May 2021 Newsletter

May 25, 2021 Newsletter

Summer operations are about to begin for many ski areas.  General managers met during spring conference and this past week and have agreed that they will enter summer with the same high level of COVID safety protocols used in the winter.  For example, mandatory face coverings, hand sanitizing, and physical distancing protocols will be consistent between ski area operations and operators will obviously follow all health orders in their respective jurisdictions.  Ski areas will adjust through the summer as official guidance allows.  The commitment by operators provides confidence for staff, community, and also regulators.  CWSAA has reached out to authorities to advise them of the ski sectors commitment which is intended to maintain the confidence in the proven effectiveness of the protocols.

The past year has largely been defined by the pandemic, which has guided CWSAA activities.  As we approach mid-2021, the industry is also planning beyond the current crisis.  In July, the CWSAA Board of Directors will be updating the association’s strategic directions.  These are informed by the directions from members expressed through the annual CWSAA Member Services survey as referenced below in this newsletter. The importance of member participation and feedback can not be overstated as it guides the organization into the post COVID period.  Thank you for your input.

Since the end of conference, CWSAA has been actioning the many directives identified in our industry discussions.  News and sessions related to risk management, responsible stewardship, human resources, industry best practices, and other topics will be distributed in the coming weeks.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact the office for any assistance.

– Christopher Nicolson

CWSAA Member Services Survey

Each year, CWSAA asks its members to identify the most important issues to their businesses and provide feedback on CWSAA services.  This direct input helps shape CWSAA’s strategic directions and activities.

The 2021 Member Services Survey is now open.  Please take the time to complete the survey by June 9.

Complete the survey >> HERE.

CWSAA Virtual Spring Conference

Thank you to the many people that contributed to the 2021 CWSAA Virtual Spring Conference.

  • 649 Attendees
  • $13,000 raised for the small areas fund.
  • 15 sessions + 2 awards / showcase events
  • 52 speakers
  • 12.5 hours of recorded sessions (you can go back and watch missed sessions).
  • More than 5000 messages exchanged between delegates on the Whova app
  • and 1 cowboy hat (none other than CWSAA Chair Andy Cohen)

Based on the survey feedback, participants found great value in the conference rating the Overall Conference at 4.46 out of 5.0.

Managers within CWSAA Member businesses, may access the CWSAA Member’s Only website.  On this website, many session recordings are available to view.

2021 CWSAA Awards

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the 2021 CWSAA Awards.  The 2021 recipients are:

  • 2021 Lars Fossberg Excellence Award – Sam Oettli
  • 2021 Jim Marshall Leadership Award – Bob Bell
  • 2021 Jimmie Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award – Bill Dunlop

Read more about the 2021 recipients in The Canada West Way >> HERE.

Member Showcase: E4Soft

E4Soft goal with Goplay: “Put the active world at everyone’s fingertips”

GoPlay is the online marketplace for all lovers of outdoor and indoor activities. Consumers will find all kind of activities here, from skiing to hiking, mountain biking, tennis, …

People view availability real-time, from all of the participating venues (ski resorts, tennis centers, etc.), and simply search for what they would like to do, choose the place and time that fits them best, and voila! Enjoy…

GoPlay is environmentally sound and meets modern expectations for “Paperless”, “Contactless” and “Cashless” solutions.

With a “direct to activity”, no more lines and much more fun! That’s what resorts can propose to their customer without upfront investment.

Much more than online sales, it’s a global digital solution accessing a continuous evolving community of active people.

E4Soft wants to help you get more new customers.  For more information, contact them at:  [email protected]

CWSAA is grateful for the sponsorship E4Soft for the Spring Conference session “Bringing Best Practices to Learning and Development, and the Tools to Support.”  Watch their sponsorship video >> HERE.

Employee Vaccination program guidance

As COVID vaccination rates and access to vaccinations increase, so to do the questions around mandatory vaccinations for workplaces.

Details will be coming shortly for a CWSAA Online Industry Session regarding this topic and regulatory environment.  Recently, there have been some presentations that start to address this issue.

Please find them in the following links:

  • BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC) Article Contributed by Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP May 19, 2021 >> HERE
  • BC Hotel Association webinar (March 29, 2021) Understand Employer Rights & Responsibilities in COVID-19 Testing & Vaccine Rollout >> HERE.  or  View Slide Deck

Funding Opportunities

Alberta Jobs Now Program 

The Alberta Jobs Now program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses with job supports to get Albertans back to work.  Employers can apply for funding to offset the cost of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans in new or vacant positions.

