If Mother Nature allows it, passholder skiers can take to the slopes of SilverStar Mountain Resort as soon as Dec. 4, but it won’t be like any other winter.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, masks or facial coverings will be required for staff and guests alike in all indoor spaces, unless seated to eat or drink. Masks must also be worn outdoors if the required two metres of physical distance can’t be maintained.
“We believe this is an essential first step that we can all take to ensure a safe experience at SilverStar,” the resort said in a statement Sept. 17.
To ensure proper physical distancing protocols can be followed, the resort is opening later than normal. The start of the 2020-21 ski season will kickoff Friday, Dec. 4, while Nordic trails will open Nov. 28, with limited access to facilities.
“We’re confident that starting our season later than we have historically opened, with more acreage and lifts open, will help guests spread out and maintain appropriate distance while also providing a higher quality on-snow experience from Day 1 of the season,” the statement said. “We anticipate being open for season passholders only on opening day and for a period of time as we assess operations and capacity limits.”
An online parking reservation system will allow the resort to track and manage volume to ensure a safe experience for staff and guests.
“The system will help reduce crowds on peak days and enable appropriate distancing.”
Additional distance in lines for lifts will be implemented through extended maze designs, lateral spacing and increased signage.
Guests will self-group and load chairlifts with their travelling party. Lift attendants won’t require people to ride with strangers, although high-capacity charlifts and closed cabin carriers may be an exception and will be loaded to ensure distancing is followed.
Dining at the resort will look a little different as well. An expanded grab-and-go takeout menu will be offered, but the resort still encourages guests to bring their own lunch. Additional designated areas, including the Chilcoot Conference Centre and space within the NATC, will be made available for guests to dine in while practicing physical distancing.
All dining outlets are chashless, so be sure to bring a debit or credit card.
Rentals, retails and transportation will be operated with the provincial and health agency orders in place. Pre-booking for rentals will be available to ensure a safe rental experience.
SilverStar has increased its cleaning procedures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Additional sanitation stations have been put into place as well as signage.
“We will continue to uphold the highest standards of sanitization and have expanded our SilverStar COVID-19 protocols to keep our staff and guests safe,” the statement reads.
Staff will complete a daily online wellness questionnaire before the start of their shift and will stay home if they are feeling unwell. The resort asks guests do the same and stay home if unwell.
“We urge you to become familiar with Interior Health and provincial guidelines to stop the spread and to ‘Be kind, be calm and be safe,’ in order to help us keep our guests, staff and community safe,” SilverStar’s statement said.
POW and MY1 season passes are limited this year to ensure the resort can effectively manage volume to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
Once all the passes are sold, a limited MY1 season pass will be available for purchase that offers the same perks as the Unlimited My1 pass, but will have some blackout days throughout the season.
The SilverStar Passholder Promise covers all passholders. This includes flexible payment options, full refunds before Dec. 1 and in-season COVID-19 coverage.
“We believe starting the season with a conservative and responsible plan will ensure the well-being of our community, staff and guests, and enable us to provide a great ski and ride experience for the full season,” general manager Ken Derpak said in the statement, noting the resort will continue working closely with the province and IH to review the details of the winter plans.
“At our core, we are skiers and riders and there’s nothing we want more than to be on snow with friends and family,” Derpak said. “I hope we share the same excitement for the upcoming season. Let’s continue to take care of each other so that we can reunite on the mountain soon.”
For more information, visit skisilverstar.com.