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

C.E. “Ned” Bentley owned a garage on Shaughnessy Avenue, now Lakeshore Drive in Summerland. Bentley later went on to serve on Summerland’s council and was recognized with the Good Citizen Award in 1939. (Summerland Museum photo)
Former Summerland reeve once ran garage

C.E. “Ned” Bentley was a prominent figure in Summerland’s past.

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is offering home compost bins at reduced prices until March 25. (Contributed)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen offers compost bins at wholesale costs

Pricing offer at participating stores in place until March 25

Council has left some grant money in reserves in case there is a need later in the year. File photo
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Paramjit Bogarh, connected to the murder of his wife in Vernon 35 years ago, has been relerased on full parole, one year after he was sentenced to five years in prison for accessory after the fact. (Contributed)
Full parole for ex-Okanagan man who helped wife’s alleged killer escape

Paramjit Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after helping brother flee Canada

Displays and programming have continued at the Vernon Public Art Gallery despite pandemic restrictions. (Lianne Viau file photo)
Support keeps North Okanagan art groups’ lights on

Despite pandemic restrictions, art gallery and others sustaining the storm

Most Read