Alaska’s largest ski resort has a plan to operate during the pandemic. What will the slopes be like this year?

Girdwood and Turnagain Arm from the top of Mount Alyeska (Courtesy of Karinna Gomez)

Alaska’s biggest ski resort cut last season short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a new operations plan in place, Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is set to get the lifts running again this winter — but there will be some changes. Most notably, mandatory face coverings.

“No mask, no service here at Alyeska Resort,” said Marketing Director Ben Napolitano. “That includes all public spaces, that includes lift lines and that includes being inside the aerial tramway as well.”

The one exception is when skiers are actively moving on the slopes.

Getting to the top of the slopes will look a little different, too: riders won’t get too close to strangers on chairlifts or the tram.

“Inside the tram we’ll have a reduced capacity per tram car, as well as sanitizing between rides,” said Napolitano. “And for the quad chairlifts, we will be loading them as twos, unless the group is a family and have arrived together.”

And the lines to get on the lifts and tram will be set up to encourage social distancing.

Napolitano said reservations will be required for gear rentals, and gear will be sanitized each day. The day lodge will be closed this winter, and the resort will try to limit cash transactions.

Ticket prices remain at $89 for adults on weekends and holidays and about $1500 for an adult season pass.

Despite these safety measures, Napolitano says there are some things that won’t change this winter.

“Really the fundamentals of skiing and riding, and the excitement that comes with a snowstorm or expanding into new terrain or a powder day, or sunny, spring conditions — The excitement and the base around skiing and riding won’t change,” said Napolitano.

The ski resort’s opening day will depend on snow conditions.