Your Guide to the 2020/21 Winter Season
Be Safe, Be Kind
Our Commitment to Protect Your Health and Safety
Our guiding philosophy is to provide memorable outdoor experiences while embracing our shared responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will uphold the best practices of sanitation, mask-wearing, physical distancing and protective equipment. We will maintain our brand ethos of not overcrowding the resort. We will communicate important information so that you know what to expect before you arrive. And we will reinforce our policies with education and action to prioritize the health and safety of our guests, staff and communities we serve.
To that end, we’re adapting many of our standard operating procedures and maintaining best practices that prioritize your well-being during your visit:
- We are hiring a new “Care Team,” responsible for working with guests to communicate and enforce our expectations for face coverings, physical distancing and other COVID-specific policies. Care Team members will also control indoor access to facilities, and once indoors, you will find them regularly cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in common areas. Our staff will continue to maintain the highest standards for sanitization throughout the resort.
- Face coverings will be required at Sugar Bowl – indoors (at all times) and outdoors (when within six feet of others) – for all guests and staff. Face coverings are simply one of the most effective tactics we can deploy to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
- Advance purchases will be required for lift tickets, lessons and rentals. In our commitment to maintain a uniquely uncrowded experience, we will be capping the number of daily lift tickets sold in addition to limiting total season passes available for purchase.
- New RFID lift access gates will allow for touchless scanning and guest tracking.
- We will not ask guests to ride a lift or Gondola with anyone outside of their related party. When waiting in a lift queue, skis and snowboards organically provide sufficient front/back distance and we'll organize the maze ropes to provide adequate lateral spacing. Guests will self-group when loading chairlifts; lift attendants will not require guests to ride with others if the guest is uncomfortable doing so. We'll modify Gondola cabin loading in order to allow for cleaning and disinfecting after each unload.
- Indoor access will be limited to restrooms and warming zones for 15-minute increments.
- All food & beverage service will be “grab & go.”
- Payment transactions will be touchless and cashless.
- We will be carefully monitoring the health of our employees. All staff will have a daily screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and a temperature check before the start of a shift.
Be Safe, Be Kind
We’re committed to protecting your health and safety while visiting Sugar Bowl. Our goal is to start the season as soon as snow coverage allows us to open enough lifts and terrain such that everyone can spread out and maintain physical distancing. Once we open, we want to stay open for at least 100 days, but that will require everyone’s cooperation. We must all do our part and follow Sugar Bowl | Royal Gorge policies as well as the latest CDC and state guidelines.
There are four responsible things to remember - to Be Safe, Be Kind - in advance of your visits this winter:
- Stay home if feeling sick or if you might have been exposed to others with COVID-19.
- Wear a face covering, which is required at Sugar Bowl | Royal Gorge - indoors (all the time) and outdoors (when within six feet of others) - for all guests and staff.
- Practice social distancing by maintaining at least six feet between unrelated parties.
- Live together, ride together. Related parties can ride lifts together, but we will not ask guests to share a lift ride with someone they are not comfortable riding alongside.
The Winter Operating Plan
Our goal is to start the season as soon as snow coverage allows us to open enough lifts and terrain such that everyone can spread out and maintain physical distancing. Once we open, we want to stay open for at least 100 days.
We're targeting a Thanksgiving weekend opening, but Mother Nature has a lot to say about that. Snowmaking will begin as normal, once temperatures are consistently cold. We're planning to stay open until our traditional mid-April closing date, pending cooperative weather, snowpack and the COVID situation.
The lift operating schedule will remain relatively unchanged from last year. Crow’s Peak chair will operate only if conditions permit and Summit Chair will operate weekends and holidays when conditions allow. All other lifts will be scheduled daily, snow, weather and COVID permitting.
In our base areas, we will be consolidating our operations to the Judah Lodge this winter. While demos will be available along with a large selection of hard and soft goods at Village Ski & Sport, all other services - such as ticket/pass services, lessons, rentals and food & beverage - will be headquartered at the Judah base area. Should the COVID situation improve and we can safely increase our capacity, we will be open additional services in the Village as needed.
The Hotel at Sugar Bowl will host stayovers on Thursday through Sunday nights (plus peak holiday & vacation weeks) and the Village Gondola will operate 24 hours/day when the Hotel is open. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when the Hotel is closed, the Gondola will operate on a 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. schedule.
TICKETS & PASSES
Buy your Lift Tickets Online in Advance
One of the key changes we're making this winter is to eliminate the sale of lift tickets and passes on premises at Sugar Bowl. You'll need to buy lift tickets online, in advance of your drive to the mountain this season. By requiring advance reservations, we will be better prepared to manage the flow of guests from arrival to departure.
