‘124 out of 129 days is still an A+’: Revelstoke Mountain Resort reflects on pandemic season

Alex Jay zooming down the resort this season. (Photo by Tj Balon)
While the ski seasonabruptly come to an end, there were plenty of good days! Nate Sappington, 12, was able to get out for all 124 of them, as a homeschool student. He went every single day the ski hill was open. Now that’s dedicated! (Contributed)While the ski seasonabruptly come to an end, there were plenty of good days! Nate Sappington, 12, was able to get out for all 124 of them, as a homeschool student. He went every single day the ski hill was open. Now that’s dedicated! (Contributed)
Flying to Mt. Begbie. (Photo by Tj Balon)Flying to Mt. Begbie. (Photo by Tj Balon)
Perfect light. (Photo by Angela Keraghan)Perfect light. (Photo by Angela Keraghan)
Mask fashion at the resort this year. (April Lea photo)Mask fashion at the resort this year. (April Lea photo)
One of the many beatiful days at the resort this season. (Christylee Melanson photo)One of the many beatiful days at the resort this season. (Christylee Melanson photo)
Emily Horkley skiied subpeak for the first time this season. (Contributed)Emily Horkley skiied subpeak for the first time this season. (Contributed)
Alex Jay twirls. (Photo by Tj Balon)Alex Jay twirls. (Photo by Tj Balon)
Over the edge. (Photo by Jennifer George)Over the edge. (Photo by Jennifer George)
An early season, under 9, mission to subpeak. (Kirk McCarroll photo)An early season, under 9, mission to subpeak. (Kirk McCarroll photo)
Winter ski fun has come to a premature close this season. (Lexie Ast photo)Winter ski fun has come to a premature close this season. (Lexie Ast photo)
A good day out. (Photo by Lindy Silano)A good day out. (Photo by Lindy Silano)
Rushda Rbuaia was aiming for 100 ski days but had to stop at 95. (Contributed)Rushda Rbuaia was aiming for 100 ski days but had to stop at 95. (Contributed)
Sandy Munro skiied around 40 days in her first year living in Revelstoke. (Contributed)Sandy Munro skiied around 40 days in her first year living in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
Looking to Mt. Begbie from the top of the resort. (Photo by Stacey Brensrud)Looking to Mt. Begbie from the top of the resort. (Photo by Stacey Brensrud)
A winter wonderland. Alex Jay enjoys some fresh stuff this last season. (Photo by Tj Balon)A winter wonderland. Alex Jay enjoys some fresh stuff this last season. (Photo by Tj Balon)
Chace Schroeder soars above. (Photo by Tj Balon)Chace Schroeder soars above. (Photo by Tj Balon)
Alex Jay takes a tumble. (Tj Balon photo)Alex Jay takes a tumble. (Tj Balon photo)

While the Revelstoke Mountain Resort had its winter cut short, the company said overall it’s pleased with the season.

“I’m proud of our team and the guests we had,” said Peter Nielsen, resort vice-president.

The season was unprecedented with a pandemic that brought rules for social distancing, requiring guests to wear masks through much of the resort and few face-to-face meetings.

The resort closed on March 31 due to staff shortages associated with COVID-19. While a handful of workers contracted the virus, more than 20 people went into quarantine, including key members of the safety team.

Although the company reached out to local mountain guides to fill the vacant jobs, some staff positions require a very specific skill set, such as explosives for avalanche control and lift evacuation. Scrambling to find new staff proved impossible.

Nielsen said the resort had to close six days early as it could no longer continue to operate safely.

When the resort opened in November, there was a lot of uncertainty, such as new restrictions that banned indoor gatherings and a recommendation to not travel for skiing.

COVID-19 cases were surging, including in Revelstoke.

“Our number one goal was to stay open,” he said.

“And being open for 124 out of 129 days is still an A+.”

Last year, COVID-19 forced Revelstoke Mountain Resort to close on March 16, which was 34 days early.

Nielsen said in January the province was debating whether to close resorts in hopes to stop surging COVID-19 numbers during the second wave.

Nevertheless, B.C. ski resorts stayed open, compared to others in Ontario and France.

Regardless, Nielsen said ticket sales this year dropped more than 60 per cent.

“Economically, we are not where we would like to be,” he said.

“But we provided a great product that was important for people’s mental health.”

The provincial travel restrictions severely impacted visitation, said Nielsen. However, the company is hoping for a strong summer.

The resort said it expects to kick off the summer season with the opening of the Pipe Mountain Coaster on May 21, with the mountain fully opening on June 19 with some new biking trails planned for later in the season.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

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liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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