Today, Tuesday, January 12, the Government of Ontario announced a second state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic after new modeling has suggested daily cases will double within the next month. With this terrible news and new projections, what can we expect for the rest of the current ski season—or have we already seen the end of it?
During a news conference last Friday, January 8, Ontario Premier Doug Ford responded to a reporter asking about the status of ski hills by saying that it was the “last thing on my mind.”
Back on December 26, 2020, the Government of Ontario closed all ski hills in the province until at least January 23. Many still have their hopes up thinking that the ski hills may open then, but with continually rising cases since then plus the recent comments made by the premier, those hopes have begun to dwindle.
What are the ski hills doing?
Up until today, many hills were confident the Government of Ontario would allow them to reopen at some point this season.
On Saturday, Blue Mountain was blowing snow at almost full capacity on over a dozen runs while groomers were spotted at Craigleith, Georgian Peaks, and Osler. This continual work and preparation demonstrate that hills are ready to start spinning their lifts whenever they are allowed.
In the meantime, plenty of ski hills have opted to offering other activities for their guests, most prominently tobogganing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and ice skating.
Ski hills are also encouraging people to follow the rules by discouraging them to hike up and ski the hills themselves. Although groomers are out working on the runs, they are purposely leaving their cat tracks in order to make for a rough ride down on skis.
With ski hills in Ontario initially blindsided by their closures, it will be interesting to see how ski hills will fare with going one and a half seasons without skiing, with the exception of the two-week window in December. Bigger hills like Blue Mountain may survive with the help of their parent companies, while smaller hills such as Hidden Valley or Dagmar may go under. Only time will tell.