February 2020 Newsletter

February 19, 2020 Newsletter

2020 Spring Conference

Thanks to everyone who booked their accommodation early, therefore hotel rooms at the Fairmont are quickly filling up.  The Fairmont is now sold out on Thursday night (April 30), and other nights are quickly filling up.
Additional accommodations for April 30 have been secured at the Four Seasons at a rate of $195 + tax.  The Four Seasons is right next to the Fairmont (and for those transferring from the Fairmont, your vehicle can remain at the Fairmont for no cost).  There are a number of events happening in Whistler and vacancy rates are very low.  More on hotel booking information >> HERE.

Book by February 28 to save!  The early bird conference registration rate is quickly coming to an end, don’t forget to register soon.

Lift 151, 152 & 153 will be offered again at the conference.  Find out more about these courses >> HERE.

Each year during the conference a silent auction is held to raise funds for the Small Areas fund.  Please consider donating an item to the auction!

Employee Safety – Lift Operations

Safety of ski area workers is of the utmost priority for the industry.  It is very important to incorporate Safety Talks into your regular pre-shift and staff meetings.

This month’s industry focus is lift operator safety.   Read more about how ski areas are implementing practices to elevate safety with lift operations >> HERE.

Fall Meetings – Save the Dates!

The dates and locations have been set for the Fall Division Meetings.  Based on survey responses the ASM meeting will return to Snow Valley in 2020 and the BC-Y meeting will rotate annually coming back to Sun Peaks for 2020, and likely SilverStar for 2021.

  • Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba, Snow Valley – September 28 -29, 2020
  • BC-Yukon & Bike Park Forum, Sun Peaks – October 6-8, 2020
  • SSAOA, Falcon Ridge – October 25-26, 2020

Alberta Energy Initiative

Special thanks to Phil Graham of Winsport for his work on behalf of Alberta ski areas and CWSAA with Energy Associates International and Vidya Consulting.  New distribution rate proposals are anticipated shortly, and CWSAA’s primary objective of securing transmission seasonal load tariffs is advancing to its next phase.  There is potential for significant savings.  CWSAA invites all Alberta ski areas to engage in the effort.  A further update will be shared at the Spring Conference.  Ski areas may contact Christopher Nicolson or Phil Graham through CWSAA.

CWSAA January Board Meeting

The CWSAA Board of Directors met at Mt. Seymour in late January.  Approvals were made on small area assistance funding applications, association annual budgets, fall meeting dates and locations, and competitor pass.

The Board confirmed final directions and content for the spring conference topics, and reviewed the organisation activities under the four strategic directives of safety, growth, advocacy, and people.  The Board directed CWSAA to build upon the new responsible stewardship strategy introduced this year.  This will increase the resources and best practices for industry.   2020 represents the last year of the current three year strategic plan and the Board will develop its next three year strategic plan this coming June.

Preparations for the Annual General Meeting and report to members have commenced.  The nomination committee for directors was struck in order to present candidates for positions at the coming AGM in April 2020.  Jason Paterson, Eddie Wood, Andy Cohen, and Andre Quenneville will be reaching out to compile a slate and may be contacted by those with interest.

Reduce the impact: Transportation

Resort access and transportation has evolved to become a significant component of ski areas with a simple goal: reduce the volume of cars on the roads, especially in wildlife corridors. This is vital for most areas.

Read more about ski area initiatives to reduce the impact of transportation at their ski areas >> HERE.

HeliCat Safety & Risk information

HeliCat Canada has created a new Safety and Risk Awareness webpage that includes good backcountry safety information that some ski areas may find incremental to their current safety pages.  The CWSAA safety awareness page has incorporated relevant elements.  Heli and cat operators can contact HeliCat Canada for more information on its new Lodge Exclusion of Liability Signage Program.  View the webpage >> HERE.

go2HR Young Workers Safety Survey

Please help circulate this survey to youth aged 15 – 24 currently studying, employed or seeking employment within the BC tourism and hospitality industry.

Combined, anonymous results will be shared with tourism and hospitality employers, like CWSAA, to assist in understanding how best to provide workplace health and safety information and training.

