November 2020 Newsletter

November 4, 2020 Newsletter

Congratulations to Mt. Norquay and Lake Louise that have both opened with their earliest opening dates on record.  The adrenaline of opening day is a favourite part of the year for many of us, and admittedly, this year is especially significant.   The ski season is no longer a concept or distant abstract viewed through a pandemic haze…it is here and we are in it.

Every business, leader, and staff member plays a critical role in ensuring the success of the season ahead.  And to be sure, more eyes are upon our industry now than ever.  Each of us is a role model and we need to actively demonstrate and live our protocols like physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and other responsible behaviours.

The industry can legitimately feel confident in the winter ahead.  Thanks to countless hours of preparation, the industry has collaborated around the globe to create operational protocols that minimise risk and provide much needed physical and emotional release for our guests, and critical employment for our people and communities.

There are many fantastic resources developed for industry including the Ski Well, Be Well package.  Don’t hesitate to reach out the CWSAA team if you need any information or support as you prepare for the season.

Let’s continue to work together to be the reason we have a season!

– Christopher Nicolson

Federal Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

CWSAA with its peer Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic ski area associations and the Canadian Ski Council embarked on a federal advocacy effort in October to support the continuation of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) support program.   The federal throne speech announced the intention to continue CEWS, however the criteria is still in development.  The critical ski industry message to the federal government is the need to continue CEWS for winter operators on the same terms that summer operators benefitted from the program.  The demise of international markets and revenue streams, and significant increase in pandemic related capital costs have put pressure on many ski areas.  These factors need to be recognised within coming CEWS criteria.

The ski industry has illustrated to government that because of its revenue and operations cycle, winter operators are not able to demonstrate simple year over year (eg: July 2019 vs July 2020) financial impact due to COVID as summer operations can do.  CWSAA and its partners are engaged in an aggressive schedule of meetings to present the ski industry request with Members of Parliament and ministry officials.  The ski industry has highlighted the immediate need for criteria as ski areas are now open and need to know what CEWS support exists in order to scale operations.

Manitoba Ski Areas utilizing Ski Well Be Well

Manitoba ski areas have gathered online twice in October in preparation for the coming winter season.  In addition to incorporating content from the many industry online sessions, the ski areas have effectively utilized the Ski Well Be Well document to convey industry best practices with local officials.

Ski areas are encouraged to post the document on their website and share with local officials and stakeholders to help convey preparedness of industry and what expectations guests may have of North American ski areas this winter.

NEW! Online Passenger Ropeways Courses

Lift 151/152/153 Now Available through remote learning!

Congratulations to Selkirk College, who have launched its passenger ropeway courses in a new online format.  Highly anticipated by industry, the new courses allow for remote delivery and year-round intakes.   CWSAA wishes to express its appreciation to Selkirk College (especially Martin Keyserlingk, Ross White, and Bob Bell), numerous ski areas, Technical Safety BC and AEDARSA for their support.  Bob Bell has accepted a contract with Selkirk College to deliver these courses and has produced a new series of videos.  Preview a sample of the lift courses >> HERE.

Registration is now open >> HERE.  There will be 3 intakes per year, and the current intake will have exams for Dec 9, 10, or 11.

Each course is $180, however, small ski areas can apply for a special scholarship that will fund 50% (limited number of scholarships available).

Online Industry Sessions

The CWSAA Online Industry Sessions commenced in spring 2020 and have allowed the industry to share and learn.  These have been made possible by much collaboration and contribution from peers in our industry.

Most recently, CWSAA has partnered with our US colleagues at NSAA on session topics for guest services in a pandemic and an upcoming session on crisis communications.  A three part series with the BC Hotel Association wrapped up this week with sessions relating to accommodation best practices and Human Resources.  The topics have been raised as areas of importance from CWSAA membership.   CWSAA wishes to express its appreciation to NSAA, BCHA and Restaurants Canada for their willingness to combine resources to share information on previous sessions.


BCHA and Restaurants Canada offer high-value group purchasing opportunities.  Ski areas will find significant savings in supplies relating to food and beverage, lodging, and other business units.   Please see membership and group buying benefits at the following:

go2HR virtual sessions

CWSAA is grateful to go2HR for their expertise and support on Human Resources and Health & Safety.  A new series of virtual drop-in Q&A sessions on “Online Training for Your Staff” is being offered by Andrea Hinck and the go2HR office.

These Q&A sessions will be offered every Tuesday & Friday (Nov 3 to Nov 20) from 2:00-3:00pm.

Join go2HR to:

  • Learn about planning & delivering a successful virtual training session
  • Get expert suggestions on the best online delivery platforms and facilitation tools
  • Receive feedback and tips on your current training plan, plus information on best practices

See flyer for details >> HERE.

Value of Ski Areas in Western Canada

$2.51 Billion!  This is the annual contribution generated by ski areas for local and provincial economies.  Read more about the 2018/19 Value of Ski Areas report in The Canada West Way.

