Loading articles...

North Shore skier feels pressure to head to Whistler despite B.C.'s travel advisory

Last Updated Feb 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm PDT

FILE - A ski instructor is seen walking along the base of Whistler Mountain in Whistler, B.C. Sunday, March 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A North Vancouver man who purchased ski passes for Whistler is conflicted and considering defying travel advisory

Jeff Peterson was told his discounted passes won't be honoured if he waits until next year to use them

Peterson says Dr. Bonnie Henry's messaging on day trips to Whistler didn't help clear things up

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Mixed messaging about staying close to home during the pandemic has a North Vancouver man — who prefers to ski at Whistler-Blackcomb — wondering if he should risk heading up there before public safety orders are relaxed.

Jeff Peterson says resort operators have repeatedly told him the discounted passes he pre-purchased won’t be honoured if he waits to use his EDGE Cards next winter.

“And they won’t provide a refund unless Whistler is closed by mandatory order 30 days or more,” he says.

The long-time skier says he could be out almost $500 if he doesn’t use his passes before the end of this season, but last year, holders were given 80 per cent credit if they wanted to roll them over.

“The bottom line from Whistler and its Epic Coverage insurance program is use or lose your EDGE Card day … It is disappointing. You look at Whistler and you reckon, geez, they’ve got our money, so why wouldn’t they be a good corporate citizen and be respectful of the BCCDC request to minimize travel.”

RELATED: Not enough being done to keep COVID-19 out of Whistler, says longtime resident

Peterson adds recent comments made by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry don’t help because even skiers heading to Whistler for a day trip have to stop at some point to eat a meal.

“I think it’s pretty unusual. You’re surely going to go in at some time during the course of the day to one of the mountain restaurants and even if it’s just a quick bite, you’re going to go in and have something. When we’re hearing about minimizing non-essential travel, it seemed to me that going to Whistler was non-essential travel. Adrian Dix asked us to ski locally and yet, Dr. Henry recently said day trips to Whistler didn’t seem to be the problem.”

Peterson’s written letters to Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton seeking their support, but he says Crompton is the only politician to even acknowledge his concerns.

NEWS 1130 also reached out to Crompton to weigh in, but we’ve been told he has “no jurisdiction over business policies.”

Peterson says he doesn’t understand why the operators of the popular ski resort haven’t been more accommodating.

“Whistler is taking a hard line, as far as their responses to me, which is use them or lose them.”

A spokesperson for Vail Resorts, which owns Whistler-Blackcomb, says concerns raised by Peterson and other guests will be addressed, but that statement doesn’t clarify if refunds or pass rollovers are possible once this season ends.

A spokesperson for the Vail Resorts says that statement stresses “we will take guest concerns into consideration at the end of the season as we do intend to take care of our pass holders.”

In the past, EDGE Cards have not been refundable, but Peterson is still holding out hope his request to carry his passes over until next season can be approved now, so he doesn’t have to risk heading up to Whistler.

“I think that’s a win-win for everybody. I think they’d would look good in the eyes of the public and the eyes of their skiing clientele and we would minimize the risk of spreading COVID,” he says.