June 2020 Newsletter

June 18, 2020 Newsletter

Update from the Board of Directors

The CWSAA Board of Directors has been heavily engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been meeting monthly.  Most recently, the following directions have been approved.  Further communication on each item will be forwarded to the membership over the coming weeks.

Fall Meetings – due to the uncertainty of health authority regulations and time and expense for members, the in-person Fall ASM and BCY fall meetings have been formally cancelled for 2020.  CWSAA is reviewing alternative fall communication forms (such as the Online Industry Sessions) and will communicate further details shortly.

Note: The Saskatchewan Ski Area Operators Association meeting for October 25-26 at Falcon Ridge is still scheduled.

AGM – the CWSAA AGM will be hosted virtually on August 19.   Details on the meeting will be forwarded to the membership shortly.

CWSAA Exclusion of Liability Program – Robert Kennedy presented several recommendations to the Board of Directors in light of recent case law.  Updates to the Exclusion of Liability signage wording and waivers were approved.  A memo to the membership and suppliers updating these changes will be sent by June 25.

Wednesday morning Online Industry Sessions

Every Wednesday, industry members have been gathering online for a new topic and discussion.

Thank you to all the panelists and presenters that have helped with the first 9 sessions. We’ve had about 60-100 participants on each of the calls. If you missed a session, you can find the links to watch them in our Member’s Only section.

Next Session:

Wednesday June 24 at 9:45am Pacific / 10:45am Mountain
Topic: Load Test Basics for Above Surface Passenger Ropeways
Sign up for this session HERE.

About this session:  For those who operate and maintain above surface passenger ropeways, they must become familiar with load testing.  This session will discuss the different types of load tests and the reasons why load testing is necessary. Focusing on periodic (5 year) load tests, learn basic calculations and how detailed planning and organization is key to ensuring that it gets done properly.

*Please ensure you pass along the information about next weeks session to your Operations & Maintenance team.*

Sessions are open only to CWSAA Members.  There is no cost for members to participate, however you will need to register for each individual session by noon on Tuesday prior to the session.  Once registered, hold tight, we’ll send you the link to the session on Tuesday afternoon.

Coop Marketing Program Funding opportunities

CWSAA has already received some funds and is the process of pursuing other industry marketing funding opportunities on behalf of members.

In BC, Destination BC has provided CWSAA with an operating grant to ensure CWSAA is able to continue its industry support, including the operations COVID best practices project.  A Destination Canada and Destination BC partnership has also provided an additional $150,000 in industry coop marketing funding, which will augment existing funding.  A letter of appreciation has been forward to The Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister, BC Tourism, Arts, & Culture.

In Alberta, the Travel Alberta Coop program has re-opened for two special intakes.  CWSAA has applied for a partnership marketing grant for the Go Ski Alberta program.  At the request of Travel Alberta, CWSAA is also exploring a combined industry application for the Product/Experience Development grant.  Alberta GMs and marketing managers were sent a survey this week for feedback on this opportunity.  It is important for all ski areas in Alberta to complete this survey no later than Sunday June 21.

CWSAA recognizes the challenging times that ski areas are facing and are grateful for these new funding opportunities to help support the industry.  CWSAA also has a Grants database.  We have been working on updating this file based on current opportunities.  For any feedback on grants or marketing programs, please reach out to Cynthia: [email protected].


The CWSAA Board and Government Relations committee have been working through an extensive list of advocacy issues since the start of the COVID crisis.  Close alignment on key issues with other sectors and provincial and national bodies has been a key strategy to better leverage tourism sector positions.  Results to date have included essential service designation, wage subsidy (CEWS) extension until August, business liquidity measures, Relief and Recovery Funds through Western Economic Diversification, and National Park rent relief.

The ski areas operation best practices documentation has been a comprehensive effort on behalf of CWSAA, Risk Committee and a dedicated working group.  It was received very well by regulators and served as a template for other sectors.

There continues to be multiple issues going forward, but two can be categorized as leading efforts:

  • The continuation of a wage subsidy past August 2020 is important to retaining as many industry people as possible, given the negative impact to demand and reduced capacity due to COVID protocols.
  • Accessing sufficient workers for the winter ahead is equally important and has shaped CWSAA recommendations around work permit extensions and allowances for travel.

These are federal jurisdiction but the provinces are influential partners in advocating these priorities to the government in Ottawa.

Alberta Tourism Industry Associations Advisory Panel

CWSAA is part of the new Alberta Tourism Industry Associations Advisory Panel that is tasked to provide a tourism recovery action plan to the Premier’s office and Economic Recovery Council.

As a leading advocate for Alberta’s Tourism Industry, the Tourism Industry Association (TIAA) of Alberta has launched a collaborative industry-wide process to develop recommendations to the Government of Alberta for: a) accelerating the recovery of the province’s visitor economy; and, b) positioning the industry for a resilient and sustainable future.  To champion the process, TIAA has established the Alberta Tourism Industry Associations Advisory Panel which is comprised of leaders from several of Alberta’s major tourism sector associations, including:  TIAA, Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association, Restaurants Canada, Indigenous Tourism Alberta, CWSAA, Alberta Media Production Industries Association, National Airlines Council of Canada and Meetings Means Business Canada.  The panel is also working to engage other visitor economy related sector associations in Alberta through an online engagement process. The panel intends to table its recommendations with Premier Kenney and the Economic Recovery Council towards the end of June, 2020. Click Here to view the media release.

AGM: Save the date!


