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Aspen Ski Season 2020/2021: Gearing Up for a Different (But Excellent) experience

Aspen Highlands-Ready for the 2020-2021 Aspen Ski Season

We get it…
You’re sick and tired of hunkering down at home, on-edge and bored to tears, controlled by the Covid-19 pandemic–we all are. You’re desperate to get away, to do something fun before you lose your mind. Well… the Aspen 2020/2021 ski season might provide the solution.

If you love winter as much as we do, some outdoor fun in the sun and snow might be just what the doctor ordered. So why not take a ski vacation in beautiful Aspen and Snowmass, Colorado?

We know… you’re not sure if it’s safe or if the resorts will even be open. You’re wondering if it will still be fun.  And you’re worried you might lose your reservation money if things get locked down again before you’re scheduled to arrive (or after you get there).

Well, we have some good news for you!

Aspen Snowmass is open and is planning for a fantastic 2020/2021 ski season. The Aspen Skiing Company (SkiCo) and local community are bending over backward to ensure that you’ll be safe and that the mountains, restaurants, and shops are open and ready to welcome you.

We’re doing everything we can to make sure you have as enjoyable and memorable winter vacation as ever. But, if we need to shut things down again to protect your health and safety, we’ve got you covered there as well. 

The Mountains Will Be Open and Prioritizing Safety

The SkiCo has worked tirelessly to get all the necessary plans and procedures in place to safely begin the 2020/2021 ski season. Here are the opening dates for the local mountains:

Aspen Snowmass Opening Dates

2020 2021 Winter Vacation in Aspen - Gondola Ride

Aspen Mountain – November 26
Snowmass – November 26
Aspen Highlands – December 12
Buttermilk – December 18

Keeping You Safe

The SkiCo is still finalizing Covid-19-related plans and procedures. They will follow local public health department and State of Colorado guidelines

They will, as required, present final plans to local public health departments (lpha) for approval.  Once approved, the lpha will submit the plans to the state for final sign-off before the season begins.

Here are some of the procedures and requirements already in the plan:


Masks Will Be Required

Staff and guests will be required to cover their mouths and noses in lift lines and public areas of lodges. They will also be required when entering and moving about in on-mountain restaurants and when riding area shuttles.


Physical Distancing Will Be Facilitated and Enforced

Keeping individuals and unrelated parties physically separated is an integral part of the safety plan. Here are some of the specifics:

  • The SkiCo will require parties in lift lines to be separated by at least 6 feet in all directions and will also provide appropriate reminder signs. Their employees will monitor this as well. Additionally, they will realign lift lines and will include “ghost” lanes to provide maximum lift line customer spacing
  • Gondola cabin and lift chair capacity will be limited according to state guidelines. Specifically:  “Ski area guests will not be required to ride on a chairlift or gondola with people outside of their party. Individuals who are not from the same party may ride a chairlift together with a minimum of one seat separating the unrelated individuals or parties; however, ski areas should generally encourage more space between different parties when possible.”
  • The SkiCo will also set up outdoor tents outside five of the ski areas’ restaurants to increase space for socially-distanced on-mountain dining.

Contactless Is the Name of the Game

To further limit close contact between individuals, the SkiCo will provide the following contactless features:

  • Touchless lift ticket kiosks
  • Grab-and-Go meals from the on-mountain restaurants
  • Mobile app access to add additional days to lift tickets, order and pay for meals, and pay for lessons and rentals.

Tickets, Reservations, and Cancellation Policies

Ticket and Pass Information

The Aspen Skiing Company works hard to provide a pass and ticketing program that optimizes the experience for passholders, day ticket guests, and the local community. This includes local, Ikon, and Mountain passholders. The focus is on effective social distancing and volume management.

Please visit their website for current options tickets and passes for the 2020/2021 Aspen Snowmass ski season.


Will I Need To Make Reservations for the Aspen 2020/2021 Ski Season?

