February 2021 Newsletter

February 25, 2021 Newsletter

The ski industry can be proud of its effort this season to serve its constituents and communities.  The mammoth effort to prepare and open safely in our pandemic world, has only been exceeded by the constant oversight, adjustment, and enforcement of COVID protocols on a daily basis by ski area operators.  CWSAA has had the benefit of constant communication with officials across each jurisdiction, and it is clear the ski protocols have been noted and are regarded as a model for other sectors.  Authorities remain supportive of industry safety protocols, but are ever cognizant of variants of concern, vaccine delays, and societal COVID fatigue.  For this reason, the high level of due diligence by ski areas must continue through the balance of the season.

For many sectors, the continuation of the federal wage subsidy (CEWS) is a priority.  As it did last fall, CWSAA with the Canadian Ski Council and ski association peers have started advocacy efforts to continue this program.  This is combined with a request to support infrastructure investments relevant to ski areas and surrounding communities.  Many federal resiliency funding opportunities have been available to assist business in the short-term as cited below in this newsletter, and future programs are expected to help with mid-term economic recovery.

In the midst of continued ski operations, many ski areas are in their planning mode for the coming summer and next winter.  The CWSAA Online Bike Park Forum has been scheduled for March 3rd and will provide strong content for those operating bike parks.  In late April, the CWSAA Virtual Spring Conference will offer a platform to share and learn from industry peers.  The online nature of ski industry conferences across the continent provides opportunity for increased engagement this year.

As always, please contact any one of the CWSAA team for any assistance.

          – Christopher

CWSAA Virtual Spring Conference

Conference Registration will open March 15

Early bird rate applies until April 15: $20 / per person
After April 15: $35 / per person
All registration fee proceeds go to the Small Areas Assistance fund

Showcase Members

The new Member Showcase provides recognition as a sponsor, and a speaking opportunity during online socials and/or sessions to share a key highlight of your product/service for this year.

A big thank you to Kubera Payments and Doppelmayr for committing as Diamond sponsors, and HKD Snowmakers (Gold), 1Risk (Silver) and Inter-Mtn Enterprises (Silver).

Interested in participating as a Showcase Member, find out more or complete the ‘Expression of Interest’ form >> HERE.

Conference Content

Industry working groups have been busy preparing content for the conference.  We are excited to announce the conference will kick off on Monday April 26 with a keynote from Greg Klassen, “Rebuilding Canada marketing, domestic and international travel in post COVID era.” There will be 4 sessions each day including Safety & Risk, HR, Business and Ops & Maintenance.

The CWSAA content has been selected to complement that of Rocky Mountain Lift Association and NSAA’s annual conference.  By avoiding redundant content, there are more learning opportunities available to more industry members this spring.   The RMLA and NSAA conferences are being developed, please check their websites for more info.

Stay tuned – more details on the conference sessions will be released in early March.  Check out the CWSAA Spring Conference website >> HERE

Online Industry Session

Bike Park Online Forum

Wednesday March 3 at 12:30 pm PST / 1:30 pm MST

Join discussion on preparing for your upcoming bike park season.  This session will be 2.5 hours and topics will include:

  • Panel discussion introducing safety to new riders in bike parks
    • Kira Cailes, Whistler Blackcomb, Charles (Pip) Albrow, Sun Peaks Resort, Mike Manara, Mount Washington Alpine Resort
  • What you should keep in mind when designing trails and hear about the new trends from Cameron Sorenson, Contour Trails
  • Panel discussion on Best Practices for trail maintenance
    • Mark Knight, SilverStar Mountain Resort, Owen Peters, Panorama Mountain Resort, Kris Hawryluik, Big White Resort
  • Southern Hemisphere:  Learn about our 2nd season operating under COVID – Rhys Ellis, GM, Maydena Bike Park, Tasmania Australia
  • Tips on coaching new riders during COVID from David Gagnon, PMBIA

Register >> HERE

Funding Opportunities

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The Government of Canada recently announced an additional $500 million in support through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for small businesses that continue to suffer from COVID-related losses and earmarked at least 25% of the funds for the struggling tourism sector.  Financial support may be available to tourism businesses that have sustained COVID-related losses since April 1, 2020 or if further losses are anticipated going forward.

More info >> HERE 

Canada United small business relief fund

All businesses in Canada with less than 75 employees and less than $3m in annual revenues are encouraged to review this funding application for up to $5000 in COVID related expense reimbursement.

Please note, that while the grant is being administered in Ontario, it clearly notes that it is a national program available to businesses across the country! The grant does not require any specific decline in revenues and is not linked to any health orders.

The grant covers reimbursement for the purchase of PPE, renovation of space to adhere to re-opening guidelines and enhancement of website/ developing e-commerce capability. Important: proof of payment for all items is required – ie an invoice or purchase order is NOT adequate, those items will need to be accompanied by bank or credit card statements!

The funds are available on a first come, first serve basis, therefore time is of the essence.  More information & application available >> HERE

Alberta Working Parent Benefit

To support working parents who need and have paid for child care so they can continue working during the pandemic, the Alberta government is providing the Working Parents Benefit, a one time payment of $561 per child. Families can apply starting March 1, 2021.  Alberta ski areas are encouraged to pass along this information to their employees.  More information >> HERE


See more grants available, in the CWSAA grants database >> HERE.

