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Coronavirus: Big White Ski Resort opens amid pandemic

Click to play video 'Big White Ski Resort opening amid pandemic' Big White Ski Resort opening amid pandemic
Big White Ski Resort opening amid pandemic

Heading to the local ski hill is among the activities still sanctioned by B.C.’s top doctor, despite a provincial regional travel advisory issued on Thursday. 

Friday, Nov. 20, was the opening day for season-pass holders at the Big White Ski Resort, a group that may become the mountain’s main businesses due to pandemic pressures. 

“We’ve had one of the best opening days we’ve had in our history, we’ve got a 120 cm base right now,” said Trevor Hanna, Big White’s vice-president of hospitality.

“It’s been a challenge but it’s been very interesting how everything has come together for guest and staff safety.”

Read more: Ski industry braces for impact of B.C. province-wide travel restrictions

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But despite great conditions, regional travel restrictions issued for B.C. residents have prompted an avalanche of cancellations. 

“With the cancellations, we’ve taken 22 today alone,” said Hanna.

“Just for people that are nervous about travelling, it’s been profound.”

B.C.’s top doctor has asked locals to stay local.

“If you are thinking of going skiing, go to a local mountain,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.

Dr. Henry acknowledged Canadians are still free to travel across the country, including heading to ski hills, but both Dr. Henry and Big White officials are hoping skiers will obey pandemic measures.

“The challenge will be when (people) get up here and they will want to get together,” said Hanna. “We’re just asking that everyone plays by the rules.”

Those rules include only bunking up with household members.

Read more: AMA Travel: Alberta ski resorts ready to welcome guests this winter

The fresh snow and air was welcomed by season-pass holders ahead of the mountain’s full opening on Monday. 

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“Just had one run so far but it was pretty good,” said Neil Parent, a Big White skier.

“Things seem to be managed quite well up here.”

Another Big White resident echoed Parent’s comments.

“It’s been awesome,. We had a couple dumps of snow last week, everybody seems to be loving it,” said John Convery.

Currently, the mountain has four chairlifts operating with a total of 32 runs open.

Click to play video 'Ski resorts will be impacted by new coronavirus advisory' Ski resorts will be impacted by new coronavirus advisory
Ski resorts will be impacted by new coronavirus advisory