In a normal year, pulling off a powder chase has a lot of moving parts and can be a headache. This year, resorts requiring lift ticket reservations had started yet another plate spinning.
In a normal chase, which is generally orchestrated in the days leading up to your coveted powder day, you can expect to do the following in a normal year:
- Rental Car
- Time off work
All four of those things take quite a bit of precision to pull off. Timing is everything and if you aren’t punctual, it can cost you.
Now, consider the elements added this year:
- Day ticket reservations (save for Ikon/Epic/Indy pass holders)
- Destination’s level of COVID-19 restrictions (i.e. restaurants, lodging, etc.)
The COVID-19 restrictions are a wrinkle that need to be considered. As this winter has progressed, however, it’s becoming less of an issue. If another surge of the virus came about this year, though, skiers should make sure they can eat and stay in their mountain towns.
The day ticket reservations are the biggest wild card. I’ve had a handful of chases thwarted this year by sold out Fridays and Saturdays. This weekend, for instance, some storms targeting the Tetons had my eyes on Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee.
Nope! All sold out Friday, Saturday and Sunday at both resorts.
This is par for the course at a lot of the most popular ski areas, but I did have some luck this weekend in the Pacific northwest. (Check back in Sunday for a report.)
The bottom line: If you don’t have your tickets booked 3-5 days out, you aren’t skiing on a day ticket this year.
Loophole: Get yourself a friend with an Ikon or Epic pass and use their friends/family tickets. You can get those at the window on the day of, no questions asked and with a 20% discount.