SAM Magazine—Kelowna, B.C., April 1, 2021—Canadian resorts Revelstoke and Big White are both closing ahead of schedule, just as British Columbia enters a three-week lockdown amid surging Covid cases. Both closures appear to be a result of virus-related concerns, though they are not a direct result of the latest lockdown. Whistler Blackcomb, which was shuttered as part of the three-week lockdown, has since decided to remain closed for the season.
Revelstoke had intended to close on April 5, but made the call yesterday to end winter operations a few days ahead of schedule. In a statement on the resort’s website, VP of operations Peter Nielsen cited staff shortages in the mountain ops division attributed to Covid-19 as the reason for the season’s abrupt end.
The decision follows what was supposed to be a one-day closure on March 31. Revelstoke’s social media attributed that closure to “Covid-19 related circumstances” that left the mountain short staffed.
In his statement, Nielsen highlighted the health and safety of guests and employees as a top priority, and asked for patience from guests seeking full refunds or credits for unused lift tickets.
Big White’s early closure, set for April 5, described in a statement on the resort’s website, pinned the closure on two Covid-related factors: a rowdy after-hours party at a local après spot that was in direct defiance of Covid safety measures and attended by resort staff, as well as a predicted spike in visitor volume for the resort’s final week of operations.
“With most B.C. resorts closing as of Monday, April 5, and with the disregard for COVID-19 protocols exhibited at Charley Victoria’s All-Day Après on Monday evening, Big White Ski Resort Ltd recognized closing early as a necessary action to keep its guests, residents, and team members safe from COVID-19.”
Lockdown measures, including the forced shutdown of Whistler Blackcomb, would have left Big White as the only resort west of Revelstoke open in British Columbia during the April 5-11 week, resort SVP Michael Ballingall explained to Canadian media outlet Global News.
“We made the decision to stay open until April 11 back in June of last year,” elaborated Big White president and CEO Peter Plimmer in the online statement. “Since then, a lot has changed. In the past week, even more has changed. We are grateful to have been able to keep the resort open and safe as long as we have, but with other resorts shutting down, we have become a magnet for non-local skiers and snowboarders.”
Like Nielsen, Plimmer said he looked forward to welcoming visitors back to the mountain for the summer season.