Once lift tickets are released for sale online (in early November), we expect peak days to sell-out quickly. Every lift ticket sold will be valid for a specific date, so you'll need to choose your visit date(s) at the time of ticket purchase. By purchasing well in advance, you'll get the lowest available rate with a guaranteed reservation for a specific date. All lift tickets are non-changeable, non-refundable and non-transferable.
Submit your email if you would like to receive an email prior to these products being released for the season.
Other Ticket Programs (including 3 Packs)
As part of our careful capacity management, we must suspend several lift ticket programs this season. This includes most discount opportunities, such as group tickets and 3 Packs. As the season progresses, we may reintroduce some of these programs if capacity allows.
Season Pass Friends and Family Tickets
A significant change for passholders this winter is how we'll need to manage the Friends and Family ticket program. Due to capacity constraints, there will be a very limited supply of Friends & Family tickets available. You'll need to purchase these tickets in advance. They may be challenging to secure with daily sell-outs expected. We'll announce more details on the redemption of tickets in the weeks leading up to the season. Passholders who are not satisfied with this shift in the program may request a refund any day prior to when Friends and Family tickets are made available online.
Passholder Refund Request
Season Pass Sales
We made the difficult decision in September to pause the sale of season passes in order to assure that the resort doesn't become overcrowded this season. While an uncrowded experience has long been a part of Sugar Bowl's brand ethos, it's especially important in this year of COVID that we maintain an environment where everyone can remain physically distance at all times. That's why we must carefully manage our visit count each day and by pausing season pass sales, we can (hopefully) avoid having to implement a reservation system for passholders.
It may be that we open up pass sales again, pending final calculations of our capacity and after consultation with state and county officials.
Provide your email to be notified if season pass sales resume.
Receving Your Season Pass
For those of you who already purchased a season pass, we are now in the process of printing and mailing passes to each passholder. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, we're not offering any pass pick-up opportunities this fall.
Weekly mailings are underway but the process will likely take until mid-November to complete. Please be patient; our goal is that everyone will have received their pass in the mail by opening day.
Your Vehicle is Your Base Lodge
You should be prepared to enjoy an outdoor experience this winter at Sugar Bowl – no matter the conditions – as indoor congregation will not be possible. The lodges will be available for restroom and “warming zone” access only, limited to 15-minute increments, monitored by the Care Team. As such, “booting-up” or leaving bags inside the lodges will not be allowed. To reduce congregation, those desiring equipment rentals and/or ski/snowboard lessons must reserve a time-slot in advance to access the indoor areas.
Your car will be your base lodge this season, as we won't have any lockers available to use. Plan ahead to bring everything you need to be comfortable outdoors in the mountains - especially if the weather is harsh. Pack extra layers, a dry change-of-clothes and a folding chair to sit on when booting up in the parking lot!
FOOD & BEVERAGE
If You're Hungry or Thirsty...
To help control the spread of COVID-19, access to indoor areas at Sugar Bowl this winter will be limited to restroom use, taking a quick 15-minute warm-up break and buying "grab & go" food & beverage items. As of now, we're not planning to offer any indoor dining opportunities, but we're expanding our outdoor dining footprint at various locations around the resort. In addition to meals and snacks available for purchase outside, we'll have hot and cold options you can purchase inside... to eat outside.
We are not currently planning to open the Belt Room Bar or Village Dining Room this season. For guests staying at the Hotel at Sugar Bowl and in accommodations throughout the Village, our executive chef is developing a take-out menu full of tasty meals and snacks.
In the event that indoor dining restrictions relax in the coming months, we will reevaluate our dining plan and potentially add opportunities to eat indoors. For now, however, plan on enjoying a meal break at Sugar Bowl while enjoying our beautiful scenery outside or from the comfort of your Hotel room, Village residence or your personal "car lodge".
LESSONS, RENTALS & RETAIL
Skier and Snowboarder Services
We pride ourselves on offering an uncrowded experience at Sugar Bowl year after year – and that will be especially true this winter with capacity limitations in place. However, with reduced visitation, we will not be offering equipment rental or ski/snowboard lessons from the Village this winter. The Judah Lodge will be your headquarters for your lesson and rental needs.
Ski and Snowboard Lessons
To maintain physical distancing and to protect everyone's health and safety, we've decided against offering group ski/snowboard lessons at this time. We may add group lesson availability later in the winter if the COVID-situation improves.
We will offer private lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels. With one-on-one instruction, a private lesson can give you the best opportunity to improve your skiing or riding ability in all conditions. You'll want to plan ahead, however. Private lesson availability will be limited and we're going to require online bookings in advance of your visit.