CWSAA will be holding its annual AGM virtually on Wednesday August 19th.  It will be a short meeting from 9:45 am – 10:30 am Pacific (perhaps shorter!)

Stay tuned for more information.

TIAC Recovery Plan Campaign

With provinces advancing their reopening plans, earlier this month the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) launched a broad, industry-developed recovery campaign that seeks sector-specific government support to ensure Canada has a tourism industry post-pandemic. CWSAA wishes to commend the TIAC Board led by Dave McKenna (of Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit), for their industry leadership.

TIAC’s recommendations fall into five core themes: Championing Safety; Sustaining Liquidity & Supporting Solvency; Enticing Canadians to Travel; Repositioning Canada’s Visitor Economy; and Supercharging the Canadian Economy.

The proposal also outlines recommended time frames, including immediate and recovery needs in short, mid and long-term horizons.  Learn more on the TourismCounts.ca website, which also provides a link for easily sending a letter to your local MP.  Read the press release here. Read the report here.

Get Involved!
Tourism operators (and supporting businesses) are encouraged to send letters to their MPs asking for support of the tourism industry through the COVID-19 recovery efforts. Go to tourismcounts.ca for a letter template.

go2HR COVID Resources

Workplace Assessment Tool

go2HR’s new COVID-19 Workplace Assessment Tool provides tourism and hospitality employers with information and resources to assist you in developing a robust COVID-19 Safety Plan. Their tool includes five key steps, which will help you evaluate your current set up in relation to managing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in your workplace, with suggestions on how to improve.


go2HR and Destination BC have partnered up on several webinars.  Watch recordings from recent webinars, including two mini webinars on training and getting employees back to work.  You can also register to attend an upcoming webinar, such as the July 7th session on Revisiting your COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Clean it Right

A new program in Manitoba, Clean It Right, Training for the Tourism, Hospitality and Retail Industry is available for Tourism, Hospitality and Retail businesses.  Manitoba businesses can now register to create a free business training account giving them access to the Clean It Right program. Only businesses in the tourism, hospitality and retail sector, training employees in Manitoba are eligible for this particular program, however, go2HR has advised that a similar program in BC is in the works.

Tourism HR Canada Survey

To help shape recovery efforts and ensure Tourism HR Canada is providing targeted, useful, and timely resources to tourism businesses across the country, Tourism HR Canada has launched the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Impact Survey.

Please participate by June 26, your input is very valuable.

Destination Canada  #<CommunityName>Nice

Support national tourism social strategy #CanadaNice, by sharing local stories using the hashtag #<CommunityName>Nice e.g. #RevelstokeNice, #RedDeerNice

The call to action is to share:

  • Local stories highlighting what people love about their local community;
  • Stories about the people and businesses who represent the spirit of their community; and
  • Stories from people who have visited their communities

Content should be shared on social media with the hashtag #<community>Nice. DBC will curate and share with Destination Canada for amplification as part of their national domestic campaign.

Business Resilience Service

Canadian Chamber and the Government of Canada have teamed up with accounting professionals and business advisors to provide free advice to small to medium-sized business, not-for-profits and charities to navigate uncertainty.

The Business Resilience Service (BRS) allows businesses to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs will be most appropriate to support your small- to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity on how to respond and reshape amid uncertainty.

The program, delivered to your organization free of charge, provides:

  • Guidance on COVID-19 financial support program options and eligibility
  • Direction on accessing the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help to make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Real time insights and feedback to policymakers

The BRS program will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25, and will involve support from approximately 125 business advisors from across the accounting profession. For more information, or to access this program visit: canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/brs/

CWSAA Partnerships

Dan Clark of Driving Force stands with the new Give’R Truck.  These complimentary vehicle rentals are part of Driving Force’s community commitment promise and can be used to assist many ski & snowboard clubs, community charities, and volunteer ski area projects.

CWSAA is pleased to confirm that its partnership with Kal Tire will resume for the 2020/21 winter season.  Kal Tire, CWSAA and a working group of ski areas is currently reviewing the existing program for improvements and will continue to provide significant benefits for members.  Watch for program details in coming communications from CWSAA.

Welcome New CWSAA Members

Thank you to all the Member’s for their support of CWSAA and the ski industry during this time.

We are excited to welcome several recent new members to CWSAA, including Retallack Lodge and the following new Associate Members:

  • Ascent360
  • IDgroup
  • Okanagan College
  • Unified Systems Inc
  • Centreplate
  • Ski Anywhere
  • Newman Pearce
  • PyxisAi, LLC

Places & Faces

After seven years with Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, Mike Huffman has  stepped down as the Resort’s General Manager to take on a new role outside the ski industry. As of June 15, 2020 Lex Rei-Jones will take over as the Interim General Manager.  Lex has been with Hudson Bay Mountain since 2005, most recently as Inside Operations Manager.  Lex is a graduate of the Selkirk College, Ski Resort Operations and Management program.  Read the News Release.

Exciting news at Pass Powderkeg, Crowsnest Pass AB.  This summer an extension to their lower T-Bar will shift the off-load area 50-80 m above the current off-load, with the addition of a tower and rope extension.  They have also purchased a new Prinoth snowcat, to replace their 1991 machine!  Read the News Release.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation have signed a MOU to complete studies and due diligence for the Banff Eco-Transit Hub. The project would create a airport-rail link to downtown Calgary and Banff National ParkRead the News Release.

Congratulations to SilverStar Mountain Resort on the NSAA Award for Climate Change Impact, which was presented virtually on June 3.  SilverStar was nominated for two categories Environmental Excellence and Climate Change Impact. Read More.