PARK CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – This year, Park City Mountain implemented a reservation system to help maintain social distancing and keep people safe — but some skiers are complaining about not being able to get reservations.

“Because we’re operating on limited terrain, and because we’re managing capacity, that reservation system is really important right now so we can give people the space they need to stay safe and to enjoy skiing,” said Jessica Miller with Park City Mountain.

On Friday, five runs were opened to skiing — usually, by the middle of winter, there are 330 runs open. Until Dec. 8, the only ones who can make reservations are pass holders. After that, the general public can get a day pass, with reservation. But even pass holders have, in some cases, had difficulty getting reservations — especially on opening day.

“We got a little bit nervous knowing that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to get on the mountain for a while,” said Michelle, who was skiing with her family on Wednesday.

“However, one of the things that we’ve really figured out is that if you just go on in the morning and check, people are canceling. And we’ve actually been able to get on the mountain every day except opening day,” added Michelle.

And that’s the message from those at PCMR — keep checking reservations every morning.

“If you’re not able to make a reservation — and I know the early season is tending to book out early because of the limited terrain — what I have to say is keep going on and checking. The system is fluid, so as folks cancel a reservation, a reservation will open up,” said Miller.

Miller says that every Wednesday, reservations open up for the next week and a half, so it’s important to check Wednesday if you’re hoping to plan your future day on the slopes.

But longtime Park City resident and skier Jennifer Valaika sees another problem with the reservation system: where do people go on a powder day if they haven’t planned in advance and don’t have a reservation?

“I fear it will drive some more people to the backcountry. People who shouldn’t exactly be out in the backcountry,” said Valaika.

“So, a potential for more people getting hurt in avalanches or dying? I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of people trying to snatch up backcountry ski gear, I don’t know if all those people should be back there,” added Valaika.

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