Business not-as-usual at Thompson Okanagan ski resorts due to COVID-19 | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Business not-as-usual at Thompson Okanagan ski resorts due to COVID-19

Easy Street run on Big White.
Image Credit: Contributed: Big White
September 20, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Thompson Okanagan ski resorts are adjusting their practices to meet the COVID-19 regulations set out by the provincial health officer and ensure visitors are staying safe.

To get an idea of how the changes are unfurling, we out a list together. 

Big White Ski Resort

Masks will be required at all indoor facilities, in lift lines, while loading and unloading and on the gondola, according to Big White Ski Resort’s website.

Night skiing, tubing, skating and Tot Town Daycare operations have been suspended for the upcoming winter season due to COVID-19. Lift operators will operate in the own lift bubbles and will operate the same lifts for the season.

The on-mountain shuttle, shopping shuttle, dining sleigh tours, Kelowna Rocket Hockey games trips Freeride, Ladies Day, Masters Monday, Masters Week, After School Program, Never Ever Days, cross country and snowshoe lessons have also been suspended during the 2020/21 season, according to the website.

In addition to new mask protocols, tickets must be purchased online in advance and collected at ticket pick-up boxes.

The new online, no-touch day ticket dispensing system will be the only way to purchase a day ticket. This ticket automatically offers customers 25 per cent off the retail price of the day. The resort will also not be accepting cash for the 2020/21 season.

Season passes can only be purchased online or at the Ambrosi ticket office. All passes must be collected at the Ambrosi office before opening day, or at the outdoor ticket window across from the Kids Centre after opening day.

Ski patrols will only be responding to trauma patients who will be asked to wear masks before being treated.

Rentals will need to be pre-booked and prepaid before arrival at Big White and will be distributed through the Village Centre Mall location. The Happy Valley and Kids’ Centre locations will be closed for the season.

For the most updated resort protocols and a full list of COVID-19 impacts, visit Big White’s website.

READ MORE: Big White proceeding with an abundance of caution after COVID-19 concerns raised

Sun Peaks Ski Resort

Limited alpine season passes have sold out at Sun Peaks, but those eager to hit the slopes can still purchase day-passes online. Winter peak cards are not available due to COVID-19.

Day-passes will be limited and sold online in advance. Details will be available on the sales in October.

The resort is also implementing a radio frequency identification system this winter to provide access at all mountain lifts.

“RFID will provide faster and easier access to the mountain for all guests while at the same time reducing frequent interactions with staff to help promote safety and physical distancing. Full details on the implementation of RFID and what it means for resort guests will be released this fall,” according to the resort’s website.

The West Bowl T-bar will not be operating this winter due to maintenance and operational issues and the new Crystal bowl chairlift is on track for opening this ski season.

For the most updated information visit the resort’s website.

SilverStar Mountain Resort

SilverStar will open for the 2020/21 ski season starting Friday, Dec. 4. Nordic trails will open on Nov. 28 with only limited access to facilities, according to the resort’s website. 

To begin the 2020/21 season, the resort will offer only private lessons for related parties of up to five and will not offer any group lessons nor any multi-week programs including the Rippers Program for children.  Daycare will not be available and parking will need to be reserved online.

Mountain tours will not be available for the ski season, but will be in the village to assist customers, according to the resort's website.

Seasonal lockers will not be provided. Fat bike and snowshoe trails will be maintained but tickets will be limited, according to the resort’s website.

There will be very limited events this year that meet crowd limit protocols. All SilverStar signature events have been cancelled.

Tube Town operations and the number of customers allowed on the skating pond will be limited and no night skiing will take place. Ski and snowboard rentals must be pre-booked online.

Passholders and day visitors will be able to pick up passes and tickets without coming to the ticket window. For guests booking season passes, they will be mailed out to them (Please select "mail out" during buying process.

There will be a kiosk in the resort base areas for in-person on site ticket pickup, and those in SilverStar holiday lodging properties will have tickets delivered in advance of their arrival.

For more information visit the resort’s website

Apex Mountain Resort

After closing early due to COVID-19, the resort has issued a price freeze for the season pass rates if holders had a 2019/20 pass.

Pass holders will also receive two free lift tickets and six lift tickets for other B.C. mountain resorts.

Season passes will be available to purchase online Aug. 15, to Oct. 4.

Face coverings will be required indoors, in lift lines, when customers are riding and when they’re disembarking, said general manager James Shulman.

The resort will not be doing a reservation system for skiing and the resort is currently working on a way to purchase day tickets online, but walk up purchases will still be accepted, he said.

Ski, skate and snowboard rentals will still be available with online registration, and all facilities will still be open, Shulman, adding that things may change depending on COVID-19.

Change room facilities will be closed as they’re confined spaces, he said.

On the quad chair, four people can ride on the chair if they’re within their bubbles, but two single will be able to ride together on opposite sides.

Updates will be posted on Apex’s website, within the next week, Shulman said.


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