Washington state ski resort to require reservations

Stevens Pass gets first snowfall of the season in 2019
Stevens Pass in 2019. The resort will require reservations in order to combat COVID-19 infection rates.

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A ski resort in Washington state has announced plans to reopen with restrictions, including limiting how many people are allowed on the mountain to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Colorado-based ski company Vail Resorts, which owns Stevens Pass and other ski areas around the country, announced in August that it would reopen its resorts in December, The Daily Herald reported.

Visitors must have a reservation to hit the slopes at Stevens Pass ski area, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) east of Seattle. The ski area is scheduled to open Dec. 4.

General Manager Tom Pettigrew said pass holders will get priority, and everyone else must buy passes ahead of time online. He said daily lift tickets will be available on a week-of basis and pass holders will have priority and access to seven reserved days anytime during the season.

“It’s a very different season we’re facing,” he said. “But … there should be very few days you can’t get a reservation.”

Officials say the number of people allowed on the slopes will depend on the weather, how much terrain is available on the mountain and what phase of reopening King County is in.

Pettigrew also said the resort has taken other safety precautions such as requiring face coverings, moving to cashless transactions and social distancing at resort lodges, on chairlifts and inside buildings.

“It’s important to us to create an environment that’s safe for our employees and our guests,” Pettigrew said. “It’s our expectation that you’ll adhere to the guidelines.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.