With the first snow of the season coming to the US, anticipation among outdoor enthusiasts is growing for the coming winter. For many skiers, British Columbia is a winter destination. While Canada will likely not be open to the United States for travel due to the pandemic, the BC ski resorts are gearing up for operations during COVID-19.
For first, social distancing and required masks in certain areas look to be a given. Whistler Blackcomb, along with other Vail Resorts will require face covering to have access to the mountain. Areas, where face coverings will be required, include indoor spaces, gondolas, chair-lifts, dining areas, and lift-lines. Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, outlined the company’s safety protocols during COVID-19 which will be in place for all 34 resorts.
“It has been our goal to design an apporach that can remain in place for all of the 2020-21 season,” proclaimed Katz
On top of having to wear face coverings, all who travel to Whistler Blackcomb will be required to reserve their spot in advance. This will be to limit and understand customer count on a daily basis. It is unclear how many resorts will implement a reservation system within British Columbia, although face covering will likely be required everywhere. Whitewater Ski Resort, in Nelson, B.C. has already said that social distancing and face coverings will be required in the resort.
Another major issue for the Canadian resorts will be staffing. Large amounts of staff come from the UK, Australia, and South America. With limits on travel and visa access, it will be difficult to fill every opening. Some resorts in Alberta are already actively looking for locals to fill the seasonal positions.
With so many ski operations in British Columbia and Alberta relying on international guests, the season will most likely be a hard one, at least financially. These resorts will be relying heavily on the Canadian base of skiers to fill the gaps. A strong reminder that riding local this winter will be more good than you can imagine. While large resorts and companies might be able to weather the storm of COVID-19, others might not be able to.