March Newsletter

March 21, 2017 Newsletter

5 days left to save 

The CWSAA Spring Conference – Growing New Skiers & Riders – is just over a month away.  Important reminders:

  • Conference registration rates and accomodation at the Chateau Lake Louise rates will increase after Saturday March 25. Register and book your rooms now to take advantage of the early bird savings.
  • There are just a few trade show booths still available for companies interested in exhibiting.
  • Some maintenance courses and Parkscapers requires pre-registration (on conference registration form).

Alberta Energy Costs with deregulated Utilities

Seeking relief on energy costs and identifying industry carbon tax incentives are two of the priorities for industry advocacy efforts.  CWSAA Director Shawn Balog initiated contact with Utility Specialist Rick Cowburn on developing a collective proposal to the Alberta Utilities Commission. The objective is to redefine year round tariffs that are based on a maximum load period.  For most ski areas, this consumption level is usually a brief duration at the start of winter linked to snow making.  Rick worked with CWSAA on securing the successful terms with Fortis.

Ski areas interested in this initiative should contact Shawn Balog ([email protected]) or Christopher Nicolson ([email protected]).

CWSAA & HCC Fall Meetings

CWSAA and Heli Cat Canada are pleased to announce a combined fall meeting.  HCC will meet on September 27 & 28, and CWSAA BC Division meeting will be September 28 & 29.  Combined meetings will be hosted on September 28.  CWSAA and HCC have worked closely together over the past year on coordinating events, government advocacy, and provincial Adventure Tourism strategy.  These meetings will take place at Sun Peak Resort.

The Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba (ASM)  Division Meeting will be held October 3 & 4, 2017.  This years ASM meetings will be at Canyon Ski Resort in Red Deer.  With Canada’s 150th celebrations, accomodations were limited in Banff.  Red Deer offers many hotel options, a central location and a fantastic venue.

Election Tool Kit

The BC Provincial Election in BC is May 9th.  It is important that ski areas make a presence within their local ridings and demonstrate that ski is an important part of the economy.  Walt Judas and the Tourism Industry Association of BC has put together a tool kit of suggested actions to help ski areas engage from writing letters to asking questions at public meetings.   Click here.

BC Minimum Wage

The BC Government confirmed the minimum wage will go up by 50 cents in September to $11.35.  This increase “includes a 20-cent increase based on the BC 2016 Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 30 cents. There will also be an identical increase of 50 cents per hour to the liquor server minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.”

The formula to calculate the increase is consistent with the government’s initial announcement.  Therefore, the higher than expected CPI moved the rate to $11.35, rather than the projected $11.25.

Whistler Blackcomb Master Development Agreement

CWSAA congratulates Whistler Blackcomb on announcing its Master Development Agreement with the Province.  This includes 60-year future certainty for WB’s operations, and concurrent agreements with local Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations to participate in the success of the resort as partners.

Alberta Budget

Alberta’s provincial budget was announced on March 16, 2017.  It included $49.2 million to support tourism marketing through Travel Alberta, and $10.8 million to the ministry’s Tourism Division in support of industry development.  CWSAA meets with the Ministry officials later this month to provide an overview of the province-wide ski industry and advance ski industry priorities.

Budget Highlights:

Budget Speech:

Destination BC Funding

Tourism Minister Shirley Bond attended the Tourism Association Conference of BC annual conference and announced a stable funding formula for Destination BC.  It includes a $50 million annual budget, and up to a 2% increase each year based on industry and Destination BC performance.  The Minister also announced and extension of the Resort Municipality Initiative funds through 2018.

New requirements for Joint Health & Safety Committees

go2HR highlights BC Worksafe’s new requirements for written evaluation for Joint Health and Safety Committees starting April 3rd, 2017.