To provide as much flexibility as possible, the SkiCo is avoiding instituting a required mountain access reservation system. But they have developed the capacity to do so if necessary.

According to their website, they may require reservations “across all products” if an increase in community spread of Covid-19 initiates additional restrictions and regulations from state and local health agencies.

If they do decide to launch a reservation system, they will notify concerned parties through targeted emails, their website, and their social media platforms. You may join their email list here to receive important, related communications.

In the meantime, SkiCo is also trying to spread out mountain usage to traditionally “non-peak” times. They are encouraging locals and visitors to ski and snowboard on weekdays instead of just weekends. And they are reminding guests that volume may become limited at any time. So those who have already secured their tickets will be granted priority access.

To limit same-day ticket purchases that might challenge any daily skier caps, they are also rewarding those who plan ahead by offering a 15% discount on all ticket prices if purchased before December 4th, 2020.


What Is the Cancellation and Refund Policy for Aspen Snowmass in 2020/2021?

The State of Colorado guidelines state that ski areas should: “Promote rescheduling and refund flexibility to encourage guests to stay home when sick.” 

The SkiCo, for its part, has issued the following statement: 

“All unused 2020-2021 season passes are fully refundable through November 20, 2020. After November 20, 2020 passes are nonrefundable and unused days have no value. However, Multi-Event Insurance through Travel Guard is available for purchase to cover your investment. Click here to learn more about Travel Guard.

If we are shut down due to Covid-19 for 10 or more days of the season, we will issue refunds, prorated for each day we are fully shut down compared to our published season dates, for all Aspen Snowmass passes, except the Valley 7-Pack and Classic Pass. For example, if we are forced to shut down entirely for a total of 25% of the days during our published season dates, then all passholders would receive a 25% refund of the purchase price. Refunds will not be issued in the event we implement a reservation system…”

For their most current SkiCo 2020/2021 safety and related information, please visit the “Current Safety Announcements” and COVID-19 Operating Procedures pages on their website.


On-Mountain Improvements for 2020/2021

Every season, Aspen Snowmass strives to make your skiing and snowboarding experience better. Here are some of the improvement highlights for 2020/2021:

Big Burn Chairlift in Snowmass - Aspen Ski Season 2020/2021

Snowmaking Capability Added to the Top of Aspen Mountain

Starting this year, Aspen Mountain will finally have “top-to-bottom” snowmaking. They recently added this capability to portions of the Silver Bell Trail. This provides man-made snow from the summit of the mountain to the previous snowmaking upper limit.

Even if early season conditions are dry, skiers and Snowboarders will now be able to enjoy the upper portions of the mountain once temperatures dip and stay low enough to make snow.

New Six-Passenger, High-Speed Chairlift in Snowmass

The SkiCo has also recently replaced the Big Burn lift on Snowmass with a new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift. This will cut the ride time to just seven minutes and will assist with current Covid-19 physical distancing measures.

Please visit the Aspen Snowmass website for information about other recent improvements at Snowmass.

How Will This Affect Uphill skiing?



Uphill Skiing Near Aspen Snowmass - Things to do in Aspen in Winter 2020/2021


Uphill skiing will likely be popular and encouraged during the 2020/2021 ski season in Aspen and Snowmass.



The SkiCo will require uphillers to stick to specifically designated routes. They might monitor these routes for capacity restrictions and even close them, if necessary, to comply with local and State Guidelines.

Aspen Snowmass 2020/2021 Uphilling Policy Highlights

  • Buttermilk, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands: will still provide uphilling access during operating hours
  • Aspen Mountain: Same as before – no uphill access during operating hours
  • Uphillers will have to follow designated, signed routes during operating hours
  • No uphilling allowed during Holiday blackout periods (Dec. 26 through Jan. 2 and Feb. 13 and 14)
  • Possible closures of designated routes if capacity limitations are required

What About the Winter X Games and Other Annual Events?



Of course, a winter vacation isn’t just about skiing and snowboarding.


