What To Expect At Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts In the 2020/2021 Season

Person skiing down the slops in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is gearing up for some fun, safe, and socially-distanced skiing and snowboarding this winter. However, much like the rest of 2020, things are going to look a little different this ski season. While skiing and snowboarding do have the advantage of being outdoors in the fresh Tahoe air where you can keep your distance from others, Lake Tahoe ski resorts have still been working together to put some extra precautions in place to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. With that in mind, we wanted to give you a heads up about what to expect as you’re planning a ski trip to Lake Tahoe.

Masks Required

In an effort to keep guests and employees safe, all Ski California Member Resorts —including Heavenly Mountain Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and more —will require face coverings. This includes both indoor and outdoor spaces, on chairlifts and gondolas, and during ski or snowboarding lessons.

Limited Occupancy & Social Distancing

Most ski resorts will also have indoor and outdoor measures in place to promote social distancing, including limiting the number of people in various spaces at one time and reducing contact with people outside your own party.

  • Expect to be seated with your party only on chair lifts and gondolas.
  • Many of the ski resort restaurants, quick-serve options, and bars may be operating at limited capacity and have limited menu items.
  • Many resorts are encouraging visitors to bring their own water and snacks to minimize crowding and wait times in the various food and beverage areas.
  • Ski lessons and group classes will be capped at most locations and participants will be kept a safe distance apart.

In general, do your best to follow precautions and remain a safe distance from others who are not a part of your group.


Since many resorts are attempting to manage crowds, reservations are likely going to be in place throughout the season. While not all Lake Tahoe ski resorts are enforcing a reservation system at this time, you are still encouraged to plan ahead and make reservations in order to guarantee access to the lifts on their selected dates.

Specifically, Heavenly, which is located just steps from our hotel, has put a reservation system in place to help control crowds while doing their best to minimize wait times and delays. Here are some of the key details of their 2020-21 reservation policies, particularly for pass holders…

  • Pass holders will be required to make a reservation before arriving at the mountain.
  • The early season will be reserved for pass holders only and no lift tickets will be for sale until December 8, 2020.
  • In addition to week-of reservations, pass holders can also book up to seven Priority Reservation Days for the core season (or as many days of access as they have on their pass if less than seven). Priority Reservation bookings begin November 6, 2020 and are exclusive to pass holders until December 7, 2020.
  • Lift tickets go on sale on December 8, 2020, on a limited basis based on the number of spaces available after the pass holder reservation period.
  • All lift tickets will be sold with a reservation for a specific resort on a specific date. You can purchase online or via call centers only, not at the ticket window at the resort.

Be sure to check out the Heavenly website for more information and up-to-date reservation details.

In addition to reservations at the ski lifts, planning ahead and making reservations for all areas of your trip, such as restaurants and hotels, is a good idea. Many businesses are still operating on a reservation-only basis as a way to manage capacity and keep everyone safe. Consider making a reservation online or via phone whenever possible.

Health Checks & Sanitation

Of course, all ski resorts and the Lake Tahoe community as a whole continues to take COVID-19 very seriously. With that in mind, health screenings and increased sanitation efforts will likely be the norm throughout the ski season.

  • Many Tahoe resorts, including Heavenly and Sierra-at-Tahoe, are requiring daily health checks for all employees.
  • Heavenly is also requiring ski and ride school participants to submit an online self-health screening prior to arriving at the mountain for their lesson.
  • High-touch areas, such as restrooms and entrances/exits, will be cleaned frequently.
  • Many resorts are promoting or exclusively operating with cashless payment methods (online or credit/debit cards) for a more sanitary experience.

Of course, if any staff or guests are feeling ill or experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they are encouraged to stay home and quarantine appropriately.

Opening Dates

If you’re wondering when ski resorts open in Lake Tahoe, we’ve got the scoop for you! While an optimal skiing and snowboard experience is always dependent on the weather, many of the resorts are gearing up and getting ready to open right away in November and early December. Below are the planned opening dates of some of the most popular Tahoe-area resorts near our hotel:

You can check out more opening dates and reservation information from Ski California.

Changes & Updates

As with most of 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic in general, operating procedures are subject to change. We’ll do our best to keep this page updated as we head into the ski season, but things can change quickly.

Your best bet is to be proactive and keep an eye on the ski resort’s website or contact them directly, especially as your Lake Tahoe ski trip gets closer. Of course, if you have questions about your reservation here at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, don’t hesitate to contact us.

This season is going to be a little different for everyone, so we are asking for your patience, respect, and understanding as we make this a safe, fun, and enjoyable winter season for everyone!

Start Planning Your 2020-2021 Tahoe Ski Adventure Now!

After months of stress and spending more time indoors, doesn’t some fresh powder and crisp Tahoe air sound amazing? Now’s the time to book your ski vacation and score some great deals!

If you’re looking for a great hotel near Heavenly or one of the local ski resorts, we’d love it if you stay with us. We’re located right in the center of the Lake Tahoe winter action and have all sorts of great amenities for skiers and snowboarders, including:

Like the ski resorts, we’re doing our part to keep guests safe with expanded safety and sanitation efforts, so you can rest easy and enjoy your vacation!

What are you waiting for? We’ll see you on the Heavenly Gondola!

LTRH Book now