Epic Pass jumps to $999, reservations specifics still not announced
Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass jumped $20 in price to $999 last week following the company’s Sept. 17 early purchase deadline.
The major change for the 2020-21 season is the company’s new pass holder reservation system, which could limit capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vail Resorts unveiled the reservations system over the summer, detailing how pass holders will receive two buckets of reservations — priority reservations and week-of reservations.
While Vail Resorts has released plenty of details on what Epic Pass holders can expect from their priority reservations, the company has yet to announce specifics on week-of reservations.
The reservations system is a tool to help Vail Resorts manage capacity “and be out front in our approach to help keep you safe all season long,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said in a video message intended “to give you the information you need to purchase your 2020-21 pass with confidence,” as introduced on epicpass.com.
‘Week-of’ not next 7 days
Vail will use modeling to predict what visitation will look like on certain days, and the resort is investing in IT services to implement the reservations system. The resort wants to ensure the reservations system doesn’t crash if it sees a large spike at midnight on Nov. 6, when it is set to open, but also during those periods of high use as forecasters begin to predict snowstorms headed for the area.
Capacity limits will consider available terrain and historic visitation levels, and Vail has not released any numbers about what those capacity limits might look like.
Other questions about the reservations program remain unanswered, as well.
In his Sept. 14 message, Katz said “Our pass holders will be able to book using their week-of reservations any time they want during that week.”
Does this mean that “week-of” could mean Sunday to Saturday, rather than any time in the next seven days? If a person, on a Tuesday, wants to use week-of reservations to book a long weekend — that coming Saturday, Sunday and Monday — is it possible they might only be able to book Saturday and not Sunday and Monday?
In an email to the Vail Daily, a Vail Resorts spokesperson said the answers to those questions have yet to be determined.
Possibility of early capacity
Priority reservations, however, have been thoroughly discussed.
“Because of that priority access, we anticipate that most people on the mountain on our peak days will be pass holders,” Katz said.
Cancellations will be allowed, and guests will be able to book another day as soon as a day is canceled.
Katz also brought up the possibility that certain days become full with priority reservations before the season begins; the booking window will begin two weeks before the season begins at Vail, and non-pass holders will not be allowed to book until Dec. 7.
“If for some reason you can’t get the days you want during the exclusive pre-season booking window for pass holders, you can get a refund, assuming you haven’t used your pass at all during the early season,” Katz said.
And, of course, Katz made clear that the company has the right to use or not use the reservations system depending on what the circumstances allow.
“There’s also definitely the possibility, depending on how things play out, that we may remove the reservations system, either for the rest of the season, or for parts of it, but it would be a lot easier to remove the reservations system than to put one in midseason.”
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