As snow blankets Colorado’s high-country and three ski areas are open for the season, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) member ski areas are excited to welcome guests back to the slopes for the 2020-21 winter season. While many things in our lives are different, what guests have come to love about skiing and snowboarding will be refreshingly the same this season. The fresh, crisp mountain air and stunning scenery as well as the world class terrain and world class guest service Colorado is known for will be ready for guests to enjoy on a pair of skis or snowboard this winter.

Over the summer and fall CSCUSA member ski areas have been tirelessly working with local and state officials to prepare for the 2020-21 winter season. Colorado Ski Country encourages all skiers and riders, no matter how experienced, to “Know Before You Go,” long a backcountry mantra that will apply to all skiers and riders this year.

Guests should visit ski area websites, social media and other channels to ensure they have the most up-to-date information on any COVID-19 protocols and understand what is expected during their visit. Colorado Ski Country’s COVID-19 webpage will be updated throughout the winter with tips, information and the most up-to-date resort protocols.

Many ski areas will be requiring prepurchase of lift tickets, ski school reservations, rentals and other activities and guests should check with the ski area they plan to visit before and leading up to their arrival. Ski parties will be allowed to load lifts and gondolas together at full capacity. Parties that are not together will have at least one seat between them on lifts. Up to two unrelated parties can load a gondola together up to 50 percent capacity. Parties that are uncomfortable riding with other parties will be allowed to ride as a single party.

Ski school classes will be limited to under 10 and most ski areas will limit classes sizes to between four and six and offer half day lessons. Ski areas will be following state and local guidance for indoor spaces, lodging, transportation and other activities where appropriate. Guests who are experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are asked to self-isolate and delay their trip.

In addition to new COVID-19 protocols and health guidelines, several CSCUSA member ski areas have used the summer to work on replacements to lifts, updates to snowmaking operations and more.

Below is a summary of CSCUSA member ski areas near Lake County and their plans for the winter:

Ski Cooper

Cooper will feature several new food and beverage outlets for winter 2020-21 including a pizzeria at Katie O’Rourke’s, a new grill on the base area deck, the Shamrock Snack Shack and the revamped Base Camp Cafeteria offering grab and go options. These new options will help lunch time flow more smoothly. Also new this year is streamlined access with the Cooper Port of Entry, which all daily guests will need to enter for mountain access. Once a guest has entered, they will rarely need to scan tickets again, reducing contact and improving mountain access.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain will be implementing a parking reservation system this winter to help manage volume at the resort. Guests can book up to seven advanced reservation days throughout the season beginning November 9 and once the season begins make an unlimited number of reservations within a rolling 7-day window. As advance days are used, guests will be able to book additional advance days. Copper will open on November 30, to ensure that more acreage and lifts will be available on opening day. Copper’s three villages and naturally divided terrain will allow guests to spread out on the mountain and in base areas.

A new 127-room, four-story hotel will open at Copper in late 2020. Element 29 is located in Center Village allowing guests optimal access to the slopes, activities and dining outlets in the Village. The hotel will also feature an outdoor patio nestled along West Ten Mile Creek complete with fire pits and hot tubs. This season, Copper has also installed additional snowmaking compressors which will allow more snow-guns to be used during early season snowmaking operations.

Monarch Mountain

At Monarch, in-person lift ticket sales will not be available on weekends or from December 19, 2020 through January 3, 2021 and guests are encouraged to prepurchase tickets online. Guests are asked to avoid weekends, historically busy peak times and be a weekday warrior. Childcare services and locker access will not be available this winter. The Gunbarrel Cafertia will have grab and go options available and a new food truck, Fly-by Burritos, is available for outdoor food service.

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