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COVID-19 halts Canadian ski season

Friday, March 20th 2020, 3:19 pm - COVID-19 has forced ski resorts to suspend their operations across Canada

Spring skiing in Canada can offer some of the best conditions. However, this year the conditions won't be tracked and the lifts wont operate. As far as we know, spring skiing in Canada is cancelled.

COVID-19 has forced ski resorts to suspend their operations.

“Antoine Mountain in Mattawan, Ontario, closed on March 16th. It was with a very heavy heart that this decision was made as we have incredible ski conditions right now and so many more bluebird days in the forecast,” says Sarina Pamela who works in marketing for the mountain.

UGC: Photo: Rachel Schoutsen at Antoine Mountain Mattwan, ON Photo: Antoine Mountain Mattwan, ON. Courtesy: Rachel Schoutsen

Tara Lovell was also facing the exact struggle at the popular Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario.

“The team at Blue Mountain decided to close along with all Alterra Mountain resorts. This was after careful consideration after following the guidance of government and health care officials following COVID-19.”

The list of closed hills continues to grow in Ontario. And popular destinations in Quebec like Tremblant and Bromont are doing the same.

UGC: Rachel Schoutsen at Bromont, QC Photo: Bromont, QC. Courtesy: Rachel Schoutsen

New Brunswick is home to Crabbe Mountain, Poley Mountain, and Sugarloaf. These all will no longer be accepting guests.

The situation also looks grim for western Canada, an area known for its prestigious mountains, challenging terrain and passionate ski community.

Vail announced that they will be stopping operations at all of their North American resorts including Whistler Blackcomb.

UGC: Photo: Mia Gordon Whistler Blackcomb Photo: Whistler Blackcomb. Courtesy: Mia Gordon

“There is a small chance that Whistler may be able to reopen as of April or May, depending on how everything unfolds, but as of right now operations are finished for the season,” The Weather Network's Vancouver reporter Mia Gordon explains.

She adds, “These closures also mean the World Ski and Snowboard Festival has been cancelled. And it's not just Whistler that has felt the impacts of COVID-19. Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress have all had to stop operations for the season.”

Popular destinations in Alberta, including Lake Louise, have also ceased operation.

WATCH BELOW: CANADA'S OVERLOOKED SKI HILLS

The ski and snowboard industry is seasonal and that means businesses who cater to this sport rely on these months to make their profit and serve their guests.

Corbetts Ski and Snowboard shop in Oakville, Ontario had to end their season four weeks early and lay off all their staff.

“It’s not how you want to end the season. But it was time to close our retail location when we realized what we may be taking home to our families.” explains General Manager David Cummings.

“When the government asked all non-essentials to close we thought it was our responsibility to protect our staff, customers and community,” he adds.

In a chat with the CEO of the Canadian Ski Council, Paul Pinchbeck, he reassured The Weather Network that safety is the main priority:

“Canada’s ski areas are major employers for the communities in which they are located. Ski areas across the country have closed leaving significant financial impacts for individuals, families, and communities. As always, the safety and security of our guests, our employees and residents are top priorities. The leadership teams at each closed resort are now focussing on mitigating the effects on our team members and our communities as much as possible. We are encouraging our guests and staff to follow government guidelines on limiting the spread of this virus so that all Canadians can move through these difficult times as quickly and safely as possible”

As the world continues to make sense of all that is happening with COVID-19 an early end to ski season seems minimal. However, it’s a year the ski community will not soon forget.

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