Kimberley Alpine Resort has outlined their rules and regulations implemented to keep guests and staff safe as opening date for the 2020-21 season draws near.
Matt Mosteller, Senior Vice President – Resort Experience with the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) provided some insights on what’s been going on behind the scenes to develop their “Know Before You Go” guidelines, plus what teams have been doing to get the hill itself in tip top pre-season shape.
“It’s been an incredible effort already to get the mountain ready for winter,” Mosteller told the Bulletin.
From the efforts of bush crews cutting away brush, making some of your favourite runs able to open with less snow and be more smooth and enjoyable, to the lift maintenance team working on getting all the lifts ready, to the facility maintenance team getting buildings and structures ready, it’s been busy up at the hill.
The Food and Beverage team have also been preparing for the transition to winter.
“Fortunately some of our facilities obviously we operate in the summer, so they are already in some ways ready to go, but even more up to date,” Mosteller explained. He added that Trickle Creek Lodge has been very busy, and the team there has been doing an “amazing job” taking care of guests while adopting to the increased cleaning and sanitation standards made necessary by the pandemic.
The Know Before You Go page recently added to their website at www.skikimberley.com/covid-19 is the result of a great deal of work done collaboratively between KAR its numerous partners.
Mosteller said KAR is very fortunate to work in concert with Tourism Kimberley and Kootenay Rockies, as well as the City of Kimberley and its business community and all of KAR’s lodging partners.
“We’re all in this together, there’s no doubt about it and the best path forward will come from collaboration,” Mosteller said.
In regards to the newest updates on KAR’s website, Mosteller explained that these represent continual refinements to what they’ve been closely working on with Canada West Ski Area Operators Association, in what Mosteller called an “unprecedented effort to create the best plan possible to operate this winter.”
“The focus and priority number one is safety and safety four our team, safety for our guests, safety obviously for our community,” he said. “And we can do that.”
He said that KAR, and all of RCR’s resorts are hoping that when people read the Know Before You Go guidelines, they do so with the knowledge that they as individual skiers or snowboarders must do their part to make these plans work.
“I think to make it work it’s going to take respect from everybody and everybody knowing how important it is to keep everyone safe and everybody doing their part each and every day like we all are in our community and across British Columbia.
“That’s taken patience and flexibility and we have to have an abundance of respect for each other so that we can make sure that we can have a full season of skiing and snowboarding here in our community.”
The Know Before You Go procedures begins with some safety measures that most people are likely well familiar with at this point in the pandemic; things like physical distancing, which will be reinforced with increased signage as well as the installation of plexiglass and other barriers.
Guests two-years-old and up will be required to wear face coverings in every part of KAR’s operations, the only exception being when seated and eating in their establishments and while skiing and riding. Masks may be removed when you start to ski or ride and must be put back on when you arrive at the base of any lift.
A very important change this year is that RCR will not be selling lift tickets at their resorts this season. Ticket windows and kiosks will only be used for the issuance of pre-purchased lift tickets, which must be bought online. Capacity limitations at the resorts will be controlled through the sale of lift tickets, which will be limited and need to be pre-purchased in advance of arrival on a first come, first served basis.
Season pass holders will not be required to make reservations and they will have unlimited access to the resort their pass is applicable to.
“We’re really fortunate and grateful for our season pass holders here in Kimberley,” Mosteller said. “There’s a long tradition, going way back of the skiing and riding in this community and it’s super important for us to do the best we can together to create a plan that works for the skiing community here in Kimberley and that’s what we’ll do.”
Mosteller said that so far indications show that there is a great amount of interest in seasons passes.
“There’s also great interest in skiing and snowboarding gear,” he said. I’d recommend that people do shop locally, get to the shops, we’ve got great gear shops here in Kimberley.”
He added that, being that this season is going to be different, people may want to eliminate as much stress as they can in preparation for the season.
All of these measures may be explored at greater depth on a specially dedicated page on their website at www.skikimberley.com/covid-19