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Snow is falling at Inland NW ski resorts. Here's how the season will look different this year

Schweitzer Mountain says season passes are going at record levels, which will require them to limit the number of daily lift tickets they're able to sell.
Credit: KREM
Kellog Peak on Silver Mountain

Silver Mountain and Schweitzer Mountain Resort both saw their first dustings of snow for the season this week, and skiers around the Inland Northwest are getting excited to hit the slopes. 

The window to get deals on season passes is also closing. Silver Mountain's season pass sale ends on the Nov. 11, and Schweitzer's ends on Oct. 31. 

However, like everything, ski season is going to look different this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Schweitzer Mountain released a statement earlier in September outlining some of the changes the resort anticipated making when the season did officially start. The biggest among them: limiting day ticket sales. 

The resort says season pass sales are currently at record highs, which will "certainly require daily limits on available lift tickets in order to maintain social distancing expectations," reads a statement from the Schweitzer's CEO Tom Chasse. 

The resort will use historical data broken down by day/pass type to determine how many lift tickets can be sold on any particular day. The number of lift tickets available will be dependent on how many pass holders the resort expects to ski that day. The lift tickets available to sell will be presold through the resort's e-commerce platform. 

The resort doesn't plan on selling any open-ended/flex tickets, or tickets that aren't date specific.

Chasse went on to write that the resort will always allow guests booked through the lodge to buy lift tickets, but that the resort can't guarantee the same for people lodging through Airbnb, or partner hotels in town. 

In an earlier statement, Chasse said the resort anticipates mandating face coverings in all indoor spaces. 

Silver Mountain said they expect to have changes to operations due to coronavirus listed on their website soon, and have already outlined how season pass holders could be refunded should COVID-19 related closures occur for extended periods of time. 

If a closure due to the coronavirus occurs for 7 days in a row, or 25 days total between December 18 and April 3, pass holders will receive credit for those days towards a 2021-2022 season pass, according to Silver Mountain's website

An example the resort gave explained that for a 28 day closure, a pass holder would receive a $100 credit on a pass that originally cost $369. 

Additionally, the city of Kellogg is still under a mask mandate, which requires everyone in an indoor and outdoor public place to wear a face covering when others are present.