Vail Mountain opens for the 2020-21 season on Friday: Learn about new safety measures in place at the resort |

Vail Mountain opens for the 2020-21 season on Friday: Learn about new safety measures in place at the resort

Vail Mountain opens, Nordic center deals, a turkey drive for Thanksgiving and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 11/20/20

A photo from Opening Day 2019 shows the Mountain Top Express and Wildwood Express chairlifts on Vail Mountain. Vail is scheduled to open up on Friday for the 2020-21 season. (Chris Dillmann

It’s hard to believe that eight months ago Vail and other ski areas abruptly closed on Saturday, March 14, due to COVID-19. After 250 days, Vail will spin its lifts for skiers and riders for its 58th year.

The staff and management have been working hard ever since the slopes closed last spring to implement protocols so that they can safely open and stay open starting on Friday morning at 9 a.m. This year won’t bring the hoopla that usually surrounds Opening Day. No balloon arches, no free hot chocolate or mini breakfast burritos, but most people will agree that just having the mountain open for the 2020-21 season is a treat.

Here are a few things to note about the 2020-21 season:

Face coverings

Face coverings will be required to access the mountain, in all indoor spaces, in any line, in chairlifts and gondolas and whenever you are unable to maintain physical distance.

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A reservation system has been put into place for all pass holders and will be required for access to Vail Mountain. There are various Epic Pass offerings, from just a few days on the hill to purchasing the whole season. Early season reservations run from now until Dec. 7 and the core season reservations are from Dec. 8 to April 4. Learn more at

Mountain Dining

  • Capacity changes: Vail Resorts is managing capacity at all of its dining facilities in accordance to local and state regulations, which changes frequently. The best way to stay in touch is through the EpicMix app. Be prepared to plan ahead a lot this winter and make reservations for many things you didn’t need to do before.
  • Quick service: The menus at the quick-service restaurants have been updated and are geared to get you fueled and back out on the mountain quickly. Ready-to-go hot and cold food options will be sold at these locations.
  • Time to Dine: At some of the restaurants, including Two Elk and Mid-Vail, Vail is offering Time to Dine, where you can book a mealtime by going to the EpicMix app. Time slots open daily at 7 a.m.
  • Fine dining: The resort’s fine-dining experiences have reduced capacities, but offer the same amazing food. The 10th restaurant will require reservations through the Time to Dine platform on the EpicMix app.

Ski School

Lessons must be booked at least 48 hours in advance, no walk-up. Each lesson comes with a mountain reservation for the lesson taker(s) only. A pass or lift ticket will be required for all lesson participants. Face coverings will be required this season and all participants will be required to complete a pre-arrival self-health screening on the day of each lesson.


  • Digital sign-in stations (at select locations only): Pass holders can now scan or swipe their pass to populate their rental contract. This will eliminate the need to use keyboards at the front of the rental shop for almost all transactions. Those who aren’t pass holders can still make reservations online to avoid using the keyboard upon arrival.
  • Virtual rental lines (at select locations only): Guests will no longer have to remain on-site due to Vail Sports’ Virtual Line management system. When the rental shop is ready, it will send out a text letting guests know the shop is ready to assist them.

For full details about how Vail Mountain will operate this year, visit this website:

KZYR The Zephyr radio and Encore Electric are teaming up with Vail Valley Salvation Army to raise $2,000 in donations for its Ton of Turkeys annual food drive. (Jason Leung
Special to the Daily)

The pandemic isn’t stopping KZYR The Zephyr radio station in Edwards from reaching its goal of providing a ton of turkeys for area families this Thanksgiving. Normally, the radio station is literally collecting pounds and pounds of turkeys and storing them in freezers up and down the valley. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, The Zephyr is collecting cold hard cash instead of cold turkeys.

“Unfortunately we can’t take actual donations of turkeys for the Salvation Army’s food baskets this year, but the need is greater than ever so we made a quick change of plans to make everything virtual,” said Gary Schwedt, of Rocky Mountain Radio Group, owner of KZYR The Zephyr and KKVM The Mile. “In an effort to reduce in-person contact, we are asking that you make a donation to our partners at the Salvation Army instead of dropping off actual turkeys,” Schwedt.

The Vail Valley Salvation Army will provide gift cards to local families who will be able to shop for their own turkeys at area grocery stores.

