season will work, please feel free to post them below.  Vail Resort's Jamie Storrs has offered to help answer questions readers may have, so I'll incorporate your questions and answers from Jamie into an upcoming story.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 01/14/2004
2,670 posts

I just have a few dumb questions and haven't looked at the new rules of the game under covid.

If I have a full epic pass can I just show up at Whitetail, Liberty or Roundtop on a random weekday and expect to ski right on to the slopes?  What about a weekend?  Same questions if I show up at one of their destination resorts in the Rockies?  When do I need reservations if I hold a full epic pass?  do the answers change if I have a local variation of the epic pass rather than the full pass?

Oops, I should go read your Aug 28 article.  It might answer my questions?

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008
2,318 posts

One question that has come up recently because of what Powdr has done for Killington and Copper . . . will there be any limitations on parking?  Meaning would reservations for parking ever be considered?

During early season, if someone with an Epic pass wants to ski Mon-Thu how much in advance could they make a reservation?  For instance, could they reserve the 4 days on the Monday before?  Or do they have to wait until that Monday morning?

VaTech2k
4 months ago
Member since 02/13/2018
12 posts

I have a few questions pertaining to the local resorts.

-If I reserve a day and then cannot make it for some reason (ex. sick family member, weather related, etc), does that day go back into my 7 days or priority reservation days bucket after the day occurs?  Can I cancel/reschedule a priority reservation day before it occurs?

-Will Whitetail have their Whitetrailers program this season?

-We have had several slow starts to winter recently.  Will resorts like Whitetail have the same capacity if they can only open up a couple of their lifts?  If they cannot, how does this affect the reservation process?

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skiracerx
4 months ago
Member since 11/24/2008
226 posts

Awesome Scott:    Will the Night Tracker Program be suspended and will it return the following season?

I suspect the Night Tracker program will be suspened this season but I have no confirmation. It would be nice to know that if suspended the next season we are back on plan if all goes well pandemic wise. 

thanks Ed Fowler 

itdoesntmatter
4 months ago
Member since 01/17/2007
119 posts
Will there be a night skiing ticket available this year? The website recommends buying a pass even if skiing just one day. The cheapest pass is $109. I would not buy a lift ticket for $109 to ski 4 hours in the evening. I really hope there is a night ticket option.
cdeming
4 months ago
Member since 09/12/2020
2 posts

What about reservations for kids who normally ski free? I'm wondering if we have an epic pass, if our 6 year old will need one as well to guarantee certain dates.

skiracerx
4 months ago
Member since 11/24/2008
226 posts

I received an email from the manager. Said Night Tracker TBD to be determined and said buy a pass instead. 

I suspect they need numbers of reg pass holders and buddy passes to see the total populationn count to adjust for SD Social Distance.

Sept 17 is deadline.  The Nov 1 reservation goes on line and that will generate data. 

The financial report is due end of month for vail but cuts off July 31. I want to see pass compare to other years. 

ed

Scott - DCSki Editor
4 months ago
Member since 10/10/1999
1,113 posts

Thanks everyone for the questions!  You can find answers in this story that I just published.

UintaTerp
4 months ago
Member since 11/21/2019
5 posts

Nice job on the questions. 

I had a question that I had sent to Vail.  Essentially are they going to use caps on reservations (I would think so) and if so what will the limits be for each resort and will there be a tracker that displays numbers of reservations left for any given day (somethign similar to what PowMow does for lift tickets).  

Got a reply yesteday that they didn't have an answer to my question.  

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008
2,318 posts

UintaTerp wrote:

Nice job on the questions. 

I had a question that I had sent to Vail.  Essentially are they going to use caps on reservations (I would think so) and if so what will the limits be for each resort and will there be a tracker that displays numbers of reservations left for any given day (somethign similar to what PowMow does for lift tickets).  

Got a reply yesteday that they didn't have an answer to my question.  

