Vail Resorts’ changes for Perisher, Hotham, Falls for 2020

Photo credit: Perisher

It’s the news you’ve been waiting for. What’s going to happen with the Epic Australia Pass and access to Perisher, Falls and Hotham?

Vail Resorts have just announced resorts will operate at a 50% capacity to start but Epic Australia Pass Holders will have unlimited access from July 13 to all resorts. Prior to that they will need to reserve their days ahead (details below). Any days they reserve will still be included in their pass.

You can still get a refund if you wish, though for those yet to purchase passes, the resorts are keeping the Epic Australia Pass on sale until the last week of June. 

All three resorts will operate at approximately 50 percent of normal capacity to enable physical distancing measures per current government guidelines, until any changes allow for greater access.

“Skiing and snowboarding at our resorts will be different this season, but we feel confident we’ll provide a great guest experience. If we see further easing of physical distancing rules, we will adjust our operations to expand services while continuing to prioritize safety” said Pete Brulisauer, senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Australia and Perisher.

Lift passes

Skiers and snowboarders will only be able to access the resorts with pre-purchased passes or lift tickets. Lift tickets will be available in limited quantities for advance purchase online, with on-the-day lift ticket purchases at the resorts not available until further notice.

Lift tickets will go on sale on 15 June with multiday tickets available initially, followed by single day tickets. However, Epic Australia Passes are still on sale (see below) so you can still take advantage if you intend to ski for longer than a week. 

Prices will be announced soon. 

Resorts will limit daily lift tickets sales to provide physical distancing. Epic Australia Pass holders will initially require a reservation to access the mountain, but as the resorts fully open their terrain, reservations will not be required

Lift operations

Lift operations will run at reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. Guests who live together will be allowed to ride lifts together, while others will be required to physically distance with reduced capacity by lift type.

Skitube

In order to provide physical distancing, resort transportation, including Perisher’s Skitube, will be operating at reduced capacity with amended timetables. Guests must purchase their Skitube tickets online and in advance, as no on-the-day purchasing will be available. Skitube guests carrying luggage for overnight stays will be required to travel outside of peak operating periods.

Food and beverage

With indoor physical distancing requirements in place, food and beverage options and indoor seating will be limited, but additional outdoor seating will be provided. In most cases food service will be limited to take-away, at least in the early season. Guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and lunch to enjoy on the mountain.

Most venues will be cashless for contactless payment. Depending on further easing of physical distancing guidelines as the season progresses, food and beverage facilities may gain more capacity and be able to expand services.

Lessons & Activities

There will be no tobogganing or Tubetown on offer at Perisher. Snowsports School programs will be limited at all three resorts with more programs being offered throughout the season as restrictions ease and offerings can be safely expanded.

Lodging

Hotels, apartments and lodges will operate at reduced capacity to ensure that physical distancing can be achieved in restaurants and common areas.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing will be provided at each resort, based on the amount of terrain and lifts open. Guests will be asked to respect 1.5 metres of physical distance at all times in the ski area and at ski lifts, unless they are with a group that they live with.

2020 Epic Australia Pass changes

Vail Resorts today announces that the 2020 Epic Australia Pass will now include Epic Coverage, providing assurances to guests for the rest of season. Additionally, the Company is offering a refund to any pass holder who does not want to continue with their pass in advance of the season.

Epic Australia Pass remains on sale until 28 June 2020 for $889 for Adults, $499 for Students and $685 for Seniors.

While terrain and lifts are limited during the early season ramp up, guests with a 2020 Epic Australia Pass, 2019-20 Epic Pass or 2019-20 Epic Military Pass will be required to make a reservation to access the resorts. Reservations will be required from opening day until 12 July, or as soon as weather and available terrain and lifts permit.

Pass holder reservations for this period can be made beginning 23 June, following final pass payment. Details on how to reserve days will be shared soon on all three resort websites.

From 13 July, or as soon as we able to open adequate terrain and lifts, Epic Australia Pass holders will have season pass access without the need for a reservation at Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham.

Vail Resorts is providing Epic Coverage to everyone who purchases an Epic Australia Pass in 2020. Epic Coverage, which is free for all pass holders, replaces the need to purchase Pass Refund Protection and provides refunds associated with certain personal events, including illness, job loss, and injury. It also expands coverage to provide refunds to guests for certain resort closures, including for resort closures due to COVID-19.

Guests who purchased a 2020 Epic Australia Pass and do not wish to proceed with their 2020 pass purchase may cancel and obtain a refund by making a request no later than 19 June. Any guests who do not elect a refund by 19 June will be charged the final payment for their 2020 Epic Australia Pass on 22 June.

After the 19 June refund deadline, the 2020 Epic Australia Pass is non-refundable except as provided for under Epic Coverage and under Australian Consumer Law. All guests will receive a refund of any Pass Refund Protection and Skitube add-ons purchased for the 2020 season.

In order to manage capacity under the COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan, Bring-A-Mate tickets will not be included with the 2020 Epic Australia Pass benefits.

The Epic Australia Pass Skitube add-on will also no longer be offered as the Skitube will operate at reduced capacity and will require advance purchased tickets to allow for physical distancing. Benefits have been updated on their website.

Now, watch this space as Vail Resorts Australia release their single day and multi day pass pricing in the next week or sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a snow beat. 


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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.