Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Lake Louise ski resort opened on Oct. 29 this year due to early snowfall and cold temperatures.

The Canadian Press

Western Canadians tired of isolating at home are filling the slopes at mountain ski resorts that have opened earlier than usual despite worries about surging cases of COVID-19.

Two Banff National Park resorts have had their earliest openings on record thanks to the combination of abundant snowfall and the cold temperatures needed for machine-made snow – 95-year-old Banff Norquay opened Oct. 24 and Lake Louise, about 40 years old in its current form, opened Oct. 29.

Nakiska Ski Area, about 100 kilometres west of Calgary, opened for weekend preview skiing last weekend (it goes seven days a week as of Nov. 27), and Sunshine Village Ski Resort near Banff opened on Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re excited to be opening but, no surprise, it’s very much a different year this year,” said Christopher Nicolson, CEO of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, which represents 92 ski hills west of the Manitoba-Ontario boundary.

“One of the key messages we would have for our guests is plan ahead, look online, understand what the pandemic protocols will be at the ski area. Do that in advance of arriving.”

He said ski areas have been focused on how to operate safely with the COVID-19 pandemic since being closed last March in the initial pandemic lockdowns, with many fine-tuning procedures during their summer hiking and biking seasons.

Ski areas are generally requiring guests to wear masks while lining up, riding the ski lifts and warming up indoors to control coronavirus spreading. Rules vary on how many people are allowed on chair lifts and gondolas and whether you can buy tickets at the resort.

Recent surges of COVID-19 cases in Alberta have prompted suggestions that a general lockdown similar to the one that closed ski resorts in March be reimposed.

“It feels surreal to be open and to welcome guests back to the slopes after our eight-month hiatus. We hope to be able to stay open,” Sunshine spokeswoman Kendra Scurfield said, adding the resorts are providing safe and healthy outdoor recreation.

Sunshine has six lifts operating and reported 25 centimetres of “sweet Rocky Mountain powder” in the past week.

Story continues below advertisement

Lift tickets sales have been brisk at Norquay despite having only one of its four chairlifts open, marketing director Simon Moffat said.

“I think it started snowing on the 11th of October this year and it really didn’t stop for a couple of weeks, and we got some really cold temps in that time,” he said.

“We were lucky with over half a metre of snow that fell and allowed us to open up early.”

The resort is selling tickets by reservation only and on the first day reached a self-imposed cap on sales to limit crowding in view of the pandemic.

At Lake Louise, meanwhile, director of communications Dan Markham said seven of 10 lifts were open as of Tuesday, along with 50 of 160 runs. Attendance has been above expectations thanks to “pent-up need.”

The resort recommends buying passes or tickets before coming to the hill but does sell tickets there and has no limits on attendance owing to the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Markham said the resort will have separate lineups for those who want to go up alone or in a trusted cohort group on the six-person gondola but will allow loading to capacity if everyone has a mask.

Nakiska is the only ski hill open so far among the six owned by the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, spokesman Matt Mosteller said. Its three B.C. resorts and two in Quebec are expected to open over the next month depending on conditions.

He said the company has decided to let guests determine how they use the eight-person gondola that is the only way to get to the upper part of the ski area at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, B.C., this season.

Those who are skiing or snowboarding with members of the their cohort will be able to load the gondola to capacity but admittance will be restricted to a maximum of two unrelated people to ensure physical distancing, he said.

Mr. Mosteller said the company is also experimenting with an antimicrobial coating on the interior of the gondola cabins as further protection against COVID-19 on surfaces.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies