COVID-19: Two Okanagan ski hills remain open

While others have closed their ski operations, at least temporarily, as of March 16 Apex Mountain Resort remains open for business, one of three in the Okanagan.

General manager James Shalman said precautions are in place including eliminating the singles line for people who are alone and want to get on a chairlift with others.

“We have told people that they can go up with those they know or solo,” said Shalman. “We’ve increased sterilization and increased social distancing measures.”

The resort, unless otherwise directed, will remain open seven days a week until April 5.

There are four lifts and the regular daytime hours Sunday through Thursday with night skiing available Friday and Saturday’s as well.

Located just over 40 kilometres east of Oliver, Baldy Mountain Resort was also still in operation as of March 16 with added precautions in place as well and a scheduled closing date of March 29.

“We’re amping up our disinfectant of the ticket office and public spaces as much as three times a day and eliminating some of the tables in our cafe urging outdoor seating,” said resort operations manager Caroline Sherrer. “We also don’t have any indoor events planned things of that nature.”

Big White Ski Resort has ceased operations for the remainder of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, ski resort president and CEO Peter Plimmer said the decision was made for the safety of everyone.

“The last six hours have made it clear that no matter what procedures we put in place, we cannot guarantee the safety of our staff, guests and residents,” said Plimmer.

READ MORE: COVID-19: SilverStar cuts singles lift lines, limits gondola

Plimmer said operations impacted by the closure include ski lift operations, Elevation Spa, Big White Ski & Board School, The Kids Centre, Black Forest Day Lodge and the Westridge Warming Hut.

Despite the closures, Plimmer said The Woods, Clocktower Coffee and the Happy Valley Cafeteria will temporarily remain open at the resort with some adjusted hours.

More information is located on the resort’s website: http://www.bigwhite.com/geo/int

Meanwhile, SilverStar Mountain Resort northeast of Vernon announced earlier it was suspending operations from March 15 to 22, including all lift operations, food and beverage, Tube Town, Brewers Pond, nordic operations, retail and rental operations.

READ MORE: ‘Business as usual’ at Apex Mountain despite COVID-19

Lodging and property management facilities are remaining to service existing guests however they are not taking reservations for the remainder of the month.

“Suspending our operations is an important step for us to take in support of efforts to limit the spread and risks associated with COVID-19,” reads the notification on the SilverStar website. “This is a dynamic situation and we continue to believe outdoor mountain recreation provides a meaningful escape to nature, which is what made this a difficult decision but this is the right thing to do.”

The situation will be reassessed at the end of the week-long closure.

There is a similar list of closures and resorts staying open in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

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