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

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Laketown Ranch to welcome campers this summer

Sunfest site will provide camping amenities between May and September

‘I chose my children’s breakfasts purely based on what dishes would fit best into the dishwasher.’ (Bobbi Venier photo)
Sarah Simpson Column: Delayed gratification and the benefits of efficiency

I was driving with just my daughter the other day and we… Continue reading

The frequent disruptions to water service in Chemainus are expected to be a lot less after North Cowichan replaces the Smiley Road water main. (File photo)
Smiley Road water main in Chemainus to be replaced

$890,000 project expected to be completed this spring

Cowichan Tribes open up vaccinations for members who are 40 and older. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes opens up vaccinations for members 18 and older

Vaccination sessions to be held over weekend

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

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

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read