July 2019 Newsletter

July 17, 2019 Newsletter

2019 CWSAA Fall Meetings

Registration is now open for Fall Meetings.  Please see the links below for draft agendas, rates and hotel booking info.

Don’t miss out on early bird rates.  Registration fees will increase on August 16!  Also, don’t forget to book your hotel before the group discount runs out.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba (ASM) Fall Division Meeting
September 24 – 25, 2019
Snow Valley
Edmonton, Alberta


Bike Park Forum
October 1, 2019
SilverStar Mountain Resort


BC-Yukon Fall Division Meeting
October 2 – 3, 2019
SilverStar Mountain Resort


Small Areas Assistance – deadline extended to July 30

Small Areas eligible for funding, who would like to attend a Fall meeting, must submit a written request by July 30 to [email protected]
At the January, 2019 Board meeting, the CWSAA Board of Directors approved a policy change which came into effect this month. The updated policy change expands the funding opportunity to $2000 over a 24 month period. Read the full Small Areas Assistance Policy HERE.

NEW Fall 151/152 Lift Courses at ASM & SSAOA Meeting

A Lift 151 (Surface lifts) & 152 (Fixed grip) course will be offered on September 24 in Edmonton in conjunction with the ASM meeting, and October 27/28 (date TBC) during the SSAOA meeting at Table Mountain.  More background below.  Further details will be distributed soon.

Fall Sponsorship Opportunities

During the Fall meetings, members will have the opportunity to sponsor the meeting series and showcase their brand.  Sponsorship is $1000, which includes recognition at all three Fall events – ASM, BC-Y, and Bike Park Forum.  For more information, view the CWSAA Fall Sponsorship webpage.

Alberta Community Ski Area Best Practices Project

CWSAA is conducting a study that will result in the development of tools and Best Practices resources for ski areas in business planning and operational decision making.  CWSAA is pleased to announce that Bob Falle has been contracted to develop the Best Practices Guide.

In order to provide meaningful tools and resources, a survey was distributed earlier this week to all Alberta Ski areas.  This is a critical document for all Alberta Ski Areas to complete.  Bob may also reach out to other ski areas outside of Alberta for their input on these best practices.  If you did not receive this survey or have any questions or concerns, please contact Cynthia at CWSAA: [email protected]

Exclusion of Liability Program

On June 24, ski area General Managers were sent a memo explaining the updates to the CWSAA Exclusion of Liability Program.   This included new language and design for the Exclusion of Liability signage and tickets.  A follow-up email will be sent in the coming days with guidance on signage locations and a discussion of Risk and Safety Awareness description for websites which is under development.

CWSAA is currently in the process of ordering the signs, and will advise Ski Areas when they are available and the process for ordering/distribution.  Ski area members can receive up to 20 Exclusion of Liability signs per year.  Additional signs may also be ordered from CWSAA or through signage partners.

The fall division meetings will include a detailed presentation on the Exclusion of Liability program.  CWSAA wishes to recognize Robert Kennedy for his guidance on this initiative for the benefit of all ski areas.

New Lift Mechanic Courses Launched

One of CWSAA’s strategic directives is around People and Talent Development.  As part of this effort, over the past year CWSAA has partnered with Selkirk College, Technical Safety BC, AEDARSA and Alberta Safety Codes Council to update the 151/152/153 lift mechanic courses as presented at the recent CWSAA spring conference in Whistler.  A further objective is to increase the accessibility of courses to ski areas by developing on-line content and delivering the practical content more frequently and throughout western Canada.

The first remote course was delivered by Dave Looney of Technical Safety BC and Ross White of Selkirk College last week at Fernie BC.  The next courses will be held at the ASM and SSAOA fall division meetings, as well as 2020 spring conference in Whistler.  Accessibility to these courses by community ski areas is supported by the Small Areas Assistance fund.

CWSAA has placed high focus on safety, education, and expanding the base of industry knowledge and best practise.  In addition to making good business sense, this direction helps the industry maintain the confidence of regulators, insurers, and related partners.

Presenters for the sessions include Ross White, Dave Looney, and Bob Bell.  CWSAA is interested in recruiting additional experienced industry folks to lead future courses.  More instructors will allow courses to be delivered more frequently.  Those interested are asked to contact the CWSAA office.

Wildfires & Air Quality Resources

Wildfires and Air Quality can present challenges for staff and guests at ski areas with summer operations.  At this time of year, it is prudent to review the following with staff, employees and stakeholders who are active within your Controlled Recreation Area:

  • emergency egress and evacuation plans
  • fire-fighting caches and water supplies,
  • monitoring and managing public access and activities,
  • active or planned construction, development and forestry works,
  • other safety plans, including Resort Wildfire Plans, and,
  • communication protocols with the Wildfire Service, local fire departments, and local government.

