vail resorts lines
Long lines have become the norm at Vail Resorts; (photo/Natasha Aleksandra via Shutterstock)

Lift Line Liberation: Vail Will Limit Daily Ticket Sales During ’22-’23 Season

Last season, skiers roundly blasted Vail Resorts for crowded slopes and long lines. Now, the company has announced daily limits for lift tickets.

Powder-hounds have a new reason to buy passes in advance at Vail properties this year: They might not get to ski without them.

Vail Resorts today announced daily limits for lift tickets. The company will place a cap on tickets for every day and at all 37 resorts it owns during the coming season, according to a news release.

With the limits, Vail seeks to “preserve the guest experience at each resort,” the company said.

Doing so will likely amount to shutting some prospective guests out. The company will not keep a reserve of tickets for walkups, so if all the tickets for a particular day sell in advance, visitors can’t buy them at the window.

The change comes after Vail Resorts faced widespread criticism during the 2021-2022 season. A cycle of worker shortages and overcrowding produced well-documented complaints and negative media attention for the resort giant.

 

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Plan Ahead

This year, maximum capacities will likely vary depending on the mountain and resort, a Vail spokesperson said. That’s why the company is “encouraging” prospective skiers and riders to purchase tickets in advance.

Whether the policy or volume will change to accommodate peak days like weekends and holidays remains to be seen.

Lift ticket availability will be visible on resort websites in the coming weeks, Vail said.

winter ski lift
(Photo/Shutterstock)

Tickets on Sale Now; Pass-Holders Unaffected, Vail Says

Vail Resorts already started selling advance tickets as new benefits and resorts across pass options were posted last week. Prices will increase after Labor Day, and “we’ll see price increases throughout the year,” a Vail spokesperson said.

Although you now have to plan further ahead to guarantee you get into any Vail resort this year, plenty of options for advance purchases could help ease the hassle. Visitors can buy multiple forms of tickets in advance, Vail said, including season passes, Epic Day Passes, or standard individual lift tickets.

And most passes, including Epic Day Passes and pass-holder benefit tickets, are not subject to the limits.

So while pass-holders will not experience daily limits, the mountains themselves will observe daily capacities. How resorts will observe those capacities in practice, with an unlimited number of pass-holders still showing up each day, remained unclear at press time.

The limits will also not impact guests enrolled in ski and ride school lessons that include lift access. The policy also will not affect access for employees, or anyone with dependent pass access, Vail Resorts said.

Yes, It’s Possible You Won’t Get on the Mountain

Is it possible that when you find your day on the calendar, you’ll find it fully booked and be hosed? Possibly. Like any season, it’s most likely to occur during school breaks and holidays.

Each resort’s occupancy capacity may differ based on various county and state protocols. It’s possible that the number of runs and the size of the resort also play a role, but Vail declined to say what impacts each resort’s capacity.

Is there any possibility Vail Resorts will change capacities or ticket availability as the season progresses?

Vail declined to answer.

“We do not anticipate that we will limit lift tickets every day of the season, across all of our resorts,” Vail said. “However, this is a lever that will allow us to manage the experience on the most popular days.”

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Andrew McLemore
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An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.