Yosemite’s Badger Pass Will Not Open This Season

The multinational hospitality company which operates Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park has announced the ski area will not operate for winter 2020-21. Badger Pass is one of only three US ski areas located in a National Park and features four fixed grip chairlifts and 90 acres of terrain.

Chairlifts at Badger Pass will sit idle this winter.

“Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, Badger Pass Ski Area will not open for the 2020-21 season. This includes both Nordic and downhill operations,” read a statement from Aramark Corporation, which operates Badger under a long term agreement with the National Park Service. “We are in the process of contacting season pass holders with the option of a season pass rollover or refund. Thank you for your continued interest in California’s original ski area, and we hope to see you next season,” the statement continued. Publicly-traded Aramark reported a $328 million operating loss in the most recent quarter with revenue down 46 percent due to the pandemic.

8 thoughts on “Yosemite’s Badger Pass Will Not Open This Season

  1. Eric G September 21, 2020 / 11:10 am

    This is ridiculous. There is no reason why they can’t come up with an operating plan. However, I suspect it may have more to do with the State of California’s burdensome restrictions.

    Search for Yellowstone National Park COVID-19 cases. There are some interesting articles about how park workers and concessionaires were required to be tested throughout the summer and despite large crowds, there were only two positive COVID-19 cases, both at the beginning of summer when the largest crowds had yet to arrive.

    I’m not a doctor or epidemiologist, but how can you not come to a conclusion from Yellowstone that the virus doesn’t easily spread in outdoor environments?

    Experts have stated their fear for the coming winter is people once again will congregating indoors. To me, it seems logical that government officials should be embracing outdoor activities, including snow sports to keep people recreating outside.


    • Peter Landsman September 21, 2020 / 11:19 am

      Keep in mind the employee housing situation. Yellowstone reduced staffing this summer by 60 percent and its concessionaire Xanterra by 80 percent. In Grand Teton, Vail Resorts shuttered most of its operations entirely. The parks were open but facilities which require lots of staff were not.


    • Donald Reif September 21, 2020 / 12:37 pm

      Yes, blame the lockdowns for this, not the virus.


    • G1 September 21, 2020 / 4:57 pm

      Aramark, which owns Delaware North who runs the General Stores and several hotels in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, did not open some of those hotels this summer, despite the huge crowds towards the end. They also just lost a lawsuit from some former guides who tried to start a union. My guess is, they are unable to open many of these facilities because they are unable to get the J-1Visa kids to come work.


      • Patricia September 22, 2020 / 5:35 am

        Aramark does not own Delaware North. They are competing entities.


  2. Mr. Incredible September 21, 2020 / 11:21 am

    Sad news. I suspect that this will end up being permanent since the NPS has been trying to fade away active recreation assets for some time (especially if there are private alternatives nearby). Aramark’s business is largely in running employee cafeterias, airport concessions, etc. Those sorts of businesses, especially the employee services, may never completely come back as businesses figure out how cost effective it is for their employees to stay home and feed themselves in their own kitchens rather than provide a cafeteria. I’m guessing that Badger Pass was either a negligible contribution to Aramark’s profits or was being subsidized.


  3. Robert D September 21, 2020 / 3:30 pm

    It’s purely a staffing / housing issue. Aramark can’t cram four people into a tiny tent cabin due to COVID. So they are focusing the staff they can house onto the most profitable areas / actiivities. That’s why the Ahwahnee is open but so many activities are closed. Besides, who in their right mind would want to be paid $10 an hour to live with three others in a tent cabin with COVID running around rampant?


  4. Ryan September 21, 2020 / 10:37 pm

    Not related to Badger, but Eagle Point ski area in Utah has been evacuated due to a fire nearby


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