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What to expect when visiting ski resorts in B.C.’s Southern Interior this year

A ski lift at Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, B.C. Global News

As expected, the 2020 ski year will be different (by a long shot) than previous years.

Get used to seeing more sanitizing stations, increased cleaning by staff and plenty of signage reminding you to be physically distanced.

Each B.C. Interior resort is taking its own approach to navigating COVID-19.

We took a look at the approaches of a few and compiled some of the important bits below.

Read more: Canadian ski resorts seeing busy start to season thanks to COVID-19

While there are some differences, there are plenty of commonalities.

Namely, if you’re showing symptoms, stay home.

For a full run-down of the rules, click on the links below, questions can be directed to a friendly guest services agent.

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SUN PEAKS RESORT

TICKETS

There will be a limited amount of day tickets available for sale each day to manage guest numbers.

Tickets should be purchased online in advance to guarantee access, as window ticket sales may not be available for the majority of the season.

Seasons pass sales were limited this year to facilitate on-mountain social distancing.

Use tap payment when possible.

WHAT TO WEAR

A face covering will be required in lift lines, while riding chairlifts, and any time you’re not seated while visiting outdoor dining facilities.

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When indoors, guests are asked to wear a double-layered face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Outdoors, a face covering, like a scarf, is acceptable.

BAGS

There is no indoor storage for belongings available this winter. Guests are asked to leave all personal belongings in their vehicle, and ensure your vehicle is locked and items are secure.

Parking lots are being monitored by additional security.

LESSONS

Private and group lessons are available with limited numbers, children six to nine years and 13 and up can have up to three participants ages 10 to 12 can have a maximum of five students plus the instructor.

WHAT YOU WON’T SEE OPEN (AT LEAST FOR NOW)

Tube time and bungee trampoline.

Childminding is also unavailable until further notice.

RIDING THE CHAIR

Guests who are travelling or skiing together can be seated together on chairlifts. Groups of guests will not be seated with people outside of their bubble.

Two unrelated single skiers may ride lifts together, sitting on opposite sides of the quad chairlift. But singles will not be required to ride with another guest if they are not comfortable and would prefer to ride alone.

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BIG WHITE SKI RESORT

PASS SALES

Season passes are no longer available.

Day tickets will be available for purchase online only. The tickets will be collected at one of 15 pick-up locations around the resort.

Big White will be a “cashless resort” — bring your debit or credit card if you’re looking to make a purchase.

TRAVEL / PARKING

Express bus service from the Central Okanagan and Kelowna will be unavailable this year.

On weekends and during peak periods, skiers and boarders will be greeted by a parking attendant, who will guide you to an appropriate place to park.

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MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS

Wear a mask or face covering in all lift lines, loading and unloading the lifts, and in all indoor spaces.

Plexiglass partitions have been installed at all counters where customers and staff interact.

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SILVERSTAR MOUNTAIN RESORT

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS

Coverings are required for both staff and guests in all indoor spaces, except when seated to eat or drink. They will also be required outdoors when two metres of physical distance cannot be maintained.

When riding a shuttle, waiting in a lift line, loading and riding a chairlift, or entering a facility, you will be required to wear a face covering.

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OPENING DATE

Weather permitting, SilverStar will open for the season on Friday, Dec. 4.

The resort stated on its webpage that it’s confident that this date, which is later than its traditional opening day, will allow more acreage and lifts to be open, helping to spread guests out over the mountain.

The resort will also be open to only season pass-holders at first as it assesses its operations and capacity limits.

Information about when day ticket holders can access the mountain will be announced at a later date.

PARKING

SilverStar is implementing an online parking reservation system, meaning you have to let it know you will be coming in advance. The resort stated the system will help reduce crowds on peak days and enable appropriate physical distancing.

LIFTS

Guests will notice additional spacing measures, including extended maze designs, more lateral spacing and increased signage, to encourage physical distancing.

Guests will self-group and load chairlifts with their party.

Lift attendants will not require guests to ride a chairlift with people they do not know.

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The mountain also stated high-capacity chairlifts and closed cabin carriers “may be the exception, and may be loaded in a way that allows for physical distancing.”

