Sugar Bowl Resort announced Tuesday that it has suspended pass sales for the upcoming winter ski season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic citing the need to ensure adequate social distancing. Reports say that Sugar Bowl has already decided to limit daily lift ticket sales this upcoming winter.
“Although an uncrowded experience has been part of the Sugar Bowl brand ethos for decades, in this pandemic climate we must be especially careful not to overwhelm the resort by overselling it.” -Sugar Bowl Director of Marketing Don Slaughter
The resort said it has not decided on requiring season pass holders to reserve their visits in advance, but acknowledged it could be a possibility:
“We can’t guarantee that we won’t need to introduce a reservation system for passholders at some point, because the coronavirus situation is constantly changing.”
SUGAR BOWL OFFICIAL STATEMENT:
Sugar Bowl Friends:
Sugar Bowl has decided to pause sales of all 2020/21 season passes in order to provide the safest possible ski and snowboard experience for guests and staff this winter.
As we all work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, we recognize the importance of physical distancing and avoiding crowded environments. Although an uncrowded experience has been part of the Sugar Bowl brand ethos for decades, in this pandemic climate we must be especially careful not to overwhelm the resort by selling too many season passes, lift tickets and trail passes.
We had already decided to limit daily lift ticket sales this winter and to require advance, online purchases so we know who is coming and when.
For season passes, the situation is more complex. There are essentially two options: 1) limit the number of passes sold, and/or 2) require daily passholder reservations with a limit on how many passholders can visit the resort each day.
Recently, neighboring resorts announced their plan to implement the passholder reservation option. In contrast, at Sugar Bowl – a smaller, independent and nimble company – we believe a limit on pass sales is a better approach for our customers, while still allowing us to stay within our safe, comfortable capacity every day and to maintain adequate social distancing between guests and staff at our pinch points near lifts and lodges. That said, even with a cap in sales, we cannot entirely rule out the possibility of also implementing a passholder reservation system. Pausing sales now, however, gives us the potential opportunity to avoid that scenario.
Sugar Bowl season passes were available starting in March. Sales have been surprisingly strong, pacing faster than expected this summer. We’re using the word “pause” to describe our stop in season pass sales because it may turn out that, after further analysis and consultation with our local and county government partners, we have a little more space to add a few more passholders. We encourage you to keep checking your email, visit our website and follow our social media channels for the latest information.
We recognize that this news may be disappointing to those who intended to purchase a pass but have not yet had the means to do so. We did not make this decision lightly and the financial consequences to our business are significant. However, we cannot lose sight of our guiding philosophy, which is to provide memorable outdoor experiences while embracing our shared responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19. Protecting the health and safety of the guests, staff and local communities we serve will always be our top priority.
Our pause in pass sales does nothing to slow our preparations for the upcoming ski and snowboard season. September is here. The days are shortening, the nights are cooling and soon the mountains will receive their first blanket of snow. We look forward to that day.
The Sugar Bowl Family
This season will prove to be one for the history books!