Snowbasin ushers in 80th season with COVID-19 restrictions

By Mike Anderson, KSL TV | Posted - Nov. 28, 2020 at 7:14 a.m.

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HUNTSVILLE — Snowbasin began its 80th year with the most terrain ever on an opening day, as the resort tries to keep crowds socially distanced and avoid implementing a reservation system.

Sometimes the ski season is what you make it. And getting ready for all of this has taken months.

"We've been planning since March 15, and we worked with the National Ski Area Association and all the other resorts, and all the GMs are talking all the time about what they're doing," said Davy Ratchford, general manager at Snowbasin.

Ratchford said the rough idea is to have plenty of space and keep an eye on the crowds as people show up — as long as the people do their part.

"So far it's been really really great to see our guests complying with those standards that are different, but they're really helpful for us to operate," Ratchford said.

And many of the skiers and snowboarders at the resort Friday were just glad that it could happen.

"I think they're doing the best they can, with the situation," Collin Gum said. "I mean there's not much you can do, but it's getting the job done."

To stay open, lift lines are being staggered and groups are being kept apart. The resort also set up some new yurts for ticketing and more space for outdoor dining.

"I mean you can't complain, with COVID season … and also it being preseason," said skier David Rivas.

Davy Ratchford, Snowbasin general manager, speaks with KSL TV on on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 ski season.
Davy Ratchford, Snowbasin general manager, speaks with KSL TV on on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 ski season. (Photo: KSL TV)

And to add one more hurdle — most of the snow up there right now, is manmade.

Machines have been running for about two weeks straight. But it's all helped them have more open space for all these people.

"We've had the most terrain we've ever been able to open with," Ratchford said.

Opening weekend is just open to season and epic pass holders.

Day passes will open up on Monday, with no reservations. But if Snowbasin gets too busy and officials have to cap it off, announcements will go out online and along the road down below.


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