BREAKING: Perisher, Falls, Hotham open June 24 with Covid changes

Vail Resorts have today announced June 24 as the opening ski season dates for Perisher, Hotham and Falls Creek. 

The season will launch following approval by the New South Wales and Victorian governments according to a statement distributed to media this morning. 

Each resort will enact a COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan developed in consultation with industry and government leaders, which will include social distancing measures, enhanced cleaning protocols and necessary changes to regularly offered programs and services.

There are no specific details, as yet, to what the new programs and services will look like.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to open our resorts for the 2020 snow season, especially given the difficult year endured by our mountain communities, and we take seriously the responsibility we have to keep our employees, guests and communities safe in this new environment,” said Pete Brulisauer, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Vail Resorts, Perisher and Australia in today’s statement.

“Delaying our traditional opening from the June Long Weekend to 24 June is intentional to ensure our entire team has the time to fully understand and embrace our new COVID-19 Safe Operating Plan so that we can deliver a safe experience for our guests.

We thank our guests in advance for their patience, understanding and cooperation as we all adapt to the new social distancing measures required to allow us to enjoy skiing and snowboarding this season.”

Operational changes

The statement did reveal that skiers and snowboarders will only be able to access the resorts with a pre-purchased pass or lift tickets; on-the-day lift ticket purchases will not be available.

Social distancing will be carefully managed at each resort, based on the amount of terrain and lifts open.

Full details about resort operations will be announced in the coming weeks.

Epic Australia Pass refunds and new lift pass products

As SnowsBest reported earlier, final payment for the 2020 Epic Australia Pass will not be collected on 1 June.

More information, as well as any changes that might be made to the pass addressing COVID-19 impacts on our season, will be shared by 15 June.

At that time, guests will have the option to request a refund of all payments made towards their 2020 Epic Australia Pass and Pass Refund Protection or move forward with their chosen pass product.

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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.