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Vail Resorts to implement COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan and expand 2020 Epic Australia Pass to include Epic Coverage
Vail Resorts has announced the implementation of a COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan for its Australian resorts - Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham. With the resorts preparing for a 24th June opening of the 2020 snow season, the Plan will focus on protecting employees, guests and the communities the Company operates in. Vail Resorts will also expand the 2020 Epic Australia Pass to include Epic Coverage, providing assurances to guests for the rest of season. As well, the Company is offering a refund to any pass holder who does not want to continue with their pass in advance of the season.
Under the COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan, Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham will be adhering to all regulations surrounding COVID-19, which will require changes to both mountain operations and guest access. All three resorts will operate at approximately 50% of normal capacity to enable physical distancing measures per current government guidelines, until any changes allow for greater access.
Pete Brulisauer, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Australia and Perisher advises “the safety of our employees, guests and the communities in which we operate is our highest priority. We are committed to providing our guests with information about how we will operate safely this season, so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families.
“Skiing and snowboarding at our resorts will be different this season, but we feel confident we’ll provide a great guest experience. If we see further easing of physical distancing rules, we will adjust our operations to expand services while continuing to prioritize safety.”
Below are some important changes that will be implemented at all three resorts this season to keep guests and employees safe:
- Lift Tickets & Passes: Skiers and snowboarders will only be able to access the resorts with pre-purchased passes or lift tickets. Lift tickets will be available in limited quantities for advance purchase online, with on-the-day lift ticket purchases at the resorts not available until further notice. Lift tickets will go on sale on 15 June with multiday tickets available initially, followed by single day tickets. Resorts will limit daily lift tickets sales to provide physical distancing. Pass holders will initially require a reservation to access the mountain, but as the resorts fully open their terrain, reservations will not be required
- Lifts: Lift operations will run at reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. Guests who live together will be allowed to ride lifts together, while others will be required to physically distance with reduced capacity by lift type.
- Skitube: In order to provide physical distancing, resort transportation, including Perisher’s Skitube, will be operating at reduced capacity with amended timetables. Guests must purchase their Skitube tickets online and in advance, as no on-the-day purchasing will be available. Skitube guests carrying luggage for overnight stays will be required to travel outside of peak operating periods.
- Food & Beverage: With indoor physical distancing requirements in place, food and beverage options and indoor seating will be limited, but additional outdoor seating will be provided. In most cases food service will be limited to take-away, at least in the early season. Guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and lunch to enjoy on the mountain. Most venues will be cashless for contactless payment. Depending on further easing of physical distancing guidelines as the season progresses, food and beverage facilities may gain more capacity and be able to expand services.
- Lessons & Activities: There will be no tobogganing or Tubetown on offer at Perisher. Snowsports School programs will be limited at all three resorts with more programs being offered throughout the season as restrictions ease and offerings can be safely expanded.
- Lodging: Hotels, apartments and lodges will operate at reduced capacity to ensure that physical distancing can be achieved in restaurants and common areas.
Guest Commitment To Safety
To enable safe resort operations, guests are requested to stay home if they are not feeling well or are considered high risk. To ensure the safest experience for everyone, guests will be asked to respect all protocols and respect physical distancing guidelines.
- Physical Distancing Guidelines: Physical distancing will be provided at each resort, based on the amount of terrain and lifts open. Guests will be asked to respect 1.5 metres of physical distance at all times in the ski area and at ski lifts, unless they are with a group that they live with.
- Personal Responsibility: A safe snow experience is the responsibility of everyone. Guests are expected to adhere to government cleanliness and physical distancing guidelines, in addition to the Alpine Responsibility Code, to provide a safe environment for everyone. The Australian Government is encouraging that guests download the COVIDSafe app to improve safety. For more go to www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app
2020 Epic Australia Pass
Vail Resorts has announced that the 2020 Epic Australia Pass will now include Epic Coverage, providing assurances to guests for the rest of season. Additionally, the Company is offering a refund to any pass holder who does not want to continue with their pass in advance of the season. Epic Australia Pass remains on sale until 28th June 2020 for $889 for Adults, $499 for Students and $685 for Seniors.
Brulisauer added “we know these are uncertain times and want to ensure that we are providing guests both peace of mind about their Epic Australia Pass purchase as well as flexibility to make a choice about their commitment to the season ahead of opening day.
“Additionally, we fully recognise that a reservation system is new for our pass holders and we appreciate their understanding and willingness to help us ensure everyone’s safety. Together, we will make this much-anticipated season a great one.”
While terrain and lifts are limited during the early season ramp up, guests with a 2020 Epic Australia Pass, 2019-20 Epic Pass or 2019-20 Epic Military Pass will be required to make a reservation to access the resorts. Reservations will be required from opening day until 12th July, or as soon as weather and available terrain and lifts permit. Pass holder reservations for this period can be made beginning 23rd June, following final pass payment. Details on how to reserve days will be shared soon on all three resort websites. From 13th July, or as soon as we able to open adequate terrain and lifts, pass holders will enjoy their season pass access without the need for a reservation at Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham.
Vail Resorts is redefining pass refund protection for 2020 by providing Epic Coverage to everyone who purchases an Epic Australia Pass. Epic Coverage, which is free for all pass holders, replaces the need to purchase Pass Refund Protection and provides refunds associated with certain personal events, including illness, job loss, and injury. It also expands coverage to provide refunds to guests for certain resort closures, including for resort closures due to COVID-19.
Image of Vail Resort Perisher
4th June 2020 - Mt Hotham’s 2020 snow season focus is on keeping visitors safe
25th May 2020 - Announcement of 2020 snow season welcomed by Mt Hotham
11th May 2020 - Australian Ski Resorts launch Keep Our Season Safe Campaign
19th January 2020 - Mount Hotham reopens and encourages visitors
18th December 2019 - Mt Hotham promotes bushwalking for Summer
1st August 2019 - Perisher’s new Leichhardt chairlift gets official opening
20th July 2019 - Falls Creek announce first weekend with full ski fields access
31st March 2019 - Perisher commences construction of new chairlift
8th December 2017 - Perisher to invest $4.2 million in snowmaking and new chairlift
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