First intake: May 20 to August 31, 2021

Employers can apply for a grant to offset salary or training costs, or both, equal to 25% of a new hire’s salary up to $25,000 per employee, for up to 20 new full-time employees per intake.

Eligibility: There are several requirements, including that employers must be hiring for new or vacant full-time positions in Alberta for at least 52 weeks. Municipal and provincial government organizations are not eligible.

Learn More about the Alberta Jobs Now program >> HERE.


BC Major Anchor Attractions Program

The Major Anchor Attractions Program announced last week provides one-time emergency funding to major anchor attractions. There will be 2 streams:

Major anchor attractions in urban areas:

  • Eligibility: Minimum 150 employees and 75,000 visitors a year.
  • Grants up to $1 million per operator.

Major anchor attractions in rural areas:

  • Eligibility: Minimum 15,000 visitors a year.  Ski operators were specifically mentioned as an example.
  • Grants up to $500,000 per operator.

The program is available to businesses and not-for-profits.  To be eligible, businesses must have 51% BC ownership, show a 30% revenue reduction, be market-ready and be a BC-based company.

To find out more:

  • Read the News Release >> HERE
  • Visit the website for more details >> HERE

Further clarity is being requested on some details, but CWSAA recommends operators immediately contact the Province for application packages.

Businesses that believe they are eligible, are asked to contact [email protected] to obtain the application package. Applications are due by June 7, 2021 at 1 pm.

go2HR health & safety survey

Please take a few moments to complete go2HR’s health and safety practices in tourism and hospitality survey today >> HERE.

go2HR BSAFE Online health & safety course

BSAFE (BC Safety Assured For Everyone) is a new, 90-minute online health and safety course created by go2HR.  The course will be launching on May 28 and is now open for employers to pre-register.  Geared towards employees in BC’s tourism and hospitality industry, BSAFE provides staff with a strong foundation in COVID-19 health and safety protocols and assists them in understanding ever-evolving best practices. Once the course is completed, participants are awarded a certificate that demonstrates their knowledge of and commitment to COVID-19 health and safety.

Tourism and hospitality businesses are encouraged to participate in this course.  Find out more, and pre-register >> HERE

Alberta Board governance resources

The Community Development Unit of the Government of Alberta offers a series of governance workshops intended for non-profit societies.  Many ski areas are operated by non-profit societies with volunteer Board of Directors.  The following provides links to recorded governance best practices.

Mountain Biker’s Responsibility Code

The CWSAA Risk and Safety Committee have implemented changes to the Mountain Biker’s Responsibility Code.  Please find the new image to the right.

Members may order the new sign from industry suppliers (eg: Inter-Mtn) or can request digital files from the CWSAA Office.


  • Springhill Winter Park (Manitoba) is seeking ski and snowboard gear for their rental shop.  Ski areas replacing their rental fleet that may have used gear to sell, should contact Vivianne at [email protected]

CWSAA Partners

In addition to the advantageous leasing model, CWSAA values the feeling of safety on western Canada’s roads that comes from a reliable and winterised Driving Force vehicle.  For transportation solutions, contact:

Dan Clark:


Kal Tire supports Safety

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

Places & Faces

CWSAA was saddened to hear that Donald McIlveen, a former President of OSRA, passed away in April. Our sympathies to his family and friends for their loss.  Read the obituary >> HERE.

After 35 years of selling Ski Canada Magazine, Dave Harkley, has retired.

Pictured here with a Cow Bell presented from Big White Ski Resort to recognize his contribution to industry.

During the 2021 Canadian Avalanche Association Spring Conference, two industry leaders were recognized.

Congratulations to Tony Sittlinger the 2021 CAA Service Award Recipient. Tony has been the Senior Avalanche Forecaster for the Blackcomb ski patrol for over 27 years. CAA recognized Tony for his leadership in avalanche forecasting, mentorship, and mountain operations safety.

Avalanche Canada presented the 2021 Gord Ritchie Service Award to Dr. Bruce Jamieson, CAA Professional Member, in recognition of his decades of contribution to public avalanche safety as a researcher, educator, and consultant.  Learn more.

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.