SNOW SPORTS

To begin the season, SilverStar will offer private lessons for related parties of up to five.

The resort said it may revisit offerings based on changes to the government health and safety procedures, with further information provided at a later date.

ON MOUNTAIN DINING

The mountain will be offering an expanded grab-and-go and take out menu. All purchases will be cashless.

The resort is encouraging guests to bring their own lunch and have allocated new additional designated areas for people to eat while remaining physically distanced.

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REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS

Masks or face coverings will be mandatory for everyone throughout the resort. This includes in the village base area, all indoor facilities, lift lines and while riding in the gondola and on chairlifts.

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Revelstoke defined appropriate masks and face coverings are defined as any double-layer material that adequately covers a person’s mouth and nose.

On-site ticket sales are being eliminated, with all ticket sales to be done online.

Reservations will not be required for season pass-holders and any pre-purchased lift products.

Daily capacity restrictions will be in place.

RIDING THE LIFTS

Guests will have the option to ride the lifts either in mixed or private cohorts.

Mixed cohorts will be loaded onto the gondola with six passengers per gondola cabin, or four people per chair.

Private cohorts can load up to eight people per gondola cabin or four people per chair.

Gondola cabins have been protected with the Integral Surface Protection Program, which is used to limit the ability of viruses to stay on surfaces.

Lift attendants that may need to physically assist with loading/unloading will wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.

SNOW SCHOOL

Group lessons will not be offered with the exception of Kids Weekend Programs. Weekend programs are being limited to residents within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

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Snow School participants will be required to undergo a self-health screening prior to starting their lesson.

All Snow School staff and guests will be required to wear a face covering, except when they are moving on skis or snowboards.

Private Lessons will be available for ages four and up.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Seating will be reduced in all venues with tables spread out to allow for adequate social distancing. Tables will be sanitized after every use.

Face coverings will be required for guests and staff when inside any food and beverage outlet, except when seated at a table and eating or drinking.

Expanded outdoor seating will be available at Revelation Lodge.

Expanded room service from the Rockford Bar 5/8 Grill and Mackenzie Tavern.

Online ordering will be available for all food and beverage outlets.

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APEX MOUNTAIN RESORT

TICKETS

Season’s passes are still available and day tickets are available at the resort.

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At this time, there is no cap for daily ticket sales.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS

Masks or face coverings are mandatory at the resort. A face covering is defined as something that covers the nose and mouth, is hands-free and at least two-ply.

They will be required in the village, in all buildings, all lift lines, riding a lift and disembarking the lift.

Face coverings can be removed while skiing or snowboarding down the mountain.

OPENING DATE

The resort is scheduled to open on Saturday, Dec. 5. It’s not yet known how much terrain will be open.

RIDING THE CHAIR

Due to physical distancing restrictions, spacing measures are in place.

Guests who arrive in the same vehicle together can ride a lift together. However, a twosome will not be paired with another twosome or another single.

Two singles can ride together, but they will be placed at opposite ends of the lift.

A ride can also be loaded to its maximum of four people if all four are in the same bubble.

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BAGS

The resort is discouraging all indoor storage and is asking that guests leave their personal items in their vehicles.

LESSONS

Group lessons won’t be available, but smaller, private ‘bubble’ lessons will be. Guests are asked to book ahead.

ON MOUNTAIN DINING

The resort will still accept cash as a form of payment. All restaurants will be open as per normal, though guests will have to give contact information as per COVID-19 protocols.

Face coverings will be mandatory, unless seated and eating, along with a maximum table seating of six.

BALDY MOUNTAIN RESORT

All information via the resort’s website. More detailed information will be posted as it becomes available.

TICKETS

Day tickets are available, while a season’s pass pick-up is available in the kiosk located between the lodge and Eagle chair.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS

Face coverings are mandatory in all indoor public places, including dining areas, except when seated and eating.

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The resort will have masks and face shields for sale for those who need one.

OPENING DATE

The resort is scheduled to open on Saturday, Dec. 19.

HOURS OF OPERATION

The resort will be open Thursday to Monday. However, it will be open seven days a week from Dec. 19 to Jan. 4.

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