Snow activities might look a little different this winter, but we sure are lucky to live where we do.

As 2020 draws to a close and the pandemic rages on, many are looking forward to their favourite snow sports as a means of escape from the shadow this year has cast on us. One by one, as ski resorts around the province open up, it’s clear this winter season is going to look a lot different.

Vancouver Island’s beloved Mount Washington Alpine Resort had its opening day on Friday, December 4, and despite new COVID-19 regulations, had a successful day with two lifts open—the Whiskey Jack and Hawk chairs—as well as the Teaching Carpet.

As the ski resort has said, although some things have changed this season, “the stoke remains the same.”

That said, keen mountain-goers will have to be a little more strategic in planning ahead this season. As is the case with other resorts, there are a limited amount of lift tickets released each day to ensure proper social distancing is in effect. Much like checking the surf report before heading to Tofino, it might be smart to check the snow before heading up the hill.

The resort has been working hard to ensure snow enthusiasts have a safe and fun season. Due to there being a limit to the number of people allowed on the hill, you must purchase a day pass online ahead of time to make a reservation. Season Pass and 6ixPak holders are not required to make a reservation. All lessons, programs, and equipment rentals will also require reservations.

You must wear a face covering to access any of the resort services, including the lineup for the chairlift, lodging, and food services. Individuals are expected to wear a face covering from the time they leave their vehicles and throughout the day—however, taking a breather on the trails away from others is allowed.

Chairlifts will be loaded in household groups only. If you’re a single rider, you have the option to ride the lift with others in a distanced manner. Additionally, personal items cannot be stored in the lodge and day lockers will not be available, so individuals must come prepared to carry backpacks or to make their vehicles their home base.

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is expected to open up other programs in the coming weeks, including Nordic XC and snowshoeing opening December 11, the Tube Park set to open on December 12, and night skiing beginning on December 18.

While this might all sound like a lot to abide by, we must remember how lucky we are to live in a place where outdoor activities are still accessible. So, plan ahead, know what to expect, and of course, be kind and be safe.


Kristen Bounds is a fifth-year Creative Writing major focusing on non-fiction and journalism. Her writing mostly centres around her passion topics: environmentalism and social justice. Apart from talking about plastic to anyone who will listen, she enjoys reading, surfing, and is quite partial to a cold hazy pale ale.

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