Ikon Ruthies

Ruthie’s Run on Aspen Mountain is pictured in April. Aspen-Snowmass is one of two Ikon Pass resorts that has yet to reveal whether it will require reservations to ski this season.

Aspen-Snowmass is one of two Ikonic resorts that has yet to reveal whether it will require reservations to ski this season, as evidenced in statements from Ikon Pass operator Alterra Mountain Co. on Monday.

The first statement pointed out that the majority of the 38 destinations under the Ikon Pass at this time do not intend to institute a reservation system. “Most Ikon Pass destinations feel confident they can elevate the guest experience and eliminate the need for lift access reservations by addressing social distancing concerns through other operational changes,” the statement read in part. Shortly after, Denver-based Alterra issued a letter from the company’s CEO, Rusty Gregory, also looking ahead to winter operations.

The subject of reservations has been a popular one since Vail Resorts announced in late August plans to implement such a system in an effort to alleviate overcrowding on the hill this winter.

Aspen-Snowmass — which is part of the full Ikon Pass (but not the base pass this year) and a partner resort of Alterra — plans to unveil its strategy for the 2020-21 season at the end of the month, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of communications Jeff Hanle said Monday afternoon.

“We’re all still working through our dynamics and what works best for us individually. Vail Resorts and Alterra — who own multiple properties and multiple resorts and mountains — have started making their decisions, but they’re coming up with plans that work well for them, for these larger groups of destinations,” Hanle said. “We’re independent, as are a number of mountains that are Ikon Pass partner resorts. Each resort must decide what’s going to work best for them and their specific set of circumstances. We are working on this now and will announce our plans soon.”

Alta Ski Area in Utah is the other resort within the Ikon Pass that has yet to publicize its decision regarding reservations for this winter, Alterra vice president of communications Kristin Rust confirmed Monday. At IkonPass.com, the company lists the more than 40 Ikon-accessible mountains and whether reservations are necessary, “not required at this time” or if the decision is still “pending.”

Rust noted the use of the term ‘not at this time’ versus a definitive no because “we’re in a global pandemic and things are changing all the time, we wanted to have the caveat.”

In order to provide priority access to Ikon Pass holders, many destinations will temporarily regulate or eliminate a number of day ticket products in order to control resort visitation levels and avoid overcrowding, according to Monday’s statement.

Rust said the group’s goal going into the winter is to “help keep people safe and healthy while providing the best experience we can.”

“Our intention is to keep it as smooth and typical as possible, meaning we’d like you to be able to arrive at the mountain with your [pass] like a typical season,” she continued. “Of course, we’re going to have all kinds of different measures in place as far as social distancing, masks, etc. But as far as access to the mountain, we’re trying to keep it as smooth as possible.”

Erica Robbie is the editor-in-chief of Local Magazine and Local Weekly as well as the arts & culture editor for the Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at erica@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @ericarobbie.