August 2020 Newsletter

August 26, 2020 Newsletter

Federal Support for Winter

CWSAA has been consistently advocating to the federal government the need for workers for the coming winter.   In alignment with the tourism sector and many businesses, CWSAA welcomed the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program to December 2020, and recognizes a recent Immigration policy adjustment to allow work permit applications from foreign nationals currently within Canada.  As winter approaches, CWSAA’s top priority of the federal government is the continuation of CEWS.

It is well known that industry revenues will be negatively impacted by the lack of international visitors, and business expenses have increased with the necessary implementation of pandemic related equipment and protocols.   CWSAA has called for CEWS to be extended until visitor levels rebuild, thus allowing ski areas and communities to retain and employ their people.  This has been critical for summer tourism operators and the submission highlights the importance of providing the same opportunity for winter operators.  A letter is being sent to the federal government as a national request in partnership with Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic ski area operator associations and the Canadian Ski Council.

Thanks to the CWSAA Government Relations Committee, CWSAA HR Committee and Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners for their guidance.

Best Practices for Winter Operations

The ski industry is a collaborative group, and industry response to COVID-19 has again illustrated an exceptional call to arms.  This collective approach has been critical to the success of the Canadian ski industry.  Ski areas and industry partners are encouraged to review and participate in the following:


CWSAA Resources

CWSAA Online Industry Sessions

CWSAA’s Wednesday Online Industry Sessions for members include information for managers as they confirm plans for the winter ahead.  Over the coming weeks, there are some especially critical sessions that provide practical guidance from southern hemisphere operators, comparisons with colleagues in the French Alps, senior management discussions, and industry positioning.  Please find the schedule >> HERE.

These sessions would not be possible without the support of all the wonderful members that have participated as presenters, panelists and engaged participants. 

CWSAA Winter Best Practices (COVID-19) 

The Canadian Best Practices document for winter operations is available to members and is found in the member-only section of   

CWSAA’s Risk & Safety Committee is preparing further detailed documentation on practical operational considerations to assist ski areas provide safe operations for guests and staff.  Ski area managers will be emailed in early September with further information.

NSAA – Our friends at NSAA south of the border hit a home run this week with the release of its “Ski Well, Be Well” winter operations best practices and hosted a webinar to provide context >>  VIEW NSAA’s program HERE.  This document aligns very well with Canadian priorities and is intended as NSAA’s ‘regulator’ facing document as well as providing the foundational Best Practices for the coming winter.  It inspires the industry to speak and operate in a unified fashion.  Kelly Pawlak of NSAA reinforced the need to work collectively and quoted a line used several times during NSAA’s presentation, “don’t be the reason we lose our ski season.”

CWSAA congratulates NSAA for their proactive work and excellent leadership.


Ski Area Management (SAM) Magazine Huddle – These weekly huddles provide excellent roundtable discussions similar to Canada West’s Online Industry Sessions.  The session from this week is a MUST SEE as Australian and New Zealand’s ski resorts shared fantastic operational content for managers.  View the recorded session with your team >> HERE.

Alberta Government

On August 25, the provincial government announced a realignment of tourism within the Ministry of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation.  Doug Schweitzer is the new minister responsible for tourism replacing Tanya Fir.   CWSAA has prepared congratulatory letters and an introduction to the ski industry. >> Read More.

Membership Survey Feedback

Each year, CWSAA asks the membership for feedback and industry priorities by way of survey.  Thank you to everyone that participated in this year’s survey.  Read more about the summary of the results in >> The Canada West Way.

Alberta sign grant

CWSAA was successful in receiving a grant from Travel Alberta for COVID signage at Alberta’s ski areas.  Over the next few week’s CWSAA will be working with a volunteer working group to determine the options available to ski areas.  Alberta ski areas should watch for the order form in early September, as we will need to process orders quickly.  If you would like to be involved in the working group, please contact Cynthia ([email protected]).


We would like to extend the utmost gratitude to the CWSAA Board of Directors.  Special appreciation to CWSAA’s outgoing Chair, Andre Quenneville, who moves into the role as Past Chair.  Andy Cohen was elected as the new CWSAA Board Chair.

CWSAA welcomes four New Board Members:

  • Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba (ASM) Division Director Kim Jones, WinSport
  • Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba (ASM) Division Director Penny Lindballe, Valley Ski Club
  • BC-Yukon Division Director Hildur Sinclair, Troll Resort
  • Associate Director Dorothy Gould, Rigging Specialties & Rocky Mountain Lift Services

CWSAA would like to sincerely thank the four exiting Board Members for their service during their tenure on the Board:

  • Steve Paccagnan (since 2008),
  • Lawrence Blouin (served since 2014, as well as 2001-13),
  • Debbie Muirhead (since 2016, as well as 2006-10) and
  • Shawn Balog (since 2016).

