US and Canadian ski areas have been increasingly issuing statements about their expectations for the 2020-21 ski season.

With an eye to advance season-pass sales, an even more key part of the funding of many of the continent’s leading ski areas than they were a decade ago, most are stressing that whilst things will be ”different” they expect to operate a normal schedule.

Common themes to reassure those who invest in season passes are the options of a full refund if things don’t go to plan and centres don’t open or a partial-refund and/or voucher towards the cost of a 2021/22 season pass, if operations are limited by any return of government stay-at-home orders. 

Squaw Valley last March

The precise details on how that repayment might kick in vary from resort to resort but usually depend on the centre not opening by a certain time or for a certain number of days during each season.

The main ways in which operations will be different were already shown at US ski areas that re-opened for various periods from late April to early June, as well as still-open Timberline in Oregon. Namely increased cleaning and sanitation, social-distancing and mask wearing indoors and in high traffic outdoor areas like lift lines.

Loveland ski area in Colorado, one of the world’s highest and also usually one of the contenders to be the first in the continent to open each October is offering a 130-day guarantee for 2020-21 season pass products, which guarantees at least 130 days of operation during the 2020-21 winter season.