Keystone to open Friday: Weekend reservations already full

Keystone Resort received a last-minute approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Thursday, clearing the way for the ski area to open Friday.

Also on Thursday, Vail Resorts gave ski pass holders a sneak preview of the company’s new reservations system, unveiling the week-of reservations feature, where pass holders can book up to seven reservations for the upcoming week. Vail Resorts, in August, announced intentions to impose capacity limits on ski resorts this season due to pandemic restrictions, with the reservations system serving as the tool by which those restrictions will be implemented.

By Thursday afternoon, Keystone’s opening weekend was already booked full, with reservations unavailable for Friday, Saturday and Sunday no longer available.

Users reported cues of more than 7,000 pass holders in front of them when the system went live on Friday morning, but the line moved fast, reporting a capacity to serve 50,000 to 150,000 guests per hour.

Guests were first ushered into a virtual waiting room after signing into the reservations hub online on Friday morning. All told, the process took some skiers and snowboarders more than an hour to complete from start to finish, but an email notification feature alerted users when their booking window became available, so they didn’t have to wait by their browser throughout the process.

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Starting with 60 acres

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, in a call to investors in September, said the amount of terrain available at Vail Resorts ski areas will determine the severity of the capacity limitations imposed.

“If we have very poor (snow) conditions, then we may see the capacity restrictions be more frequent,” Katz said.

Keystone plans to start with 60 acres, accessed via the River Run Gondola, Summit Express and Montezuma Express lifts, according to a press release. Open trails include Schoolmarm, Silverspoon, Last Chance, Jaybird, Dercum’s Dash, lower River Run and Endeavor.

When fully open, Keystone has more than 3,000 skiable acres.

“For the vast majority of days during the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to,” Katz said.

For guests who purchased a Vail Resort pass product with a certain day in mind during the core season of Dec. 9 to April 4, only to find those days are no longer available, a full refund is available.

Big day

In addition to the opening of their first of 34 ski resorts in North America with Keystone, Vail Resorts will also open the full reservation system for all other mountains on Friday, as well, offering guests seven priority reservations which can be used for any days throughout the season.

The reservations system will open a waiting room on at 7 a.m. MST on Friday, before it starts taking reservations at 8 a.m.

Additional week-of reservations will open up to pass holders on Wednesday Nov. 11 for reservations through Nov. 20.

The system is centralized at, so users can book days at different resorts from one location.

Vail and Beaver Creek are still on track for their scheduled opening days of Nov. 20 and Nov. 25.

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