The survey takes about five minutes to complete. Complete the survey by Saturday, February 29, 2020 and you will be eligible to enter into a draw to win one (1) grand prize of a $250 Visa Gift Card, or one of two (2) additional Visa Gift Card prizes (valued at $100 each). All responses will remain anonymous and confidential.

Complete the survey >> HERE.

Wildfire Mitigation

In July 2019, CWSAA and ski area representatives joined Mountain Resort Branch and BC Wildfire Service officials on a day long working session to identify areas of cooperation around wildfire prevention and mitigation.  One outcome was to increase resources to help build the new provincial wildfire plan. Work started in the fall, including a new position within the Mountain Resorts Branch which has allowed the Branch to incorporate the ski sector into regional management planning throughout the province.  Decisions on wildfire mitigation funding priorities will be delivered in March with additional intakes in the coming months.

Membership Invoices due March 31

2020/21 Membership dues invoices were emailed to all existing members last week.  Ski Area dues are based on skier visits, and Associate dues are based on sales in the Western Canadian Ski Industry over the past year. We value your partnership and thank all members for their continued support and involvement in industry initiatives.  2020/21 Dues are due on March 31.  Invoices can be paid by cheque, EFT or online by credit card >> HERE.

ISSW 2020: Abstract Submissions Wanted!

The International Snow Science Workshop is seeking abstracts from individuals interested in presenting at their conference in Fernie in October. The conference is especially excited to hear from front-line workers, providing a great venue for you to share your experience and ideas with avalanche professionals from around the world. View the guidelines and requirements >> HERE

Places & Faces

After 22 summers on the Whistler and Blackcomb Glaciers with the Toni Sailer and Dave Murray Summer Ski Camps and 45 winters with Mt Seymour Resorts, mostly in rentals. Alex “AXEL” Douglas is calling it a wrap and starting new adventures, retirement!  Congratulations Alex.

Congratulations to Mike Tanner and the team at WinSport for two back-to-back World Cup event weekends.  First was the World Cup moguls event which takes approximately 250 hours of snowmaking and 50 hours of cat work to build the course. This past weekend Winsport hosted the Snow Rodeo halfpipe and slopestyle events.

Northern BC ski areas all embraced the new Exclusion of Liability signage.  Hildur Sinclair, owner of Troll Mountain, stands with one of the new signs at the entrance to the family owned daylodge.

Jana Gainor at Murray Ridge and Jess Hudson (centre) at Hart Highlands are two of the many resort managers in western Canada that works with a volunteer Board of Directors and serves their respective communities.

Christian Theberge was the recipient of the 2018 Lars Fossberg Award and was presented with a custom snowboard.  He brings it out for special occasions…and rips in this photo with Kris (left) and Dan (centre) snowsports and patrol managers.  On the day that CWSAA visited Shames Mountain, Michael Huffman GM at Hudson Bay Mountain and he team also visited.  Many northern ski areas exchange staff trips to share ideas and encourage retention.

Upcoming Events

  • April 21-24, 2020 – PNSAA, Wenatchee Washington
  • April 22-24, 2020 – Mountain Planet, Grenoble Alps France
  • April 28-30, 2020 – CWSAA Spring Conference, Whistler BC
  • May 4-7, 2020 – NSAA, Amelia Island Florida
  • May 4-5, 2020 – HeliCat Canada Spring Meeting, Penticton BC
  • May 11-14, 2020 – RMLA, Grand Junction, CO
  • May 25-28, 2020 – Eastern Canada Ski Conference (OSRA, ASSQ, Atlantic), Mont Ste.Anne
  • Sept 28-29, 2020 – CWSAA ASM, Snow Valley, Edmonton AB
  • October 4-9, 2020 – International Snow Science Workshop, Fernie BC
  • October 6-8, 2020 – CWSAA Bike Park & BCY Meetings, Sun Peaks BC
  • October 25-26, 2020 – Saskatchewan Ski Area Operators Assoc, Falcon Ridge MB
  • April 27-29, 2021 – CWSAA Spring Conference, Lake Louise Alberta

Check out the Industry Events Calendar HERE for more details.

Conference Ad box

The Canada West Way

Check out some of our latest blog posts:

Places & Faces: Mt Timothy
Employee Safety: Lift Operations
Reduce the impact: Transportation