Read More about the Directors in >> the Canada West Way.

Calling all Prairie ski areas

The Saskatchewan Ski Area Operators Association fall meeting is scheduled for Monday October 26 at Mission Ridge Winter Park in Fort Qu’Appelle, SK.  Advance notification from ski areas is required to organise this session.  If you are a ski area and plan to attend, please inform Jennifer Pinay immediately (this week) at [email protected]

Nitehawk Landslide Recovery Fund

This spring Nitehawk (Grande Prairie, Alberta) suffered a devastating landslide which has affected their chairlift as well as a few ski runs, located in the Wapiti River Valley.

Each year, the non-profit ski area relies on fundraising efforts and this year’s fundraising has created new challenges with COVID.  They have adapted their annual Comedy Nite Fundraiser and have creatively relocated it to the local Drive-In Theatre.  To assist their fundraising efforts, there are a number of ways the ski community could help.

  • Make a Silent or Live Auction prize donation
  • Share their fundraising efforts on social media
  • Purchase 50/50 tickets
  • Volunteer to help

Welcome New CWSAA Members

Driving Force: Ready for Your Adventure?

DRIVING FORCE, has great options to help you move your ski clubs, teams, and crews safely.

As with all social distancing, they are seeing an increased demand for larger vehicles and multiple vehicle rentals.

Now taking reservations for the fall and winter seasons!

RECEIVE 10% OFF.  Promo Code: CWSAA

FRIENDLY STAFF:   [email protected]

Virtual Snow Science Workshop 2020

October 5 – 6, 2020

While plans for ISSW 2021 in Fernie are still in place, a virtual two-day conference this fall is being planned.

VSSW 2020 will be livestreamed, with 14 international-calibre invited speakers, two panel discussions, and two interactive poster sessions—one timed optimally for a North American audience, and one timed for a European audience.

Check the website to be kept up to date as speakers and the schedule are confirmed. Registration opens on September 1. The cost for the conference will be $30 and you’ll want to get on that soon. After September 29, the cost will go up to $40.

Places & Faces

Congratulations to Bob Dodge on his new journey into retirement.  After 24 years with Selkirk College, we wish Bob all the best and a lot of great skiing and kayaking!  Thanks Bob for creating so many industry leaders through the SROAM program.

Mt Sima bike nights.   Every Wednesday and every second Saturday Mt Sima is open for night biking – until 9pm.  Pretty cool as the days are so long in the land of the midnight sun…very unique.  Saturdays have now wrapped up for the summer, and next week will be the last Wednesday session.

Vista Ridge opens their new 12-hole golf course this Friday (August 28).  The course is designed as a family friendly, beginner style course with grass bunkers (no sand), over-sized cups, mostly par 3s & 4s and one shorter par 5.  There is also an aqua range, with floating balls and island greens.

Whispering Pines ski area has been busy installing a new conveyor lift for the beginner area.  Lily Peters and her team are very thankful to the community members who donated labour, equipment and materials as well as the local government for financial support on the project. 

Marsha Walden moves from Destination BC to President and CEO of Destination Canada.  Marsha has been an exceptional leader of tourism and supporter of the ski industry and we are exciting to work with her in this new role.  Read More.

Krista Bax, took on the role of CEO at go2HR at the start of the COVID pandemic.  Krista was recently appointed to Tourism HR Canada Board. Read More.  We look forward to working with Krista and introducing her to the industry ‘virtually.’

Vivek Sharma, CEO of Fairmont Hot Springs Resorts steps into the role of Chair of The Tourism Industry Association of BC.  TIABC has been the leader in bringing together all faucets of tourism during the pandemic, and it’s wonderful to have the Vivek’s leadership on the Board.  Read More.

Congratulations to Therese Brisson Alpine Canada’s new CEO. As an athlete and business executive, we are delighted to have her leadership in Alpine sports.  Read More.

CWSAA was saddened to hear of the passing of Sam Wyssen, CEO of Wyssen Avalanche Control AG, who lost his life in a tragic plan accident on July 25.  Read More.

Upcoming Online Industry Sessions

  • September 2, 9:45am – Return to Sport
  • September 9, 12:30pm – Snowsports Huddle
  • September 16 – Passenger Ropeways Town Halls
  • September 23 – Cluster Montagne Talks

Please note, Online Industry Sessions are FREE for current CWSAA Members. Advance registration is required by noon the day prior.  Registrants will receive login information the afternoon prior to the session.

Find registration and more information>> HERE.


For many this year will provide some new recruiting challenges.  Don’t forget to post your jobs on some of the industry job boards.

CWSAA Job Board – All CWSAA Member’s can post jobs at no cost.

go2HR Job Board  – BC and Yukon tourism sector jobs.