Limited blackout dates and likely fewer weekends — but cheaper pass options only available to locals.
That's just some of what's in the cards for the 2020-21 winter season at Aspen Snowmass, according the an Aspen Skiing Co. announcement Thursday morning.
Dubbed the "Valley Weekday Pass," which chamber members can purchase for $899 — $999 for non-chamber members — through Nov. 13, the new season package offers access to all four mountains under the Aspen Snowmass umbrella Monday through Friday, with some blackout dates during holidays, according to a SkiCo press release.
Those blackout dates range from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2, then from Feb. 13 and 14.
"Additional days can be purchased for weekends and the holiday blackout period at a discount of at least 50% off the one-day ticket rate," the release explains. "The discount amount will vary throughout the season, and will be displayed online at aspensnowmass.com/valleypass."
The 2020-21 ski season also debuts the "Valley 7-Pack," which, as the name suggests, gives purchasers seven on-mountain days throughout the season, but again, with the same blackout days as the Valley Weekday Pass. Similar in structure but including weekend days, those who opt for the 7-Pack can purchase additional days at reduced rates. That option is also only available to locals and carries a $399 price tag through Nov. 13.
The Premier Pass, which provides unlimited access across all four mountains with no blackout dates, an Ikon Base Pass, more than $1,000 value in benefits, and unlimited summer gondola and chairlift sightseeing access, costs $1,799 for chamber members and $2,399 for non-chamber members through Nov. 13, 2020, a $320 increase from the previous season.
New safety protocols will be instituted across every aspect of the business, including new technology that will allow for contactless commerce and pick-up of season passes. Operating procedures will include distancing protocols, face-coverings, limits in buildings and all recommended health and safety measures from county and state agencies. In addition, redesigned operating procedures will be introduced in ski school, lift lines, on-mountain dining and in rental and retail stores. New technology will allow for “digital distancing” with many of the processes that formerly took place in person.
“The health and safety of our community, employees and guests is our ultimate goal, and everyone should understand that we each play a part in this season’s success,” SkiCo CEO Mike Kaplan said in a prepared statement. “We learned a great deal through our summer operations and we have been applying that to our plan for winter.”
In acknowledgement of essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SkiCo is providing complimentary "Gratitude Valley 7-Packs" to all Roaring Fork Valley teachers and school workers and select frontline workers at area hospitals, as well as to select employees on the front lines at area grocery stores.
"It has been inspiring to see our valley come together over the last six months, and we owe a huge debt to our essential workers who keep our community going,” Kaplan said. “This is our small way of saying thank you, and giving these committed workers the opportunity to get out in the fresh cold mountain air and make some turns.”
This is a developing story that will be updated.