WINTER EXPECTATIONS

MT. WASHINGTON WINTER OPENING DAY SET FOR DECEMBER 4th, 2020

A letter from General Manager Dean Prentice delivered to email subscribers Friday, September 11, 2020

With summer nearing its end, as somebody who has long been committed to an active outdoor lifestyle and particularly as a skier, I can honestly say there has never been a time when I anticipated the arrival of a winter season more than this year. The magic of winter - snow silently falling, the crisp winter air and the excitement of linking turns on every unique run is always special. This year it’s safe to say “special” could be expanded to include therapeutic. In a sense, we need this ski season for our emotional and physical wellbeing as much as for the enjoyment. We believe recreation is one of the essential food groups - now more than ever.

I want to share Mt. Washington Alpine Resort's plans for the upcoming season. There has been so much uncertainty since the COVID 19 pandemic first upended our lives. Among the many lessons learned is the importance of clear and consistent communication, the setting of realistic expectations, and the need for tolerance for unexpected changes.

The embrace of all these lessons is going to be critical to a successful ski season, as is the recognition we’re all in this together.   A collective effort must be part of the foundation for success as we strive to balance the safety of our guests, employees, and the local communities in which we operate our business.

In addition to following all CDC and local regulations, Mt. Washington will require the use of face coverings, will implement necessary changes to allow for physical distancing, and we will closely monitor employee health in accordance with BC Provincial Health and Work Safe policies including requiring employees to stay home if they are sick. Similarly, we encourage our guests not to visit if they are unwell or have any symptoms related to COVID 19. We will implement additional precautions related to ski school, rental equipment, food and beverage, and hospitality as further outlined below.

I’m excited to say, Mt. Washington plans to open Friday, December 4th, 2020 for the start of the winter season. As always with our coastal climate, this depends on the weather, but our snowmaking system is ready to blow, and we hope for cold temperatures as well as Mother Nature’s support for an on-time opening.

As many of you know, capacity restrictions are one of the tools being used for the spread of the coronavirus. Lift accessed skiing and riding at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort takes place on over 1,700 acres, in addition to our Nordic offerings, ensuring the opportunity for many to safely recreate without restrictions. Nevertheless, we will adhere to any limitations imposed by BC Provincial Health authorities and as of the date of this letter, it is unknown to what extent we may be required to limit attendance. That being said, we are confident any restrictions will be on a limited number of occasions and guests will have access on a vast majority of operating days.

Season Pass Holders will be our highest priority in managing any on-mountain capacity restrictions. It is our intention to allow Pass Holders access any day the resort is open without reservations or other exceptional requirements. Our primary means to control capacity will be done if necessary by limiting the sale of daily lift tickets.

It is possible we may need to control the number of guests, including Pass Holders, in the event there is limited terrain open. In such a case, Mt. Washington will implement an online advanced reservation system and requirements for reservations will be communicated on the website, via email, on social media, and through the resort app. Pass Holders are strongly encouraged to download the resort app and enable push notifications. This will be the quickest and most certain way to stay on top of changes of any kind.

Face coverings will be required to access the mountain, including in lift lines and while loading, unloading and riding on chairlifts.  Face coverings will be required in every part of our operation including in the base area, inside all buildings, and during all ski and snowboard lessons.  We are asking everyone to support these necessary changes and cooperate with resort workers who are in the challenging role of ensuring everyone’s safety. Guests who don’t comply with the guidelines will be asked to leave.

We will do everything possible and practical to allow for physical distancing throughout the resort to help ensure a safe experience. First and foremost, we will manage the number of people on the mountain, as well as those entering buildings including base lodges and restaurants, in accordance with provincial capacity guidelines. Additionally, we will load lifts and form lines maintaining distancing guidelines applicable to each individual lift configuration. This may change between now and the beginning of ski season or even during the season as more information is disseminated from BC Provincial Health authorities. We are working to expand areas to comfortably accommodate guests while maintaining distancing requirements and revising menus and service levels that strike a balance between safety, forced capacity limits, and reasonable hospitality. Some of the “new norms” we all have embraced over the summer – take out, grab and go – will be in place for the winter, as well as online food ordering.

Ski school is an important part of every mountain operation because it introduces people to the sport and helps them improve so the sport is more enjoyable. Our teaching professionals are always committed to safety and enjoyment while learning, and this season that will be highlighted more than ever.  Ski and snowboard school formats will be revised to accommodate either small groups or individual self-paced learning options. Advanced reservations will be required for all lessons and programs. The duration of all lessons will also be modified to allow for most of a session to take place outdoors, reducing the number of indoor breaks.

Children’s on snow programs will be the subject of particular emphasis with small class sizes and minimal exposure to larger group settings.  Unfortunately, childcare (non-skiing) will not be available this season unless circumstances change in a meaningful way.

Equipment rental will be available exclusively online with advanced reservations. Pick up and drop off of equipment may be modified to accommodate social distancing and limit the number of people in confined spaces.

There is no avoiding the fact that navigating your way around the resort will be different this winter. Compared to the alternative of no season, I hope you’ll agree the changes are manageable and worth any inconvenience.

The website will be updated regularly with the latest details on restrictions and other important information. The resort app, available for download on both iOS or Android, will be one of the best ways to stay informed through push notifications and current status updates.

