Photo courtesy Big White Ski Resort

Snow with the flow!

Skiing in British Columbia

  • Feb. 10, 2021 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Susan Quinn

Alpine resorts across British Columbia have re-tooled winter operations in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic that hit last year in the prime of the 2019-20 season.

This year, many resorts were poised to open on a solid snow season in early and mid-November when BC’s medical health officer temporarily put the brakes on non-essential travel, including travel for recreation. Operators are holding out hope that the travel restrictions will be lifted as the province “flattens the curve” on COVID-19.

“The adrenaline of opening day is a favourite part of the year for many of us, and admittedly, this year is especially significant,” wrote Christopher Nicolson in a November 2020 Canada West Ski Area Association newsletter. The CWSAA is considered the voice of the ski industry in western Canada.

“The ski season is no longer a concept or distant abstract viewed through a pandemic haze…it is here and we are in it.”

www.bigwhite.com

TRAIL

Red Mountain

Red Mountain is ready for guests. With COVID-19 protocols in place, the ski and snowboard experience may look a bit different this year.

Some of the changes include having a parking attendant in the parking lot, the removal of guest services’ indoor area and a move to solely outdoors. Visitors are asked to boot up before they get to the lodge, as indoor boot-up areas have been removed. With food services, staff recommends spreading out the time you want to eat to avoid a lunch rush. Online ordering and reservations will be available, and there will be outdoor seating in some areas.

Red Mountain opened in December.

redresort.com

CRANBROOK

Fernie and Kimberley Alpine Resorts are open for visitors.

Resorts of the Canadian Rockies suspended operations March 15 and cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 winter season at all their western Canadian resorts shortly thereafter.

“Here at RCR our No. 1 priority is the safety, health and well-being of our guests, team members and the communities which we live,” president and Chief Resorts Officer John Shea said.

skircr.com

VANCOUVER ISLAND

Mount Washington Alpine Resort

“There has never been a time when I anticipated the arrival of a winter season more than this year,” Mount Washington Alpine Resort general manager Dean Prentice said. “The magic of winter—snow silently falling, the crisp winter air and the excitement of linking turns on every unique run is always special.”

He added: “This year it’s safe to say ‘special’ could be expanded to include therapeutic. In a sense, we need this ski season for our emotional and physical wellbeing as much as for the enjoyment. We believe recreation is one of the essential food groups—now more than ever.”

Embracing unexpected changes is going to be critical to a successful ski season, he added. Season’s pass holders will be given priority, and capacity will be managed by limiting the number of daily lift tickets, if necessary. An online advanced reservation system has been created in the event terrain is limited.

Mount Washington opened in December, with a base of both natural and man-made snow.

mountwashington.ca

Mount Cain

Mount Cain is playing its 2020-21 season cautiously. Accommodation bookings were being put on hold until mid-November. Opening day was tentatively scheduled for December 12, depending on snow and provincial travel recommendations.

The Mount Cain Alpine Park Society has its COVID-19 operating strategy in place. Check website for updates.

mountcain.com

whistlerblackcomb.com

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain opened with limited terrain access on November 20. In addition to the requirement of face coverings inside all resort facilities, access will only be granted with advanced Skyride reservations. Visitors may reserve upload and download times as part of their lift ticket purchases or with the passholder Skyride reservations. Loading of individual chairlifts will be limited to family or household groupings.

grousemountain.com

Mount Seymour

Mt. Seymour has introduced staggered, reservable four-hour time slots on weekend and holidays for visitors with season’s passes or purchased lift tickets. This will help manage capacity while keeping to COVID-19 protocols.

All activities at Mt. Seymour will need to be booked and paid for in advance this year.

mtseymour.ca

Cypress Mountain

Cypress Mountain on Vancouver’s North Shore was the first coastal resort to open in 2020-21, opening their downhill area on November 13. Like other resorts, its plan is to ease into operations as conditions dictate. Lift tickets and tickets to the Gnarly Tube Park need to be purchased in advance.

cypressmountain.com

This story originally appeared in SOAR, the inflight magazine for Pacific Coastal Airlines.

British ColumbiaLifestyleskiing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)
Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

Voting day for the upcoming Central Okanagan Board of Education by-election is June 26. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan school board election set for June 26

Kelowna voters will go the polls to fill vacant Kelowna trustee seat

Two bikes that were stolen after a West Kelowna parking garage was looted on April 3. Photo: Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan
Parking garage looted in West Kelowna

A car was broken into and six storage lockers were ransacked

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read