Ski and snowboard rental availability will also be more limited this winter as we make sure the indoor rentals area doesn't become overcrowded. You'll need to reserve and pay for your rentals online, in advance of your visit. In addition to reserving a specific rental date, you'll need to reserve a specific time-slot to pick up the equipment at Judah Lodge. All of our equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
Retail and Demos
Both Mt. Judah Ski & Sports and Village Ski & Sports will be open this winter for your shopping desires. Head to Village Ski & Sports to demo the latest equipment and check out the newest ski and snowboard gear. Access inside each store may be regulated to ensure that the indoor spaces allow for everyone to properly distance from each other. We'll also follow best practices in cleaning and santitization.
Due to the tight spaces where our lockers are located, we've decided not to offer locker rentals this winter. This is true for both daily and season-long rentals. In the spirit of using your "car as your base lodge", we encourage you to pack whatever will keep you comfortable on the mountain and to use your car as your storage area for the day.
Experience the Hotel at Sugar Bowl
Old-World charm with a hint of European flair, the Hotel offers a unique and memorable mountain getaway. Slopeside accommodations in a classic high-alpine lodge are just steps from the lifts. Park your car in our garage, have your luggage loaded onto a personal gondola and be whisked away to America's only snowbound village.
This winter, the Hotel at Sugar Bowl will be open, but on a more limited schedule with some service changes designed to protect the health and safety of guests and staff.
One of the more significant changes is that the Hotel at Sugar Bowl will operate on a Thursday through Sunday night schedule this winter. Except during peak holiday and vacation weeks, when the Hotel will be open every night, the Hotel will be closed after check-out on Monday until check-in on Thursday each week.
Access from the Gondola
The Village Gondola will operate 24 hours/day when the Hotel is open. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when the Hotel is closed, the Gondola will operate on a 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. schedule.
Dining and Hotel Services
Our resort-wide plan to suspend indoor dining this season will affect the Hotel Dining Room and Belt Room Bar. As an alternative, our Executive Chef is developing a menu of tasty take-to-the-room meals and snacks.
Lift Tickets and Skier Services
Specific to the ski and snowboard experience, all Sugar Bowl lift tickets, rentals and lessons must be purchased online, in advance this season. We will limit the number of lift tickets we sell for each day in order to maintain adequate physical distancing between guests and staff in all areas of the resort. Hotel reservations do not include lift tickets. We expect a lift ticket sell-out on most days this winter, so Hotel guests should plan ahead to purchase tickets separately, far in advance, before a sell-out occurs.
We pride ourselves on offering an uncrowded experience at Sugar Bowl year after year – and that will be especially true this winter with capacity limitations in place. However, with reduced visitation, we will not be offering equipment rental or ski/snowboard lessons from the Village this winter. Instead, we encourage Hotel guests to reserve rentals and/or a lesson online, in advance, and plan to visit the Judah Lodge to pick up equipment and/or meet for a lesson.
Protecting Guests' Health and Safety
Our guiding philosophy is to provide memorable outdoor experiences while embracing our shared responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19. To that end, we’re adapting many of our standard operating procedures and maintaining best practices that prioritize your well-being during a stay at the Hotel:
- As always, our staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect each room prior to your arrival. New this year, we’ll use a disinfecting fogger to add an extra level of care.
- We are suspending the Stay-Over cleaning service, but will deliver amenities or extra clean towels upon request.
- Staff will not enter a room while it is occupied, unless there is an emergency or a need for repair.
- We will keep high traffic and high touch areas – such as door handles, light switches, tabletops, and surfaces, and counters – clean and disinfected.
- Throughout the ski area’s facilities, our new “Care Team” will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing common areas plus enforcing mask-wearing, social distancing and other COVID-19 policies. Safety is always a top priority, but we need a team focused on this new aspect of our business.
- We will not ask guests to ride a lift or Gondola with anyone outside of their cohort. We will also modify the Village Gondola cabin loading procedure to allow for cleaning and disinfecting.
- We will be carefully monitoring the health of our employees. All staff will have a daily screening for symptoms of COVID-19 before the start of a shift.
LETTERS FROM THE CEO
Letters from Sugar Bowl's CEO
We're committed to frequent and proactive communication about our response to COVID-19 and how we plan to operate in the safest possible manner. Below are some past messages from Greg Dallas, President and CEO of Sugar Bowl | Royal Gorge.
Please note that, while we're keeping these letters posted for your reference, the COVID-19 situation continues to rapidly evolve. Information contained in the some of the letters may no longer be relevant or might have changed since the letters were written.
September 23, 2020: WInter 2020/21: It Will Be Different!
September 8, 2020: Season Pass Sales Paused
August 10, 2020: Planning for the Winter Ahead
May 1, 2020: How We're Moving Forward
Be Safe, Be Kind
We’re committed to protecting your health and safety while visiting. We must all do our part and follow Sugar Bowl | Royal Gorge policies as well as the latest CDC and state guidelines.