For this COVID-19 winter, various forms of advanced reservations will be required resorts in the West so management can maintain distancing requirements while guaranteeing spots on the hill during the pandemic.
Whether for tickets or parking, resorts are allowing for up to seven days to be reserved initially, and a "rolling" seven-day system whereby skiers and riders can reserve more as they use up days.
And, most all resorts across the nation have gone onto online day ticket sales -- a tacit form of reservation -- and single days may be bought even day-of at many places if spots are available.
Industry leader Vail Resorts' Epic Pass has overlaid a reservation system on all its 37 resorts around the world -- including 10 in the West -- for all its pass holders. Initially, Epic Pass holders get the mountains to themselves from Nov. 6 to Dec. 7 when day ticket sales go online.
The Epic system works like this:
Create an account on EpicPass.com.
As a week of dates come open the prior Wednesday, make reservations through the website. Until Dec. 7, book many as desired for the next week.
Up to seven "core season" dates (Dec. 8-April 4) can also be booked during the early period by pass holders only.
After Dec. 7, the "core season" can be booked and paid for by anyone up to seven days at a time. The rolling seven-day grouping can be restocked only after tickets are used. Pass holders may make week-of, last-minute reservations if capacities allow.
The Ikon Pass -- the second-largest multi-resort season pass with unlimited access to 15 resorts and multi-day to 28 others -- has a reservation setup, similar to Epic's system, funneled through its IkonPass.com website.
What's different is that each resort under the Ikon umbrella can decide whether or not it wants visitors to reserve a spot. At this time, nine Western resorts have said they want to know how many Ikon Pass holders are showing up on any day. But this number may change as the season progresses.
At all three resorts, parking reservations made through the resorts' websites will be capped at seven days at any time, but refillable as days are used.
Parking will be limited at two other Utah resorts: Solitude will continue its paid-only parking that it initiated last season, and Alta will manage capacities by limiting parking on first-come-first-served basis.
And, most resorts include lift tickets in lodging packages, but it pays to double-check when you make accommodation reservations.