Photography by Matt Power
Back in July, comments from Aspen Ski Co. officials touched off some heated debate when it was mentioned that blackout dates for local skiers were being considered. The resort has now formally announced operational plans which doesn’t impose blackout dates but instead relies on modified pass products to spread out the flow of guests and let skiers decide if they want to pay for a full access pass or save a few bucks and avoid peak ski days.
“We’ve worked thoughtfully to come up with a pass and ticketing strategy that addresses the reality of operating in a pandemic and maximizes our chances of staying open for the full season,” says Mike Kaplan, president and CEO, Aspen Skiing Company. “Our passes and pricing this season are designed to spread people out and enable capacity controls should the pandemic require them. The product selection will allow our guests to choose the product that works best for them, and to contribute to keeping the season going through April.”
The primary pass that resort officials are hoping will spread people out is a Valley Weekday Pass (with some holiday blackouts) that’s available only to residents of the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as a Valley 7-Pack which can be used weekdays or weekends, outside of holiday blackouts. If visitors or residents decide they still want the full access then the all-access Premier Pass can be purchased at a slightly higher price than last year. The latter also includes a base IKON pass, a nice bonus that provides access to other resorts around North America.
The resort has apparently developed a reservation system in case it’s needed as a fall back plan during the season, but the hope is not to use it. Ikon passholders will be required to make a reservation through the Ikon system and Mountain Collective members are encouraged to plan ahead and avoid major holidays. Aspen Skiing Co. does not intend to limit capacity unless it becomes necessary due to unforeseen circumstances.