Story by Cara Williams – Photos by Clay Dolan
With a successful (and busy) summer season under their belt, Blue Mountain Resort is looking ahead to their 80th ski season with a focus on outdoor winter fun as well as health and safety for snow-lovers. Subject to public health guidelines and requirements, Blue is working diligently to ensure the resort is prepared to operate with heightened attention to safety in relation to COVID-19. While it’s impossible to forecast the status of the pandemic, its looking like skiing and snowboarding will be one of the few safe recreational activities this winter that doesn’t involve sitting inside your house. Now all we need is snow!
Perhaps the biggest change we’ll see at Blue Mountain this upcoming winter is that along with our usual equipment, skiers and boarders will need to wear a face covering and gloves in lineups and on lifts. As it happens, I’ve been wearing a mask and gloves for the past 30 plus years that I’ve been skiing—but even if you haven’t, this isn’t a big price to pay for an awesome day (or night) on the slopes.
In an effort to control visitation levels and provide a more “open mountain experience”, Blue will be limiting day lift ticket sales and prioritizing access for season pass holders including Ikon Pass, Ikon Base Pass and 5×7, eliminating the need for advanced reservations at this time. Blue will also regulate the number of daily lift tickets that will be available by advance purchase only, meaning walk-up ticket window sales will be discontinued. “The health and well-being of our guests, employees, and community remains our top priority,” states Dan Skelton, Blue Mountain Resort President and COO. “Along with our enhanced protocols, the management of capacity at the Resort will remain an integral part of our operation.”
Alterra Mountain Company, Blue Mountain’s parent company, is offering a guarantee of sorts on the popular Ikon Pass. Ikon’s “Adventure Assurance” means you can ski a little, ride a lot, or roll the purchase price paid for your unused Pass over to 2021/22. If for any reason, you don’t get out on the hill this winter, you can convert your unused Pass at any time into a 2021/22 season Pass. A pretty sweet deal, considering the Ikon Pass gives you access to 44 (and counting) destinations including the recent addition of Red Mountain in Rossland, British Columbia.
“Since last winter’s resort closures, our teams have been working to develop operating plans and protocols designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer, Alterra Mountain Company/Ikon Pass. “The effectiveness of these plans will rely on your cooperation with our enforcement of face coverings, social distancing and crowd management on and off the mountain. This effort starts with controlling resort visitation levels to avoid overcrowding.”
Along with adapted operations across the Resort, Blue has introduced a Personal Responsibility Code available online and visibly on display throughout the Village and Resort. The Code includes standard physical distancing guidelines along with a call for mask wearing by both employees and guests. Understanding that the new normal will be an adjustment for everyone, this Code ends with the message to Be Safe. Be Kind. Have Fun.
While continually monitoring government and health updates, Blue remains committed to following all mandated Public Health guidelines and updating operations accordingly. “We are strongly encouraging our guests to go online prior to their visit to Blue,” said Skelton. “We all love winter and are excited to get back to skiing and snowboarding. Planning ahead will help everyone have the best experience possible.” Blue’s 80th anniversary season will be one for the books featuring a retro throwback theme all season long. Keep an eye out for 80s inspired décor around the resort and although some events are on the back-burner, there will be fun and exciting ways to help celebrate eight decades of Blue this season.
Policies may vary by facility both on Resort and in the Village and/or may be subject to change without notice. Guests should review winter updates online at bluemountain.ca/winterexperience or contact the Blue Mountain Contact Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of their visit to confirm guidelines, potential restrictions, closures and/or advance purchase requirements.