Winter X Games in Aspen

We know many people also plan their ski vacation in Aspen and Snowmass to take advantage of the high-profile annual events that take place here. As with everything else this year, these events have had to be nimble and adjust to the times.

Here is what you can expect in 2020/2021:

Winter X Games

The Aspen Skiing Company is currently moving ahead with tentative plans to host the Winter X Games in 2021, but ESPN is still evaluating the situation.

SkiCo is planning to allow in-person patronage, but they have not determined exactly how this might work.. The current safety environment dictates that the focus might shift to promoting the televised event.

For the latest scoop on the X Games, please visit the Aspen Chamber website for more details.

Bud Light Spring Jam

As far as other large-scale winter and spring events go, such as the Bud Light Spring Jam, we will have to wait for more information and further developments. Here’s a peek at last year’s Spring Jam festivities.

Feel free to contact us at concierge@aspenluxuryvacationrentals.com | (970) 205-9960 for the latest information on these and other local events.

Aspen and Snowmass Restaurants and Shops Are Open



Hyman Avenue Mall Restaurants and Shops - Aspen Shopping


Many restaurants and retail establishments in Snowmass and Aspen are open and plan to be through the 2020/2021 ski season. They, too, must comply with local and State of Colorado guidelines.


Here are the “5 Commitments of Containment” mandated by the Pitkin County Health Department:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of social distance
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover your face in public
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Get tested immediately if you have symptoms

5 Top Outdoor Activities to Do in Aspen and Snowmass Besides Skiing and Snowboarding



Alpine skiing and snowboarding, dining, and shopping are not the only things to do outside around here in the winter.


Kids Sledding Near Snowmass - Things to Do in Aspen this winter

Here are 5 popular Aspen Snowmass winter activities you might want to explore that will keep you outside and away from the crowds:

Please contact us at concierge@aspenluxuryvacationrentals.com | (970) 205-9960 for more information about these and other local outdoor winter activities.

How We Will Protect You in Our Snowmass and Aspen Vacation Rentals



Cascade Lane Snowmass Rental - Aspen Luxury Vacation Rentals


At Aspen Luxury Vacation Rentals, your health and safety are our primary concerns.


Health and Safety

As a professional vacation management company, we employ strict cleaning and social distancing protocols. And we feature contact-free check-ins and check-outs. 

We comply with local and federal guidelines, as well as the VRMA & VRHP’s Safe Home Campaign. We provide Certified Vacation Rental Housekeepers (CVRH) and Certified Vacation Rental Inspectors (CVRI) to ensure cleanliness and safety.

Please visit our Covid-19 page for more details.

Our Cancellation Policy

We are currently updating our Cancellation Policy in consideration of present health concerns and the current Pitkin County Public Health orders.

Please contact us directly for the most up-to-date information: (970) 205-9960 | info@aspenluxuryvacationrentals.com.

Travel Insurance

We also strongly encourage you to consider purchasing travel insurance for your Aspen Snowmass vacation this winter. We work with Red Sky Travel Insurance. They offer plans that cover certain cancellation penalties and emergency medical costs associated with your visit.  They also provide access to a wide range of other traveler assistance services.


Planning Ahead Is the Key To A Memorable Winter Vacation in Aspen and Snowmass in 2020/2021

No one knows for sure how the 2020/2021 winter will play out, but planning well and staying informed are the best ways to guard against any real surprises.

We’re optimistic for another great ski season and passionately believe that an Aspen and Snowmass winter vacation is the cure for your stuck inside at home, pandemic blues. And we understand your safety concerns and your uncertainty about the availability of all your favorite activities, restaurants, and shops. We know you’re wondering about various refund and cancellation policies.

So, let us help put your mind at ease…

Visit the resources highlighted above, contact us at concierge@aspenluxuryvacationrentals.com | (970) 205-9960, or enter your contact information below, and we’ll keep you informed on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay to get the most from your 2020/2021 Aspen and Snowmass winter vacation.

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