“We estimate that it will take about $2,000 to reach our 1-ton goal this year,” Schwedt said. The Zephyr is once again partnering up with Encore Electric to help provide turkeys this Thanksgiving.

“We are thrilled to partner with Encore Electric again. They are a tremendous partner who is committed to the Vail Valley and the mountain region,” Schwedt said.

Donations will be accepted through Wednesday, Nov. 25. For more information about the drive, go to To donate online, go to the Salvation Army’s virtual red kettle:

The Vail Nordic Center will not be hosting its traditional gear sale this weekend, but they will have sales on hard goods and soft goods throughout the pro shop on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Vail Recreation District
Special to the Daily)

The Vail Nordic Center typically hosts its annual gear swap around this time of year but due to COVID-19 they decided to scale it down a bit and just have a sale over two days in the Vail Nordic Center’s pro shop.

On Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. take advantage of 20% off all hard goods and soft goods and some items will be up to 40% off. The pro shop features some of the biggest names in Nordic gear like Rossignol, Fischer and Salomon boots and skis. It also carries outerwear like Swix, Patagonia, Kari Traa, Dynafit and more. You can even pick up your own pair of snowshoes at the Vail Nordic Center with brands like Atlas and Crescent Moon.

The Vail Nordic Center is located at the Vail Golf Course. The golf shop becomes the Nordic ski shop in the winter. The Grill on the Gore restaurant is closed now, but will open once more terrain is open. The golf course’s topography provides the perfect backdrop with rolling hills throughout and flats, steep climbs and descents with big vistas of the Gore Range to the east.

There are limited trails available now and early season conditions exist. The Nordic Center has not set down a track yet for classic cross-country skiing, but people have been getting out there on the skinny sticks, snowshoes and even the fat bikes. The Vail Nordic Center has fat bikes for rent if you want to pedal around on the snow.

Once more snow falls, expect to find 17 kilometers of classic cross-country and skate trails, 13 kilometers of fate bike trails and 10 kilometers of snowshoe trails.

Passes on are sale for the season online or in-person at the shop. The shop also handles rentals, waxing and repairs. Mix it up this season and enjoy the views, terrain and modes of transportation at the Vail Nordic Center. For more information, visit or call 970-476-8366.

Make a scarf, tie or face mask during the silk marbling class at Alpine Arts Center. There will be drop in sessions from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday and Sunday. (Photo special to the Daily)

Alpine Arts Center has been keeping people busy during COVID-19 by offering all sorts of classes for a variety of ages. Painting, glass etching, working with clay and other mediums have been popular and now you can add fabric to that list. This weekend the Alpine Arts Center will feature a silk marbling class where you can make beautiful silk scarves, ties and the newest accessory everyone is sporting: face masks.

The silk marbling effect is obtained by using a shallow trough filled with water and a solution. The trough is about six-feet long to fit the scarf. Participants choose the colors they want to use to create their own one-of-a-kind design. It is so fun to watch your design unfold before your eyes.

The silk marbling projects will be part of a drop-in format on Friday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. while supplies last. A recent Facebook post by the Alpine Arts Center suggested a little “mimosas and marbling.” For those 21 and older, beer, wine and champagne can be purchased at the Alpine Art Center’s bar. Learn more at

The new Well & Being Spa has a few spa deals happening Friday and Saturday at its location in the Vail Mountain Marriott in Lionshead. (Photo special to the Daily)

Spa Anjali – Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa – Avon

  • Sunday-Friday spa deals (no Saturday deals)
  • Custom Spa Anjali facial or massage for $115 (regularly $160)
  • Follow social media for details on a four-day Black Friday Sale starting on Nov. 27.
  • Website:
  • Phone: 970-790-3020

Well & Being Spa – Vail Mountain Marriott – Lionshead Village

  • Friday and Saturday only you can enjoy some deals at Well & Being Spa
  • Massage or body treatments starting at $109 (regularly $145)
  • 50-minute treatments
  • Website:
  • Phone: 970-479-5004

Sonnenalp Spa – Sonnenalp Vail Hotel – Vail Village

  • Save 20% on all facials and massage treatments (not including upgrades)
  • Monday -Thursday only for the month of November
  • Please Note: this deal is not available Monday Nov. 23- Sunday Nov. 29
  • Website:
  • Phone: 970-479-5404

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