Tourism HR Canada

Tourism HR Canada hosted a two-day work session with 50 tourism representatives from across the country regarding labour shortages and other tourism HR challenges.  CWSAA interests were carried by our good friend Walt Judas of TIABC.  The session will provide industry insight needed to help shape government policy.  Research presented at the session revealed dramatic differences between public and tourism industry perceptions of issues such as foreign seasonal workers, as well as recruiting opportunities from first nation communities.

Workshop notes are available here.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Canada West Ski Areas Association AGM
Tuesday, April 25, 2017:  1:00 – 1:30pm MST
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
part of the CWSAA annual conference

Places & Faces

Congratulations to Darcy Arnold of Big White, who was recently recognized for 29 years of service at the mountain.

Softbank Group acquires Intrawest‘s parent company Fortress Investment Group. Fortress’s principals and senior investment professionals will remain in place and will  continue to operate within SoftBank as an independent business headquartered in New York.

Sasquatch Mountain Resort is the new branding for the former Hemlock Resort.  The resort is located within Sts’ailes’ Traditional Territory. The Sasquatch, which is an anglicized pronunciation of Sa:sq’ets, is the primary caretaker of the land and an integral aspect of the Sts’ailes’ identity and spiritual beliefs. The Sasquatch ensures that the land remains plentiful and well taken care of.

Keith Lyall of Sun Peaks Resort has received the B.C. Golf Superintendents Association (BCGSA) award for Superintendent of the Year.  In addition to his role with the Resorts’ Golf Course, Lyall also looks after the community’s sports centre and ice rink, and acts as environmental management system co-ordinator for the Resort.

Buy, Sell, Trade


  • Mt. Timothy (BC) is looking for 30 kid’s helmets and used snowboards for their rental fleet.  Contact Caroline Sherrer: [email protected] or 250.396.4095.
  • Tabor Mountain (BC) is looking to trade a 400m electric handle tow for a gas powered handle tow. Contact Fern Thibault: 250.963.7542 or [email protected]
  • Lake Louise selling a x-large ‘BAG JUMP‘, an air landing pad for tricks and stunts in big air comps or terrain park tricks. Size 15m x 15m x 3m when inflated, including fans. Contact Rocket Miller: [email protected] or 403-522-1354.
  • Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes (Manitoba) rental shop is looking for some used Salomon ski gear to restock their rental shop.  Specifically Salomon skis & bindings (all sizes especially 150 & 160), and ski boots (sized 8, 10.5, 12).  Contact Emily Christie: [email protected]
  • Shames (BC) has all parts for a Mueller TBar for sale.  Springboses, Tbars, Sheaves, except towers and motor.  Contact Christian Theberge [email protected] or 250.635.3773.

Season Ending Reminders


  • Skier visits:  All Ski Areas are asked to report their skier visits by April 21 (or within 2 weeks of closing).  CWSAA will be distributing a submission form shortly.
  • Ecosign will be continuing to send out the CWSAA Financial Analysis directly.  Participating resorts should watch for communication from Ecosign this Spring.

Upcoming Events


  • March 26 – March 31, 2017 – 2017 CADS Ski & Snowboard Festival, Sun Peaks, BC
  • March 26 – April 1, 2017 – Mountain Travel Symposium, Banff, AB
  • March 30 – April 2, 2017 – CSP Leadership Conference 2017, Big White, BC
  • April 4-5, 2017 – Cross Country Ski Areas Association Annual Conference, SilverStar, BC
  • April 25 – 27, 2017 – CWSAA Spring Conference & Trade Show, Lake Louise, AB
  • May 1, 2017 – HeliCat Canada Spring Meeting, Penticton, BC
  • May 5 – 8, 2017 – NSAA, National Convention & Trade Show, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Sept 28-29, 2017 – BC-Yukon CWSAA Fall Division Meeting, Sun Peaks
  • October 3-4, 2017 – ASM CWSAA Fall Division Meeting, Canyon Ski Resort, Red Deer AB
  • October 30, 2017- SSAOA Fall meeting, Asessippi, Manitoba