 Below are some additional resources that you might find helpful:

Temporary Foreign Workers

The federal government recently announced a 30 day consultation window for proposed regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that would permit the issuance of occupation-specific work permits.  Based on input solicited from ski areas, the Temporary Foreign Worker program is used primarily for ski instructors, though used much less than in past due to the cost, time, and difficulty of application.  In its submission, CWSAA clearly illustrates the program is one of last resort for industry, but chronic worker shortage forces employers to seek every opportunity to recruit.  In addition, the submission described the ski instruction profession as one of choice and lifestyle, which differentiates itself from other worker categories such as agriculture.  One of CWSAA recommendations is to create a special work permit classification that is tied to a winter season commitment to one employer.  CWSAA’s submission is one of many from industry sector groups, and follows up on significant previous work by CWSAA, go2HR, Tourism HR Canada and other partners to demonstrate the labour shortage needs in western Canada.

The consultation period remains open until July 21.   Interested members may contact CWSAA for more information.

Forest and Range Practices Act

The BC government just completed initial consultations on a review of the Forest and Range Practices Act.  CWSAA engaged directly with the province through the Adventure Tourism Coalition (18 sector associations including TIABC, Backcountry Lodges, HeliCat Canada).  Through the strong leadership of our chair, Brad Harrison of Backcountry Lodges BC, numerous engagements including two formal input sessions for our sector during the consultation process to allow us direct input into the process were facilitated.  The Mountain Resort Branch is also monitoring the review.   Like all other adventure tourism sectors, viewscapes was a primary concern for ski areas and was reflected in the input.  In fall 2019, the government will bring forward a report consolidating the feedback.

Daylight Saving Time

CWSAA recently solicited input from ski areas regarding the BC government’s proposed time change to Daylight Saving Time throughout the year.  The predominant response was that Daylight Saving Time in the winter months would delay start up operations and therefore first lift for public.  As a result, CWSAA made a submission with the following two recommendations.

  1. Keep the status quo with time change.
  2. If a change is warranted, adopt Standard Time (not Daylight Saving Time).

In addition to the public consultation and various sector submissions, the Premier has stated that much will depend on the pending time change decision in Washington, Oregon and California.

Ski areas may make individual submissions HERE until July 19.

Note: In 2017, Alberta rejected Bill 203 that proposed eliminating time change.

Fun Stuff

When DRIVING FORCE says they can get any kind of vehicle…they mean it.  CWSAA met up with Dan Clark and our friends at DrivingForce in Edmonton.  Ski areas are mostly interested in trucks and passenger vans, but we had some fun on the lot looking at a couple vehicles they have for lease or sale including a 2019 Range Rover Sport, Jaguar, and a 2017 Maserati Levante with only 454 km on it (only $88K!!!).

Construction Zone

Checking out the diggers and big activity in a construction zone is popular for many, not just kids!  In this special summer feature, we’re bringing you some exciting updates from Ski Areas with big projects happening right now.

If there are any exciting new projects happening at your ski area and would like to share with your industry colleagues, please send pictures and updates to [email protected]

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC
Aerial Park, Mountain Biking and new Chairlift

Revelstoke Mountain Resort has a number of large spring and summer construction projects launching new products and expanded terrain, and has recently updated its Master Plan.

Aerial Adventure Park:  On July 1 the new aerial park opened offering more than 50 different beginner, intermediate, and advanced obstacles.  Check out this cool time-lapse video of the construction of the new park.

Mountain Biking: Revelstoke’s mountain biking opens July 26.  Access to the downhill trail, Fifty Six Twenty is via the Revelation Gondola and a 7 kilometre climb on The Stoke Climb Trail. A unique offering is a fleet of 20 full suspension e-bikes from Pivot and Specialized.

Stellar Chair:  Construction of the new chair and terrain expansion at RMR is underway this summer.  Footings for the top and bottom terminals have been poured (see pictures) in preparation for delivery of the new Leitner Poma fixed grip quad.

Eastlink Park, Alberta
Tbar installation

Eastlink Park is in the process of an expansion project that includes the addition of a (new to them) Tbar and expanded terrain accessed by the new lift.  The terrain preparation is well underway and the new area was seeded a few weeks ago.  CWSAA visited Eastlink this week to see lots of new grass sprouting up.  The towers are on site and getting a fresh coat of paint.  Much of the work is being done by volunteers as well as summer students.