The whole point of a reservation system is that people can see in advance how many spots are still available.  That was part of the system used in Australia for the three VR resorts.  I assume system that will be used for N. American is an enhanced version of that software.  The advantage VR has is that all the IT work is done in-house.

Vermont
one month ago (edited one month ago)
Member since 12/26/2019
174 posts

I hope Jamie Storrs is kind enough to explain why Hunter mountain didn’t open, lift tickets say how we take risks skiing etc etc etc so they saying they are staying closed for safety reasons is a bunch of crap in my opinion after 30 years knowing the business and having inside information, they make the average pass  holders  look like fools with the info or lack of they give

I see some vail apologists saying they need time for the snow they blow to “cure” wtf?? They should have let pass holders ski instead they have a backlog of people waiting to ski

not opening until Wednesday why Jamie? Because they can sell tickets to general public showing how they prevented pass holders from trashing snow so they can spend new money to ski Wednesday, I wish I could have ask Jamie some questions then your readers would be blown away, I don’t think he should have been let off so easy in the interview Jamie gave, come man show up and be accountable 

rbrtlav
one month ago
Member since 12/2/2008
500 posts

I’ve been trying to give vail the benefit of the doubt... but here is what I’m seeing now

Whitetail has not made snow the last several nights, and although not optimal conditions I’m pretty sure weather would have allowed for 4+ hours. It was 26 in Montgomery county md this am

Liberty and roundtop cameras have been offline for several days now.

All 3 resorts have been unusually silent on social media. 

In previous years roundtop has opened with 1-2 nights of snowmaking, and big Boulder has opened with 1. 

I realize this isn’t a normal year... but some commitment to at least one of the southern pa resorts would be nice.

RodneyBD - DCSki Supporter
one month ago
Member since 12/21/2004
166 posts
If you visit the Liberty website, it doesn't say they are open... and it doesn't say they are closed.  It actually has zero info on whether the mountain is or will be open.  Neat trick. 
bob
one month ago (edited one month ago)
Member since 04/15/2008
683 posts

You can get an idea of when Vail properties will be open by trying to buy  lift tickets. The calendar will tell you that

You can buy a lift ticket to ski at Libery, Roundtop or Whitetail on December 18. 

Edit add: that is the first day available for sale at the three.

rbrtlav
one month ago (edited one month ago)
Member since 12/2/2008
500 posts

bob wrote:

You can get an idea of when Vail properties will be open by trying to buy  lift tickets. The calendar will tell you that

You can buy a lift ticket to ski at Libery, Roundtop or Whitetail on December 18. 

Edit add: that is the first day available for sale at the three.

 The interesting thing is if you go through the reservation system you can’t make reservations for Liberty/whitetail/roundtop until January 1

snapdragon
one month ago
Member since 01/27/2015
152 posts
The only thing a calendar is good for is telling what day it is...no substantial snowmaking weather for the next 10 days in any of those parts...nothing like a short memo to the public like "Due to unfavorable snowmaking conditions we will not be opening this weekend.  The next 10 days will have limited opportunities to make snow but our mountain operations crew will work diligently to get the mountain open for skiing once Mother Nature cooperates.  Stay safe and hope to see you on the slopes soon!"  Vail Management   
Scott - DCSki Editor
one month ago
Member since 10/10/1999
1,113 posts

Had Whitetail announced an anticipated opening date?  In recent years it seems like they haven't been able to open until late December, or even early January in some cases.  They did start making some snow (webcam shot from 12/10 shown below), but with the milder weather there isn't much point in making snow for a couple hours even if temperatures dip low enough at night -- it'll likely just melt.  2-3 days of round-the-clock 20-degree temperatures are enough for those TechnoAlpin guns to open trails.  Nighttime temperatures should dip into the 20s during the middle of next week, but then will be back in the mid-40s during the day and above freezing later in the week, so I'm not sure they'll make another go at snowmaking.