Awards Nomination Deadline is February 28!

Each year, the ski industry recognizes some amazing leaders in the industry.  Nominations are currently being accepted for the Jim Marshall Leadership and Lars Fossberg Excellence Awards, and the go2HR Young Safety Mogul.

Find out more, and download nomination forms >> HERE.

Infrastructure Wins

CWSAA applauds Premier Horgan and Ministers Conroy, Osborne, Kahlon, and Mark and the Government of British Columbia for its support of many community ski area and related community projects through the $100-million Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP) which provides one-time infrastructure funding grants to communities provincewide.  The grants support economic resilience, tourism, heritage and urban and rural economic development projects making life better for British Columbians and helping to restart the economy. Shovel-worthy projects are being funded through five streams: Community Economic Resilience; Destination Development, Rural Economic Recovery, Unique Heritage Infrastructure and the Aboriginal Head Start program.

Congratulations to Murray Ridge, Clearwater, Mt. Cain, Powder King, Revelstoke and other communities for their successful bids through two of the streams.  Announcements on other streams are expected in the near future.

Special recognition is extended to the CWSAA industry working group and Mountain Resorts Branch.  The former, chaired by Steve Paccagnan and supported by Brent Harley & Associates, created a convincing set of recommendations submitted to government in summer 2020 that advanced the importance and service that ski areas provide rural BC communities.  The latter offered expertise and support to industry and many ski areas in the framing and development of concepts and applications.  Thanks to the many hands that made these opportunities possible.  Read the announcements below:

Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP)

Valley Ski Club, in Alliance Alberta was recently awarded $437, 802 though the Alberta CFEP program for the Slope Stabilization, Snowmaking, and Electrical Upgrade Project.

The next CFEP small projects (up to $125,000) deadline is May 15, and large projects (only open once per year, for projects up to $1 million) deadline is June 15.  Learn more about the Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program >> HERE

Destination BC Contest Launched

Business and communities across BC are encouraged to support Destination BC’s Share Your Love for BC Contest.  BC residents are encouraged to share their own reasons why they love BC by submitting a photo and brief story on ShareYourLoveforBC.com, for their chance to win. Ten residents will each win $500 in gift cards or vouchers to spend at local businesses, within their own community, to further support our Stay Local, Support Local initiative.

Although partners are not eligible to enter the contest, DBC is asking for your support and in sharing it with your own BC audiences. The Share Your Love for BC Partner Toolkit provides all the contest details, suggested messaging, graphics and imagery, and ways you can participate.

Membership Invoices coming soon

2021/22 Membership dues invoices will be sent by email to all existing members within the coming 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.

If you have a change in accounting contacts, or do not receive an invoice by early March, please reach out to Bruno >> [email protected]

New Members

CWSAA is excited to welcome the following new members:


Driving Force

Ski Industry Budgeting

Many ski areas are going through capital planning and budgeting right now.  When considering vehicle requirements, do yourself a favour and contact Dan Clark of Driving Force to see how their unique leasing terms can be your solution to extending budgets.

Dan Clark: 


Kal Tire supports Safety

Thank you to Kal Tire for their support of safety and the Alpine Responsibility Code posters.


Mt Joy – In search of lifts

With a growth in visitation, Mount Joy is looking for some new used equipment – in particular a carpet lift and chair lift.  Please contact Chris Bogue at [email protected]

Lake Louise Seeking Fixed Grip Quad Chair

Lake Louise is in search of a used fixed grip quad (preferably not older than 1990) for the beginner area.  Minimum specs required:

  • Length:      550 m   /    Elevation:     65 m
  • Number of Towers:      6 +terminal hold down
  • Number of Carriers:     70
  • Power:                 70 kW (90 HP)

Please contact Bruno Mannsberger at [email protected]

Ski areas that have equipment to sell or that your looking for, please contact [email protected] to include in the classifieds.

Places & Faces

Over the past few weeks Bob Dodge has been sharing stories about SROAMs grads, in celebration of the program’s 40th anniversary. One of the articles, “The Canada West Way: A Culture of Cooperation and Collaboration,” features current and past CWSAA Board members.  In this article of Tales of SROAM Success, features Dorothy Gould (class of 1984), Jason Paterson (1996), John Shea (1983), Tim Foster (1990) and Steve Paccagnan (1988).  The article also share’s Jimmie’s legacy of The Canada West Way.

Read more, including the latest article “Big Heroes in Small Areas” >> HERE.

A view from above!

Ski areas in the prairies have used drone footage to showcase their ski areas.  Check out how Falcon Ridge (Manitoba) uses the frozen lake to increase parking in their aerial video.

Little Smoky (Alberta) has created a number of drone videos, including this one building their tubing park.

Sasquatch Mountain Resort’s grooming supervisor, Drew Lamb was featured on JoyTV’s back to business, cool jobs feature.  Check it out >> HERE

Shames Mountain in Terrace BC had their snow report go viral after 110 cms over the weekend.  Christian Theberge and his crew spent Sunday digging out, and the community was chest deep shredding on Monday.

Advertise in the Newsletter

CWSAA Associate members are invited to submit a monthly digital ad for this newsletter.  Find out more >> 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.