Castle Mountain Resort, Alberta
Snowmaking & Natural Gas

Great communications example!  While Castle undergoes its major snowmaking investments, they have been posting regular updates on their blog as well as social media channels.  This communication is really connecting their passholders with the project, so that they understand the scope and extent of all the infrastructure that for the most part isn’t very visible to the public.  Check out their blog HERE.

Preparations for the new snowmaking pump house are well underway and the waterlines and electrical installation within the base area now underway.

Background: June 10, 2019 News Release.

Winsport, Alberta
Mountain Bike Skills Centre

Only July 1, Winsport opened its new Mountain Bike Skills Centre consisting of 9 acres and 14 trails including cross country trails, flow trails, skills loop. This progression-based network is located on the west side of Canada Olympic Park and is currently open for lessons and programs, and opens to the public on August 15.

Read More about the new skills centre.

Sun Peaks, BC
Crystal Chair

Sun Peaks recently announced they will be replacing the existing Crystal triple chair, with a Doppelmayr fixed grip quad.  The new lift will increase uphill capacity by 20% and will be realigned so that the top terminal is at the Top of the World on Mt. Tod.  Read the News Release.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sun Peaks, as they break ground this summer.  The lift installation is slated for next summer, and will be operational for the 2020/21 season.

Places & Faces

Congratulations to the graduates of the first remote 151/152/153 lift maintenance courses last week at Fernie Alpine Resort.   Sarah from Kicking Horse and Tom from Fernie were two of 18 attendees from Castle Mountain, Pass Powderkeg, and Kimberley.  Dave Looney (Technical Safety BC) and Ross White (Selkirk College) facilitated the course coordinated by Selkirk College and RCR.

Mt Sima has acquired a new winch equipped snow groomer with the support of the Yukon Lottery Commission Large Project Grant. Read the announcement.

CWSAA met with MLA Glenn van Dijken at the Alberta Legislature to build awareness of the economic and social contributions of the ski industry in the province.   Mr. van Dijken is the Chair of the Alberta Economic Future Standing Committee, and is the MLA (Barrhead Westlock Athabasca) for a number of ski areas in northern Alberta.  He learned to ski at Misty Ridge, and is familiar with the recent work done by the team at Tawatinaw ski area.

The Ontario Snow Resorts Association (OSRA) has announced that Kevin Nichol will assume the role of Association President in September, while Bruce Haynes transitions to retirement later this year.  Kevin has worked with ski areas across the country in operational, programming, risk management and consultant roles.  CWSAA is looking forward to working with Kevin and the team at OSRA.

Marsh & McLennan recently expanded with the acquisition of JLT.  Sandy Millar (pictured right), Rich, Wendy, Will and the team from the Vancouver office are now Marsh CanadaRead More.

CSIA announced last week an organizational restructure, that includes the change of roles and addition of some new management positions.  Mark Sedgwick joins CSIA as the Director, Product Development and Information Technology.  Jeff Marks moves into a newly defined role of National Program Director.  Jon Tishuk joins the team as the Director of Marketing.  Read More.

Mt Washington has added 2 members to their senior executive team: Daniel Caley (Director of Maintenance and Facilities) and Layne Marett (Director of Mountain Operations).  Dan Caley began at Mt Washington in 1993, and was most recently the Manager of Maintenance.  Layne brings a wealth of experience from his roles at North Shore Mountains.  Read More.

Warren Sparks was recently recognized with the CSA Award of Merit for his innovative leadership, commitment to continuous improvement and unparalleled contributions to safety through passenger ropeway standards.  Congratulations to Warren and thank you for your leadership within the industry. Read More.

Mount Seymour launched hiking and scenic chair rides on the Mystery Peak Express Chairlift this summer.   Seymour is also utilizing the knowledge and experience of Alex Douglas (a 40-year employee and Rental/Retail Manager) on a weekly guided hike showcasing the history and old cabin sites around the mountain.

Upcoming Events

  • Sept 24-25, 2019 – CWSAA ASM Fall Division Meeting, Snow Valley Edmonton
  • Oct 1, 2019 – CWSAA Bike Park Forum, SilverStar Mountain
  • Oct 2-3, 2019 – CWSAA BCY Fall Division Meeting, SilverStar Mountain
  • Oct 21-22, 2019 – HeliCat Fall Meeting
  • Oct 27-28, 2019 – SSAOA, Table Mountain
  • April 21-24, 2020 – PNSAA, Wenatchee Washington
  • April 22-25, 2020 – Mountain Planet, Grenoble Alps France
  • April 28-30, 2020 – CWSAA Spring Conference, Whistler BC
  • May 4-7, 2020 – NSAA, Amelia Island Florida
  • April 27-29, 2021 – CWSAA Spring Conference, Lake Louise Alberta

Check out the Industry Events Calendar HERE for more details.