October 2021 Newsletter

October 21, 2021 Newsletter

CWSAA Directors Penny Lindballe and Katherine Seleski concluded a call with community ski areas this week by asking for success stories.  The responses were fantastic.  From covered conveyors to new cats to lodge improvements there were many great stories.  This was amplified on a quick visit this week to some BC and Alberta ski areas to witness new lifts, expanded parking, and the many protocol preparations for the winter.  On top of that, many ski areas have received their first tease of snow and started up snowmaking systems.   Restricted travel and reduced visitor revenues have placed an immense toll on destination areas and their communities, but there has also been opportunity to grow local markets and introduce skiing and snowboarding to many first-timers.  In the day-to-day effort to maintain ski areas operations and adjust to rapidly changing health orders, the responses to Penny and Katherine’s question was refreshing and a great reminder of the confidence and opportunities in our ski community.

In preparation for this winter, many areas have said that planning has been harder than last season.  Ski areas are closely following guidance from health regulators, but there are increased variations between provincial/territorial jurisdictions, a rise in regional orders, and significant complexities to policies around vaccination.  In response, most ski areas have multiple versions of operating plans based upon coming clarifications from authorities.  The experience from last winter serves as a guide for this winter.  Following health orders, incorporating industry best practices, and remaining nimble and flexible to adjust operations is a familiar mantra.  CWSAA has supported this with an unprecedented number of calls and communications with managers to keep on top of quickly evolving regulations.   Several months ago, we had hoped that there would be some predictability to the coming winter.  This has not been the case this fall, and it is to the credit of areas operators that they embrace the ever shifting environment.

– Christopher Nicolson

New Federal Business Support Programs

In the coming days, industry will be distilling the details of two new federal recovery programs replacing the current wage subsidy program that expires on October 23.  Read the News Release >>  HERE.

The Canada Emergency Recovery Benefit (CERB) is also being replaced, and may have may have some impact on the severe recruiting challenges being experienced by operators in many sectors including ski.  Through the Canadian Ski Council, the immediate need to process work permit applications is being pressed.

CWSAA Small Ski Areas Instructor Bursary

The CWSAA board of directors is pleased to announce a new bursary.  The Small Ski Areas Ski School Instructor Bursary was created to support small ski areas with their instructor training and recruitment efforts.  This pilot program is now open for applications. Apply before November 15 & find out more >> HERE.

CWSAA Fall Division Meeting Recap

The fall division virtual meetings for ASM and BCY were held over the past couple of weeks. A big thank you to all our presenters and panelists that contributed to the success of the virtual sessions.  The collaboration and depth of knowledge within the industry makes it possible to put on these events and provide the most relevant information. Thank you to the delegates for their participation and questions throughout the meetings. We’ve heard back from many attendees, and even though many wish for in-person meetings again soon, virtual did allow for more of your staff to attend and to connect with ski area operators.

Fall Division Meeting Recordings

Recordings of most sessions have now been posted to the CWSAA Member’s Only Section.  A login is required!  Once logged in, the sessions are posted >> HERE
Important – sessions are intended for CWSAA Member access only, and should not be shared without CWSAA’s consent. 

Online Lift Courses: Selkirk College

SROAM Report Sept 2021Selkirk College, through the Ski Resort Operations & Management Program (SROAM) offers a number of programs to support ski area training efforts.

  • Lift 150, 151, 152, 153 passenger ropeway and conveyor training programs – Learn More >> HERE
  • Ski Lift Functions and Maintenance textbook was updated last year – Obtain your copy >> HERE
  • This year marks the 40th Anniversary of SROAM.  Bob Dodge created a wonderful collection of stories featuring past grads >> HERE
  • Read their Annual Report to hear about several existing updates with the SROAM program >> HERE

Watch in your mail for the current SROAM report from Selkirk College and their postcard on upcoming lift courses.

Sign up for National skier growth initiatives

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for your ski area to participate in the following national initiatives:

  • Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass
  • Canadian Lift Pass
  • Never Ever Days

Sign up your ski area today to participate in these programs for the 2021/22 season  >> HERE.

Go Deeper – Destination Canada campaign

A new initiative driven by Destination Canada, in partnership with Destination BC, Travel Alberta and Tourism Quebec was launched to drive Canada winter and ski awareness in key US states.  The Our Winter is Deeper campaign kicked off last week with concept ‘Two Deep’, which tells the story of Canada’s favourite skiing couple, Stan Rey & Kelsey Serwa, as they set off on a road trip to explore Canada’s most iconic ski destinations.  More tools and assets for ski area partners are expected to amplify the Destination Canada content.

  • View Destination Canada’s Go Deeper website >> HERE.
  • Watch the Two Deep Trailer >> HERE.
  • See how Destination BC is leveraging the Go Deeper campaign >> HERE

BC Labour Shortage: Important Survey

Staffing issues continue to plague our industry and stifle our recovery. go2HR has commissioned a research project in BC to understand the impact of COVID-19 on your operations, and the human resources challenges you face. Your participation in the BC Labour Market Information Research Project is requested. By participating in the survey you will be entered into a draw for prizes valued at $1,500.

If you have not already, please complete the survey (BC businesses only) >> HERE.


  • In Search of a Vermont Calibrator:  Tawatinaw Valley Ski Club is looking to purchase a used Vermont Calibrator. If your resort has one for sale, please reach out to [email protected]

CWSAA Partners

DRIVING FORCE Getting to the slopes made EASY!

DRIVING FORCE can provide a convenient way to travel – socially distanced but still social! Create a team bonding experience while still being safe.

Now taking reservations for the fall and winter seasons.  All Wheel Drive (AWD) currently available – Call now before they’re gone!

EASY RESERVATIONS:      www.drivingforce.ca
FRIENDLY STAFF:               Call 780-483-9559 or [email protected]
RECEIVE 10% OFF               Promo Code: CWSAA

Staff Offer from Kal Tire: Download the Coupon

Thanks to the partnership with Kal Tire, all ski area staff and associate members of CWSAA are eligible to receive $80 off at Kal Tire.  Please feel free to circulate this offer with your staff.

To redeem, click on the image to the left, and print the voucher or present on your mobile device in-store at Kal Tire.

Places & Faces

CWSAA Directors Kim Jones of Winsport and Kim Locke of Lake Louise tour Winsport’s grounds and REP procedures.  Winsport’s Mike Tanner says the ski area completed its snowmaking upgrade and is ready for winter.

Inter-Mtn. Enterprises has served the ski industry for 36 years.  The family business started by Debbie and Don Muirhead was officially transferred to their daughter and son-in-law, Leah and Scott MacDonald.  Debbie Muirhead has served multiple terms on CWSAA’s Board of Directors (2006-2010 and 2016-2020) and is looking forward to retirement.  Don and Debbie Muirhead will continue to operate Inter-Mtn Testing.  Congratulations to the Muirhead and MacDonald families.  Read More.

Brayden Sosinkalo is excited to start pumping snow from these new HKD snowguns at Springhill Sports Park in east Winnipeg.

The Juniper Express Quad at Lake Louise Ski Resort is well under construction and expected to open mid-January.  The chair which departs from the base area was an important addition to get guests up the mountain, and on the slopes faster. The terrain includes three new runs designed to maximize their appeal to the learner and intermediate skiers and riders.
Learn More about the Juniper chair >> HERE.

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.