I'm really curious to see how the PA travel restrictions play out for ski areas like Whitetail and Liberty, which get many (most?) of their customers (and many employees) from neighboring states.  This can't be a fun winter to manage a ski area, that's for sure.

1607640331_xewoeefsuqhg.jpg

VaTech2k
one month ago
Member since 02/13/2018
12 posts

In past years the former Snowtime resorts opened as soon as temps allowed.  Last year I did laps on Minuteman at Roundtop on 11/16, but then December was unseasonably warm and we did not get back out until January.  Several years ago, Whitetail was able to open the day after Thanksgiving in back to back years.  Unfortunately, it seems like those types events are few and far between these days due to warmer weather.  The good news is it looking like most evenings next week will be in the upper 20's so hopefully they can get a few trails open for winter break.

Whitetail is offering the Whitetrailers program for the kids this year in a modified version (half day sessions, no lunch).  I am guessing that they may have issues with ski instructor staffing given the travel restrictions.  

 

Scott wrote:

Had Whitetail announced an anticipated opening date?  In recent years it seems like they haven't been able to open until late December, or even early January in some cases.  They did start making some snow (webcam shot from 12/10 shown below), but with the milder weather there isn't much point in making snow for a couple hours even if temperatures dip low enough at night -- it'll likely just melt.  2-3 days of round-the-clock 20-degree temperatures are enough for those TechnoAlpin guns to open trails.  Nighttime temperatures should dip into the 20s during the middle of next week, but then will be back in the mid-40s during the day and above freezing later in the week, so I'm not sure they'll make another go at snowmaking.

I'm really curious to see how the PA travel restrictions play out for ski areas like Whitetail and Liberty, which get many (most?) of their customers (and many employees) from neighboring states.  This can't be a fun winter to manage a ski area, that's for sure.

1607640331_xewoeefsuqhg.jpg

dclivejazz
one month ago
Member since 03/5/2017
24 posts
Whitetail had announced their opening day would be 12/18 and a few weeks ago I was able to make a reservation for then.
rbrtlav
one month ago
Member since 12/2/2008
500 posts
Currently I have a reservation for the scheduled opening day of Friday the 17th. However at this point you can’t add any new reservations (I don’t have 7) or buy tickets until January 1 for any former snowtime resort
songfta
one month ago
Member since 05/10/2004
44 posts

Something to keep in mind is that many resorts - including Vail Resorts properties - are trying to open with more than just a trail or two at the ready. They want to try and prevent bottlenecks and trail crowding, so they likely won't do the WROD this season: they'll wait until they have at least two ways down per lift, if not more. 

The December 18 projected opening date was announced months ago by Vail Resorts, and it appeared on the L/W/R websites until VR did a stem-to-stern relaunch of their website with Epic and VR branding. But the December 18 date was known and is still the plan, even if it may not be entirely achievable.

And yes, all three of the former Snowtime areas blew snow earlier this week but the weekend's heat will melt most of it. The ground isn't that cold yet, so it's not entirely practical to lay down a blanket atop a warm, grassy base. That will insulate the warm ground and cause a bit of runoff underneath the base - not ideal. There may be some favorable weather mid-week next week, but then more warmth after the 20th. We shall see what transpires.

ZARDOG
one month ago
Member since 10/25/2020
34 posts
and then PA state will close for a few weeks for covid. 
rbrtlav
one month ago (edited one month ago)
Member since 12/2/2008
500 posts
Given the current forecast they are going to have a tough time not allowing epic coverage to take effect if they don’t open next weekend. They are looking at close to a foot of natural snow Tuesday-Wednesday and round the clock snowmaking. 
I’m willing to get tested and follow the rules... hopefully they will do their part.
rbrtlav
one month ago
Member since 12/2/2008
500 posts
Whitetail started making snow as soon as it hit freezing tonight. Mountain should look a bit different tomorrow 
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