Travel Alberta Grant for COVID signage

Thanks to funding from Travel Alberta, signage was available to ski areas in Alberta to support important COVID safety messaging.  Those ski areas that ordered signage have started receiving their orders and all should be delivered within the next few weeks.

Special Offers for all CWSAA members and staff

Driving Force supports vehicle rental and leasing needs for many ski areas in western Canada.  Ski clubs and teams can also take advantage of the industry 10% discount on passenger vans.   Please circulate the promotional code below to your resort partners and community.

Now taking reservations for the winter season!

Sales & Leasing:


Staff Offer from Kal Tire

Thanks to the partnership with Kal Tire, all ski area staff and associate members of CWSAA are eligible to receive $100 off at Kal Tire.  Please feel free to circulate this offer with your staff. To redeem, print the voucher or present on your mobile device in-store at Kal Tire.

Download the $100 coupon >> HERE.

Provincial Tourism website profiles

Each province offers different opportunities to list/promote your tourism business through their websites.   All ski areas, Cross Country facilities, Heli/Cat operators, lodges, restaurants etc should ensure they have utilized these provincial platforms to promote their products/services.

If you already have a listing/account – be sure to update your profile with new images and information before you open for the season.

Travel Alberta ATIS:

  • Travel Alberta is requesting ski areas add winter offers into ATIS.  This will enhance your exposure on and increase your likelihood of being featured in Travel Alberta’s marketing efforts.
  • Travel Alberta has also expanded its features to allow for virtual experiences and offers.
  • Learn More about ATIS and register for an account >> HERE

Destination BC:

  • In order to be listed on HelloBC, a business must have a claimed Tripadvisor account as the majority of the content for HelloBC listings are garnered from Tripadvisor including the business’ description and photos. Additionally, businesses must also have a consumer-facing website or Facebook account and be considered eligible for a listing with us.
  • Find more information about the HelloBC listings >> HERE.

Go Ski Alberta

Go Ski Alberta is a partnership with all ski areas in Alberta with support from Travel Alberta.  This year the program has undergone a significant refresh.  The program is now underway for the 2020/21 season with prizes from ski areas throughout Alberta given away every week.  Promotional and PR messaging takes the theme of “Ski Smart” and will focus on a Plan Ahead message, underlying the important safety measures while focusing on the benefits of skiing and ‘family bubbles.’  New photography will be captured over the next few weeks to align with expectations this season at ski areas.

The website has been updated with a great new look and new ski area listing function.  All ski areas in Alberta now have access to the website to manage their own ski area profile and add events.  Ski areas that haven’t signed up to participate, or don’t have a login for should contact Cynthia Thomas at [email protected]

Risk of outdoor heaters in enclosed patio spaces

Using an outdoor heater in an enclosed space can put your workers at risk of exposure to carbon monoxide. As an employer, it’s important you know how to minimize this risk to your workers and customers.  A new advisory from WorkSafeBC can be found >> HERE.

Welcome to New CWSAA Members

Associate Members:

Regular Members:

Places & Faces

Congratulations to “The General,” Jeremy Hopkinson, on his recent retirement. After 44 years at Big White, most recently the Vice President of Operations, Jeremy has concluded his day-to-day duties.  He will remain on the resorts Board of Directors and has honoured recently with a new run “The General.”

Congrats to Clearwater, Bear Mountain (Dawson Creek), and Murray Ridge (Fort St James) for their ski club program registering with BC Alpine.    Photo: BC Alpine General Manager Anders Hestdalen scoping the trails at Troll Mountain.

Past CWSAA Board Chair, Andre Quenneville pictured here on Mt Norquay’s 2020/21 season opening day.  Christopher Nicolson delivered the book (pictured) that was presented to Andre virtually during the August AGM.

Much appreciation to our Saskatchewan Chair Lawrence Blouin and amazing Saskatchewan Ski Area Operators Association (SSAOA) hosts at Mission Ridge (Angie, Mike, Anders, Owen, Jennifer).  Delegates from across the Prairies shared and prepared for the season ahead in a very well executed (and physically distanced) environment.  Special thanks to CWSAA Board Member Penny Lindballe of Valley Ski Club for attending.

Prime Minister Trudeau stated his desire to be personally in Banff/Canmore right now and makes a shout out to Mt Norquay in his closing comments with an interview with Mountain FM Canmore-Banff. Listen to the interview >> HERE.

Upcoming Online Industry Sessions

  • November 16: Slip & Fall Risk Management Session
  • November 18: How to Build a Successful Safety Business Plan
  • December 9: COVID-19 Pandemic – Crisis Communications Planning and Response for Ski Areas

Please note, Online Industry Sessions are FREE for current CWSAA Members. Advance registration is required by noon the day prior.  Registrants will receive login information the afternoon prior to the session.

Find registration and more information 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.