Lake Tahoe resorts prepare for different kind of ski season

Ski season in Lake Tahoe is going to be different this year so before you grab your gear and head to the slopes, here’s some things you should know.

Ski California and its member resorts, which consist of all the resorts in Tahoe, including Diamond Peak and Mt. Rose in Nevada, have been collaborating closely with the National Ski Areas Association to develop a shared set of consistent operational guidelines.

“Although operations vary by resort, every Ski California resort has committed to aligning with the principles established in the industry accepted ‘Ski Well, Be Well’ guide, as well as with their local health agency’s recommendations,” a press release from Ski California said.

“Although some things will be different this winter, our member resorts are prepared to open and operate safely to bring the same on-hill experience skiers and riders love,” said Mike Reitzell, Ski California president. “All of our resorts have been diligently working since March to ensure their operations can adhere to ever changing public health and safety requirements. Some procedures will vary by resort, but all resorts are aligned in their desire to have a full ski season. To do this, it’s going to require active adherence to established policies by resort guests.”

“Skiing has inherent advantages during these uncertain times — it happens outdoors in wide open spaces with constant airflow. The experience will definitely be different this year, but for those who plan ahead and know before they go, it’s undoubtedly going to be one of the most fun, healthy ways to spend time outside this winter,”— Ski California president Michael Reitzell

All resorts are requiring face coverings for guests and employees for both indoor and outdoor spaces, unless eating or drinking.

Resorts are only seating members of the same groups on chair lifts and gondolas. Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts will seat single individuals on opposite sides of the chair, if big enough.

“While opening dates vary by resort, most have announced they intend to wait until they can have adequate ski trails open in order to spread guests out on the mountain. In some cases, resorts may limit early season operations to pass holders only,” the press release added.

Heavenly and Kirkwood

Vail Resorts will be requiring reservations for guests so as to limit the number of people on the mountain. All tickets need to be purchased in advance and pass holders get priority for reservations.

Lessons will also need to be booked in advance. Classes for three and four year olds will be held one-on-one since they spend most of their lesson inside, five and six year olds will have a maximum of four in each class and all other groups will have a maximum of six.

On mountain dining will still be available, smaller areas will have grab-n-go options while the bigger dining rooms will be reconfigured to allow for social distancing. Vail is encouraging people to bring drinks and snacks with them on the mountain.

Equipment rental will still be available and does not need to be reserved in advance. However, less people will be allowed in the rental area at a time so plan for it taking extra time.

Heavenly is planning to open Nov. 20 and Kirkwood is aiming for Dec. 4.

Learn more at


“Sierra has always lived by the notion that ‘Respect Gets Respect,’ and we request all of our guests respect and follow the new measures put in place,” said a press release from the resort.

Sierra-At-Tahoe is one of the few mountains in the area not requiring reservations, although they will still be keeping an eye on capacity.

Restaurants will have limited seating and they encourage guests to take advantage of the grab-n-go options.

Staff will receive daily wellness checks to protect themselves and guests.

Learn more at

Diamond Peak

Diamond Peak is going touchless. All transactions will be cashless and all lift tickets, rentals and lessons must be purchased online in advance.

Reservations will be required for tables in the Base Lodge, Loft Bar and on the Loft Bar Deck from open to close, with a maximum group size of six guests. There will be outdoor seating at Base Lodge Sun Deck and Snowflake Lodge Sun Deck which will be first-come first-served. There will be no indoor dining at the Snowflake Lodge. There will also be no day-use lockers.

Opening day is scheduled for Dec. 10.

To learn more visit,

Mt. Rose

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is limiting the number of season passes they are selling in addition to the daily tickets. Reservations are required and they are allowing for about 50% of normal capacity on peak days.

Equipment rentals must be purchased in advance.

The lodge will only be open to season pass or daily ticket holders. They will initially only be open for restroom use and they will slowly introduce food options. Tables indoors can only be used for up to 30 minutes by only guests who have purchased food.

Guests are encouraged to eat before coming or bring food to eat in their cars.

“We expect to open as soon as conditions allow for top-to-bottom skiing, most likely mid-November. By delaying our opening until more coverage is available it will allow guests to spread out more throughout the resort. Initially, the mountain will be open to season pass holders only,” the website states.

To learn more, visit

For all of these resorts, guests are encouraged to look at protocols before visiting the resort.

“Skiing has inherent advantages during these uncertain times — it happens outdoors in wide open spaces with constant airflow. The experience will definitely be different this year, but for those who plan ahead and know before they go, it’s undoubtedly going to be one of the most fun, healthy ways to spend time outside this winter,” Reitzell said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.