NEWS out this afternoon from Vail Resorts and as expected, Perisher in NSW and Victorian resorts of Hotham and Falls Creek will be operating with restricted capacity, at least to start their season.

The company has stated they will implement a COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan for its Australian resorts, focused on protecting employees, guests and the communities the Company operates in.

Under the plan, Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham will be adhering to all regulations surrounding COVID-19, which will require changes to both mountain operations and guest access

Operating at 50% Capacity (initially)

All three resorts will open on June 24 and operate at approximately 50 percent of normal capacity to enable physical distancing measures per current government guidelines, until any changes allow for greater access.

Season Pass Holders

While terrain and lifts are limited during the early season ramp up, guests with a 2020 Epic Australia Pass, 2019-20 Epic Pass or 2019-20 Epic Military Pass will be required to make a reservation to access the resorts.

Reservations will be required from opening day until 12 July, or as soon as weather and available terrain and lifts permit.

Pass holder reservations for this period can be made beginning 23 June, following final pass payment.

Details on how to reserve days will be shared soon on all three resort websites.

Day Tickets

Lift tickets will be available in limited quantities for advance purchase online, with on-the-day lift ticket purchases at the resorts not available until further notice.

Lift tickets will go on sale on 15 June with multiday tickets available initially, followed by single day tickets.

 

From 13 July – no reservations

From July 13, or as soon as we able to open adequate terrain and lifts, pass holders will enjoy their season pass access without the need for a reservation at Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham.

“The safety of our employees, guests and the communities in which we operate is our highest priority. We are committed to providing our guests with information about how we will operate safely this season, so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families,” says Pete Brulisauer, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Australia and Perisher.

“Skiing and snowboarding at our resorts will be different this season, but we feel confident we’ll provide a great guest experience. If we see further easing of physical distancing rules, we will adjust our operations to expand services while continuing to prioritize safety.”

Lift Tickets and Passes

Skiers and snowboarders will only be able to access the resorts with pre-purchased passes or lift tickets.

Lift tickets will be available in limited quantities for advance purchase online, with on-the-day lift ticket purchases at the resorts not available until further notice.

Lift tickets will go on sale on 15 June with multiday tickets available initially, followed by single day tickets. Resorts will limit daily lift tickets sales to provide physical distancing. Pass holders will initially require a reservation to access the mountain, but as the resorts fully open their terrain, reservations will not be required.

Lifts

Lift operations will run at reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. Guests who live together will be allowed to ride lifts together, while others will be required to physically distance with reduced capacity by lift type.

Skitube

To access the resort via Skitube will be an extra cost this season. All season pass guests will receive a refund for a Skitube add-on purchased for the 2020 season.

In order to provide physical distancing, resort transportation, including Perisher’s Skitube, will be operating at reduced capacity with amended timetables. Guests must purchase their Skitube tickets online and in advance, as no on-the-day purchasing will be available. Skitube guests carrying luggage for overnight stays will be required to travel outside of peak operating periods.

Food & Beverage

With indoor physical distancing requirements in place, food and beverage options and indoor seating will be limited, but additional outdoor seating will be provided. In most cases food service will be limited to take-away, at least in the early season. Guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and lunch to enjoy on the mountain. Most venues will be cashless for contactless payment. Depending on further easing of physical distancing guidelines as the season progresses, food and beverage facilities may gain more capacity and be able to expand services.

Activities

There will be no tobogganing or Tubetown on offer at Perisher.

Snowsports Lessons 

Snowsports School programs will be limited at all three resorts with more programs being offered throughout the season as restrictions ease and offerings can be safely expanded.

Lodging

Hotels, apartments and lodges will operate at reduced capacity to ensure that physical distancing can be achieved in restaurants and common areas.

Guest Commitment to Safety

To enable safe resort operations, guests are requested to stay home if they are not feeling well or are considered high risk. To ensure the safest experience for everyone, guests will be asked to respect all protocols and respect physical distancing guidelines.

Physical Distancing Guidelines

Physical distancing will be provided at each resort, based on the amount of terrain and lifts open. Guests will be asked to respect 1.5 metres of physical distance at all times in the ski area and at ski lifts, unless they are with a group that they live with.

Personal Responsibility

A safe snow experience is the responsibility of everyone. Guests are expected to adhere to government cleanliness and physical distancing guidelines, in addition to the Alpine Responsibility Code, to provide a safe environment for everyone. The Australian Government is encouraging that guests download the COVIDSafe app to improve safety. You can find more information and download it.

2020 Epic Australia Pass

The 2020 Epic Australia Pass will now include Epic Coverage, providing assurances to guests for the rest of season.

Additionally, the Company is offering a refund to any pass holder who does not want to continue with their pass in advance of the season.

Epic Australia Pass remains on sale until 28 June 2020 for $889 for Adults, $499 for Students and $685 for Seniors.

Vail Resorts is redefining pass refund protection for 2020 by providing Epic Coverage to everyone who purchases an Epic Australia Pass. Epic Coverage, which is free for all pass holders, replaces the need to purchase Pass Refund Protection and provides refunds associated with certain personal events, including illness, job loss, and injury. It also expands coverage to provide refunds to guests for certain resort closures, including for resort closures due to COVID-19.

All Pass Details Here

Guests who purchased a 2020 Epic Australia Pass and do not wish to proceed with their 2020 pass purchase may cancel and obtain a refund by making a request here no later than 19 June.

“We know these are uncertain times and want to ensure that we are providing guests both peace of mind about their Epic Australia Pass purchase as well as flexibility to make a choice about their commitment to the season ahead of opening day,” Brulisauer continued.

“Additionally, we fully recognise that a reservation system is new for our pass holders and we appreciate their understanding and willingness to help us ensure everyone’s safety. Together, we will make this much-anticipated season a great one.”

In order to manage capacity under our COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan, Bring-A-Mate tickets will not be included with the 2020 Epic Australia Pass benefits. Additionally, the Epic Australia Pass Skitube add-on will no longer be offered as the Skitube will operate at reduced capacity and will require advance purchased tickets to allow for physical distancing. A full list of updated benefits are here. Guests who have purchased a 2020 Epic Australia Pass are encouraged to review these updated benefits carefully to ensure they understand the changes.