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Safe ski season possible in Whistler with focus on flattening COVID-19 curve: mayor

Last Updated Nov 20, 2020 at 6:58 pm PDT


Whistler's mayor is focused on ski season being done safely, in line with what Dr. Bonnie has asked for

Jack Crompton says the community will do whatever it can to flatten the curve so the season can go ahead as planned

The mayor of Kimberly says the COVID-19 restrictions could hurt the community

WHISTLER (NEWS 1130) — The mayor of Whistler insists the ski season can be done safely without contradicting new COVID-19 restrictions, with the hill scheduled to open soon.

British Columbians have been asked to stay local and avoid all non-essential travel to and from their regions to stop the second surge of the virus and flatten the curve.

While acknowledging the situation is devastating, Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton says he is keeping his eye on getting through this pandemic.

“I’m focused. I want people to take the actions they need to lower the risk and to defeat this pandemic. I’m asking our community, I’m asking everyone will hear my voice: shop where you shop, sleep where you sleep, ski where you ski, see who you see, take action yourself. It’s urgent. It has to happen now. Please, do it.”

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The current recommendations mean people living in Vancouver shouldn’t be heading up to Whistler, in turn, having an impact on the ski community’s economy. Crompton says he’s not about to contradict the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer.

He says his community will do whatever it can to flatten the curve and make sure the ski season goes ahead as scheduled.

“We’re going to take these measures in stride, adopt them, and work hard to action them,” he says. “We feel ready as a community. We feel like our businesses, our municipality has put those measures in place that can ensure safe experiences.”

But those calls to stay close to home could hurt communities in the Kootenays.

Mayor of Kimberly Don McCormick says he hopes the new restrictions won’t last too long.

RELATED: B.C. ski resorts counting on locals to help weather COVID-19 impacts this winter

“It’s make hay while the sun shines time. In the wintertime, here in Kimberly, the ski hill is the primary revenue generator,” he says, adding the community has proven to be a safe place during the pandemic.

“We had a pretty awesome summer and despite all those visitors coming in from all over B.C. and from Alberta, we managed to keep our numbers low,” McCormick says.

He says over the summertime, there was about a 20 per cent increase in visitor traffic compared to the year before.

Kimberly’s ski hills are set to open on Dec. 15, just over a week after the current restrictions expire and an update is expected.

Meanwhile, with safety and the winter ski season top of mind, Crompton explains recovery plans to get the community back to normal depends on what happens during the rest of the pandemic.

“When the reality on the ground shifts and we are moving into a spring where the dynamics around COVID-19 have changed, we’ll bring out the plans we’ve worked on, update them, and put them to work.”

Crompton says the goal is to get open and stay open through to the summer bike season by following health measures.

Whistler’s ski hills are set to open Nov. 26.

Whistler Blackcomb closed in mid-March for about three months because of the pandemic. When it reopened, it did so with new COVID-19 protocols.

-with files from Sonia Aslam