Nothing kills the buzz of tackling some great powder quite like having to wait on line for a ski lift. And Vail Resorts wants to help.
Starting next month, the company will introduce full-day forecasts of lift line wait times in its EpicMix app, spaced in 15-minute increments, Vail Resorts shared with Travel + Leisure. The service will be available at 12 of the company’s resorts: Whistler Blackcomb, Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek Resort, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Keystone Resort, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Park City Mountain, Heavenly Ski Resort, Northstar California, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Stowe Mountain Resort, and Okemo Mountain Resort.
“Based on years of data collected from EpicMix, we know that even on peak visitation days, more than 90% of lift line wait times across our resorts are under five minutes,” Kirsten Lynch, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said in a statement provided to T+L. “Even so, we remain dedicated to continuing to improve the guest experience, reduce wait times, and communicate transparently, especially given the excitement and demand for travel this coming season.”
To generate the forecast, the app will use both historic and actual wait time data for specific lifts and combine that with guest counts, wait times at other lifts, current snowfall, the day of the week, and the time of the season. The company said the new technology will also use machine learning, so forecasts should continue to improve as they go.
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Additionally, Vail Resorts (whose Epic Pass is one of the best deals in skiing) said it would limit lift ticket sales at each of its North American resorts during three of the most popular periods: Dec. 25 to Jan. 2, Jan. 14 to Jan. 17, and Feb. 18 to Feb. 27. Pass holders won’t be impacted.
Overall, Vail Resorts won’t require mountain reservations this year and will load lifts and gondolas at full capacity. The company will require masks in all public indoor settings, including restaurants and restrooms, but won’t mandate them in lift lines or on chairlifts and gondolas.
And with ski season just around the corner, the company said the price of the Epic Pass is set to go up on Nov. 21.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.