Vail Resorts’ full reservations system set to debut Nov. 18
Every Wednesday, pass holders will receive nine week-of reservations
VAIL — The efforts of Vail Resorts to institute a reservations system with capacity limits at the company’s 34 North American ski areas is nearly complete.
The process has been fluid — at Keystone, the first of the North American resorts to test out the system, the Nov. 6-8 opening weekend immediately filled, and the entire Nov. 8-12 opening week was full by Nov. 8. More slots opened on Monday, but those extra slots were promptly filled.
The system creates a new kind of jostling for position, instead of rushing to the mountain to get your space in the lift line, the jostling occurs on the internet, days before, amid changing limits on reservations due to new terrain openings.
On Nov. 18, the full system will become available to Vail and Beaver Creek guests, who will receive nine week-of reservations in addition to the seven priority reservations they currently have available on epicpass.com. Those looking to book at Breckenridge will be able to begin on Nov. 11.
Week-of reservations must be used to book ski days before Dec. 8.
9 days every 7
Every Wednesday, pass holders will receive nine more week-of reservations, which can be used for the next nine days; Thursday to the following Friday. There is deliberate overlap in the system on Thursdays and Fridays, said Vail and Beaver Creek Senior Communications Manager John Plack.
“In the afternoon, every Wednesday, we’re going to launch the week-of reservations,” Plack said. “On Wednesday, you’ll have that Saturday-Sunday, which is what I think is what people are probably the most anxious about, but then you can still go in, and the entire next week, through that Friday, you can book.”
In other words, a user who visits on Wednesday evening will have nine week-of reservations to use, but a user who visits on Thursday evening will only have eight, and so on, until the next Wednesday, when the system resets.
“There is a little overlap, but I think what we want to make sure is that people can get in there, look on a Wednesday and say next week, from Thursday through the next Friday, plan out your week,” Plack said.
The cancellation situation
Plack said for the bombarding of use the system saw in its Nov. 4 and Nov. 6 partial debuts, resulting in long wait times, the site did not endure any crashes and was regarded as a success from a usability standpoint.
By the next day, no lines were present, and all slots were still available at Vail Resorts’ 34 North American ski areas during the priority reservations season of Dec. 8 to April 4.
Plack said Vail Resorts officials who were monitoring the reservations system were expecting pass holders to flood the website on the first day it opened. Cancellations will become available on Nov. 17 for those who may have changed their minds about their upcoming plans.
Those who abuse the system with overuse of cancellations or no-shows on reservations could see restrictions in their ability to use the system.
In a message to pass holders labeled “Important note,” pass holders were told that Vail Resorts wants to accommodate everyone who wants to ski and snowboard this season, and to do so, “pass holders should only book week-of reservations for days that they plan to use,” the note reads. “If you abuse the system repeatedly missing or canceling week-of reservations (or priority reservation days that you booked within 2 weeks of the reservation date), you may lose your reservation privileges for a period of time.”