Vail Resorts CEO talks about social distancing for ski season at Park City Mountain

Jun 11, 2020, 8:27 AM | Updated: 9:11 am
Out-of-staters moving to Park City and putting up big numbers buying homes...
Park City Mountain Resort plans to introduce paid parking for the 22-23 ski season (Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

PARK CITY, Utah — While the ski season locally is still months away, industry leaders are already busy at work coming up with a COVID-19 gameplan. That means with new social distancing concerns, the skiing experience at Park City Mountain could be noticeable different this year. Rob Katz, the CEO of Colorado-based Vail Resorts, recently discussed the topic with Wall Street analysts. He says a specific plan for Park City Mountain Resort, which is owned by Vail, isn’t in place yet. Instead, they’re going to keep an eye on other areas of the world.

Aussie experiment

Locally, the 2020-2021 ski season is scheduled to start in November. Although, that “start date” is different all over the world. For example, the ski season is set to start shortly in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere destinations. Katz says their team is planning to use Vail properties in Australia to gain greater insight for best practices at their North American locations.

“That will give us some very unique insight that we’ll be able to use as we plan the North American ski season next year,” he explains.

He adds that skiers and snowboarders are able to spread out fairly organically on the slopes, so that’s not the main concern. Rather, Vail is focusing on what they describe as “pinch points.” 

“Inside of our restaurants, in lift lines and certainly as people enter the resort,” says Katz.

That’s where some of their Southern Hemisphere resorts will become all the more valuable. It’s an opportunity, perhaps by trial-and-error, to see what works well and what doesn’t.

“Our job will be to make sure that we can maintain social distancing while still giving people a great experience,” explains Katz.

Vail Resorts setting a max capacity?

The Park Record notes that he also made mention of possible constraints to the number of people at a mountain resort at any one time. Although, that may also fall into the “wait-and-see” category since it’s still unclear what sort of travel demand there will be during ski season. If coronavirus concerns remain top of mind for a large percentage of people, that could mean a drop in skier and snowboarder numbers and also lessen the impact of any possible constraints.

I think the two places that, you know, we’re certainly well aware of potential capacity constraints: one is on loading lifts and gondolas and to the extent that, you know, you’re maintaining social distancing between unrelated groups, right, that could limit the number of people, you know, that you can put on a chair, put on a gondola at any one time. And that’s certainly something that, you know, will likely be a part of the plan in Australia. Unclear whether that will still be necessary next winter season, but that’s one, you know, potential constraint,” – Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts.

Vail leaders are also saying that with the possibility of new guidelines and restrictions, they are “not going to pull back at all on what guests would expect when they come to one of [their] resorts.”

Today’s Top Stories


The Kaysville Fourth of July Parade is canceled after a medical emergency....
Kira Hoffelmeyer

8-year-old girl in critical condition after getting injured at Kaysville parade

KAYSVILLE, Utah — An 8-year-old has been critically injured during the Kaysville City Fourth of July parade. Kaysville Police say the girl was taken to a hospital for her injuries. This happened at 175 S. Main St in Kaysville. It’s unclear if the child fell off the float and was hit, or if she was […]
3 days ago
Two people have been gored by bison at Yellowstone National Park in less than a week. An expert at ...
Mark Jones

Expert says to give bison their space and distance

An expert at Antelope Island State Park says bison need to be given their space and distance. This message comes after two people were gored by bison at Yellowstone National Park
6 days ago
A female bison and calf are seen near the Yellowstone River in Wyoming's Hayden Valley, on Wednesda...
Mark Jones

2nd visitor in 3 days gored by Yellowstone National Park bison

In less than a week, two visitors to Yellowstone National Park have been gored by bison. Park officials say to stay at least 25 yards away from a bison.
6 days ago
Travelers wait in for a TSA security check at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles,...

Pre-pandemic sized crowds descend on US airports for holiday

TSA is reporting crowds of pre-pandemic size are traveling this Independence Day.
6 days ago
Vehicles enter Zion National Park   on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. With Independence Day set for Mond...
Mark Jones

Busy weekend expected at Zion National Park

With it being Independence Day on Monday, Zion National Park officials are expecting a busy weekend at the park and say visitors should expect long lines.
7 days ago
Rockfall along Zion-Mt Carmel Highway...
Waverly Golden

A rockfall briefly closes highway through Zion National Park

This morning a rockfall happened on the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway, it has since been cleared by maintenance crews. No injuries or damages were reported.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Vail Resorts CEO talks about social distancing for ski season at Park City Mountain