• Resorts opened with over a foot of natural snow from the past week
  • Opening Day through Dec. 7 is exclusive to pass holders
  • Mountain access reservations, face coverings and physical distancing are required this winter at all Vail Resorts destinations

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Nov. 20, 2020 — Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California Resort kicked off a successful start to the 2020-21 ski and ride season today. With a winter operating plan focused on comprehensive safety protocols, they were the first two Tahoe area ski resorts to open.

Opening Day 2020 Heavenly Ski resort – Photo by Susan Whitman – Heavenly

On Opening Day at Heavenly, skiers and riders had access to Patsy’s, Maggie’s and Ridge Run trails. The resort kicked off the season on a historic note, celebrating its 65th anniversary and opening the California-side of the resort for skiing and riding first for the first time in over a decade.

Northstar welcomed guests back with wide-open runs including Lumber Jack, Skid, Upper and Lower Main Street, Lower Lion’s Way, Easy Street, and Carpet Bowl trails. This season guests can enjoy a revamped version of an existing Kids Adventure Zone, located near Powder Bowl. The Powder Bowl location will have wood carved animals such as bears and pine martens located in the trees throughout the zone, with improvements also being made to the corridor.

Northstar Resort opening Day 2020 – image Courtesy of Vail resort and Liz@mabblemedia.com

Kirkwood is looking forward to opening on Dec. 4, weather and conditions permitting.
This season, safety takes on more importance than ever at Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and across all Vail Resorts mountains. A few of the key ways the resort is prioritizing safety this winter include:

  1. Face Coverings: Guests are required to wear a face covering in all aspects of the operation, including in line, while riding lifts and gondolas and in all facilities.
  2. Reservations: Reservations are required for all guests so that the resort can manage access and allow for physical distance.
  3. Sick? Stay Home: Anyone who is sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home. Please cancel any reservation to give other skiers and riders a chance to ski and ride.
  4. Re-Imagined Mountain Experience: New operating procedures are in place across the resort, including lift and gondola loading, in Ski School, F&B and rental locations.
  5. Cashless Transactions: For the best experience, book and pay online in advance.
  6. Follow State Guidelines: Know, follow and adhere to California’s COVID-19 measures https://covid19.ca.gov/
Safety Protocols in Place. image Courtesy of Vail resort and Liz@mabblemedia.com

Guests are encouraged to visit SkiHeavenly.comNorthstarCalifornia.com and Kirkwood.com for updates on winter operations and new safety procedures. Each resort will continue to expand and open terrain as conditions allow.

Opening Day and week-of reservations for Heavenly and Northstar began this week on Wednesday. Pass holders can make early-season reservations from Nov. 20-29 for Heavenly and Northstar. Priority Reservation Days for the core season (Dec. 8-April 4) for Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood are also available for pass holders. For more information and to make reservations, guests should visit EpicPass.com.

Following the State of California’s guidance for indoor dining, Heavenly and Northstar, the resorts had grab and go food options available for outdoor dining. Restrooms are open with limited capacity. Heavenly and Northstar encourage guests to bring their own water, food and snacks.

Early Season Conditions
Limited terrain and early season conditions exist. Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood require all skiers and riders to observe all posted signs and warnings. Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations. For the safety of all guests, please keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

Epic Pass Provides Exclusive Early Season Access for Pass Holders 
For skiers and riders who have not locked in their pass, now is the time. Lift tickets will be limited this season, so the best way for guests to access the mountains is with a pass. The Epic Pass, Tahoe Local Pass, Tahoe Value Pass and the entire suite of pass products, each providing unbeatable value, go off sale Sunday, Dec. 6. For the greatest value and access, guests should lock in their pass sooner than later. Prices increase Nov. 22, with the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass both going up $100. Additionally, there are now three weeks left of the exclusive booking window for pass holders to lock in up to seven Priority Reservation Days for the core season before lift tickets go on sale Dec. 8.

Video and images courtesy of Vail resorts – Susan whitman at Heavenly and Liz@mabbmedia.com

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