Ontario’s ski resort industry had a rough 2021 and is hoping for a better season this year.
“We’re snow farmers, we’re used to dealing with weather, we’re good at adapting,” said Kevin Nichol, president of the Ontario Snow Resorts Association.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 45 per cent decrease in business for the province’s ski operators. Much of the losses were the result of a forced closure during the 2020 Christmas break and after a spectacular snowfall that would have cushioned resorts in the new year.
“We were closed from Boxing Day to February 16th last year and then closed again Easter Weekend. It was a tough year for the ski industry in Ontario,” said Nichol.
At the time, the Ontario government wanted to discourage travel within the province to try to slow the spread of the virus.
Now, a week after the province ordered indoor recreation spaces closed, skiers have been spared.
However, COVID protocols are still in place at resorts.
“Any indoor spaces you have to wear your mask, cover your nose and mouth — make sure there is distancing,” said Tara Lovell, manager of public relations for Blue Mountain Resort.
“Outside we still encourage the use of masks. In the lift line we are asking you to keep your mask on,” she said in an interview.
Indoor restaurants are closed except for take-out. At Blue Mountain, patio heaters are cranked up to encourage patrons to sit outside and eat lunch or enjoy a drink.
Nothing is normal at the moment, Lovell acknowledges, but given what happened last year, being open is the most important fact.
“Everybody who enjoys skiing, snowboarding, and outdoor recreation is keen to be outside,” said Nichol.
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