By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – The theme of ski season this year is plan ahead and book in advance. Every aspect of the Big Sky Resort will be running at reduced capacity this winter and it is strongly suggested that all bookings are made early.
While there will be no capacity restrictions on daily mountain access, there are tools in place to manage daily visitation, if it becomes necessary. Those tools include asking Ikon pass holders to make reservations before they arrive. According to Stacie Mesuda, the public relations manager at Big Sky Resort, they do not intend to limit access for season pass holders.
For those who have already purchased a season pass, the pass media card from last year will work again this year thanks to the new RFID system Big Sky Resort switched to. If you don’t have your RFID card from last year, you can head into Base Camp or the Mountain Services Office and get a new one for $5. In the future, that card will be automatically reloaded with any mountain access that you purchase.
According to the resort, they plan on going live with pass sales again soon, likely later this week.
Reservations made in advance will help provide the resort with an accurate picture of visitation numbers and capacity ahead of time, which allows them to implement the tools they have in place if need be.
Big Sky Resort is implementing a host of new health and safety measures for the 2020-21 winter season to keep guests safe and remain open.
Troy Nedved, the general manager of Big Sky Resort said, “it is all about getting open and staying open” in reference to the resort’s winter plan.
Big Sky Resort boasts 5,850 acres of skiable terrain with 38 ski lifts to access it. The resort intends to use that space to its advantage and encourages skiers to spread out over the acreage.
“Big Sky Resort is different; we have a lot of acreage to work with which means a lot of elbow room” Nedved said.
The resort will not be enforcing uphill capacity on chairlifts. Guests will be able to choose from a “friends and family line” which allows them to ride up only with the people in their party, or there will be a “normal” line, allowing guests to load a lift with unrelated parties.
The Tram will operate at a reduced capacity, but final determinations of the number of guests allowed per car are yet to be determined.
The changes in the resort’s operations focus on three initiatives: enhanced cleaning, distancing and masks, and minimizing contact.
All resort guests, age five and older, must wear a face covering in all indoor public areas and all outdoor areas where distancing cannot be maintained. Inside buildings there will be ample signage and physical barriers at all transaction points and contactless transactions are highly encouraged when possible.
There will be a new system called “Swifty Takeout & Delivery” available this season. The service is another method to decrease contact in restaurants.
Another additional service that will be available this year is rental delivery. If you need to rent gear and don’t want to enter the rental shop, you can now have a rental technician come to your hotel or condo and fit you there.
In addition to all of the health and safety measures discussed above, Big Sky Resort is also announcing two new access additions.
The first is a bootpack that will be laid in from the top of the Dakota lift, running up the side of Liberty Bowl to the Yeti Traverse. The bootpack will provide access to the majority of the terrain offered from Big Sky’s Lone Peak and it will alleviate pressure on the Tram.
The second access addition will be the ability for guests to enjoy uphill travel for the first time ever at Big Sky Resort. The run known as “Hangman’s” on Andesite mountain will be open in the mornings from 6 – 8 a.m. No dogs will be allowed, and no decisions have been made about passes for uphill travel.
Big Sky Resort has made significant operational adjustments for the upcoming ski season and hopes that guests will respect the new health and safety measures.
As Nedved said, “We are social creatures and we all want to ski and get outside.”
For more information and updates, please visit the Resort’s health and safety practices page.