Skiers and Snowboarders Rejoice as White Pass Ski Area Bustles


When skiers, snowboarders and winter enthusiasts head to White Pass Ski Area this winter, it will be a much different experience than years past. It will be more reminiscent of a time before large day-lodge buildings with restaurants and lounge areas, back when people’s vehicles were their day lodge and where they ate their lunch.

White Pass Ski Area has been using the hashtag #YourCarIsYourDayLodge on its social media platforms, preparing customers for what to expect when they arrive. White Pass opened Nov. 27 and, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and state guidelines, only restrooms and food services will be open in guest areas.

Food and beverage will be available on the mountain, along with food service on the deck, including grab-and-go items available at the Day Lodge, High Camp and Kracker Barrel store. However, no indoor seating is currently available. One new food option is wood-fired pizza at the Old No. 3 chairlift, which opened last Friday.

“Even if you just drive up to drive around and hang out and grab a pizza, it’s a lot of fun to watch people right near the beginner area,” said Kathleen Goyette, marketing director for White Pass Ski Area. “It’s a fun little area to grab some food and be outside with some friends. It’s a good thing.”

All ski resorts are operating under state guidelines, issued Nov. 16 to include procedures for loading and managing lines at ski lifts. Ski resorts must also follow restaurant and retail guidance in eating areas and with equipment rental. Food services will strictly be a grab-and-go model, and customers are encouraged to eat their food in the vehicles, as well as boot up and put their gear on there as well. No locker or bag storage will be available and everything must be stored in the rider’s vehicle.

Physical distancing protocols will be in place for both indoor and outdoor spaces, and face masks are required in the base area, lift lines and while riding the lift. The only time a rider can pull their facemask down is while they’re riding downhill.

Multiple hand-sanitizing stations have been placed in areas accessible to guests and staff. White Pass Ski Area plans to clean and disinfect high-touch areas, and will conduct daily employee wellness checks and have protocols for those exhibiting symptoms.

Another big change is day-ticket sales have moved to online-only, where customers can buy or reload tickets, to help with capacity limitations. There is no reservation system for tickets, though season-pass holders can go directly to the lift. 

“If you’re just looking for lower-area or full-mountain lift tickets, we do need advanced purchase to occur,” Goyette said.

White Pass expects everyone to be able to get a ticket on most days of the season; however, you will have to plan ahead on high-use days during the holiday periods (after Christmas and on the three-day weekends).

Capacity limits are not mandated at this time but could be possible in the future. The plan is for season pass holders to retain full access;  however, White Pass will limit day ticket sales to avoid overcrowding. Lift tickets are not being sold out weeks in advance, though tickets for this past Saturday were sold out by 7 a.m. the day before. Goyette recommends buying lift tickets at least 48 hours in advance.

“It’s important to note that once you purchase an online lift ticket, they are non-refundable and non-transferrable,” Goyette said. “People really do need to make sure they’re able to come on that specific day.”

Lessons and rentals are still available and will run similar to years’ past, though there will be some modified protocol to heading into the rental area, which is currently under development. 

Goyette said White Pass is also seeing a lot more visitors use the inner-tubing area and the Nordic Center, which is 11 miles of trails for both beginners and expert skiers, snowshoers and fat biking. Neither of those two areas require advance purchase and make for a good backup plan for anyone who planned to ski or snowboard but it didn’t work out. For more information, visit