Advanced planning and pre-purchases will be more important than ever. Most products will only be available online in advance. Knowing what to expect when you arrive will go a long way toward minimizing confusion and frustration.

Finally, for those who purchased a Season Pass for this year or are considering doing so, but are still uncertain about their preferences this winter, please remember there is the option to defer the use of that pass until next season:

  • Anyone who buys a Season Pass for the 2020/2021 season can choose to request to defer the use of the pass until the 2021/2022 season.
  • The request must be made by sending an email stating the request between October 1st and November 25th, 2020, and the request must include the pass holder name and the number on the pass.
  • This is not an offer of a cash refund or any other credit offer and only applies to the one-time deferral of a 2020/2021 season pass in exchange for a 2021/2022 season pass.
  • The pass will be moved to the 2021/2022 winter season at no charge, regardless of a season pass price increase.

As you can see, we are planning lots of changes with the objective of making us all safer and more comfortable this winter season. While some of the changes will be a little inconvenient, we think it is a small price to accept for safety and the opportunity to have a great season on the slopes.  I look forward to adventuring with you soon.

Sincerely,

Dean Prentice
General Manager

DISCLAIMER: Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present.  The resort has implemented protocols to prioritize guest health and safety, but we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed to COVID-19 during your visit.  The risk of being exposed or becoming sick due to COVID-19 cannot be eliminated.  Every skier and rider shares the responsibility for a safe and healthy skiing experience.  It is your responsibility to read and comply with all instructions and signage posted at the resort and on the resort’s website.  Stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Wear a face covering in designated areas and maintain at least 6 feet physical distancing from other guests, including in lift lines.  Wash and sanitize your hands frequently.
mount washington alpine resort on vancouver island, BC

GUEST HEALTH & SAFETY

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Protecting guests health and safety while visiting Mt. Washington this winter is among our top priorities. Booking activities in advance and being prepared for your visit is encouraged to eliminate physical interaction points throughout your experience. Guests are expected to maintain 6 ft physical distancing from those outside their group, as well as sanitizing often, and to wear a face covering.

TEAM HEALTH & SAFETY

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The health of Mt. Washington staff is among our top priorities. Our team will follow to Worksafe BC guidelines for safe operating practices to maintain the safety of themselves and others. Staff will complete a prescreening check-list before reporting to each shift and will maintain 6 ft distancing, practice frequent sanitization, as well as the use of masks and other PPE when appropriate while working.

LODGES & MOUNTAIN CLEANLINESS

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The cleanliness of the Resort facilities is among our top priorities. We have increased cleaning and sanitization practices throughout including common spaces inside, on our chair lifts, and other shared surfaces. Guests are encouraged to come prepared to spend their time outdoors in the fresh air and to only enter the Resort facilities when necessary to do so, following one-way traffic and all posted signage.
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MANDATORY FACE COVERINGS

Face coverings will be required to access the mountain, including in lift lines and while loading, unloading and riding on chairlifts. Face coverings will be required to be worn by guests and staff in every aspect of our operations, including inside buildings and during all ski and snowboard lessons. No one will be permitted to access mountain services without a face covering. Guests who don’t comply with the guidelines will be asked to leave.
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PHYSICAL DISTANCING ENFORCED

Mt. Washington will do everything possible and practical to allow for physical distancing throughout the resort to help ensure a safe experience. This includes new policies for how we will form lines and load chairlifts, regulate the number of guests safely permitted in any area such as our lodges and restaurants, and maintain access to provided guest services such as washroom facilities. We are working to expand areas to comfortably accommodate guests while maintaining physical distance requirements, revising menus and service levels that strike a balance between safety, forced limits, and reasonable hospitality. More information will be released in the coming weeks leading up to Opening Day.
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PASS HOLDER ACCESS

As of September 11, 2020, it is unknown to what extent we may be required to limit attendance. Season Pass Holders will be our highest priority in managing any imposed mountain capacity restrictions. It is our intention to allow Pass Holders to access the resort based on their pass type any day the resort is open, without reservations or other exceptional requirements. Our primary effort to control capacity if necessary will be done by limiting the sale of day tickets.

It is possible we may need to control the number of skiers, including Pass Holders, in the event there is limited terrain open. In such a case, Mt. Washington will implement an online advanced reservation system and requirements will be communicated on the web site, via email, social media and on the resort app in advance. Pass Holders are strongly encouraged to download the resort app and turn on push notifications for occasional announcements – this is the quickest and most certain way to stay on top of any changes.
mount washington alpine resort on vancouver island, BC

SEASON PASS DEFERRAL OPTION

For those who purchased a Season Pass for this year or are considering doing so, but are still uncertain about their preferences this winter, please remember there is the option to defer the use of that pass until next season:

  • Anyone who buys a Season Pass for the 2020/2021 season can choose to request to defer the use of the pass until the 2021/2022 season.
  • The request must be made by sending an email stating the request between October 1st and November 25th, 2020, and the request must include the pass holder name and the number on the pass.
  • This is not an offer of a cash refund or any other credit offer and only applies to the one-time deferral of a 2020/2021 season pass in exchange for a 2021/2022 season pass.
  • The pass will be moved to the 2021/2022 winter season at no charge, regardless of a season pass price increase.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort
Mount Washington Alpie Resort

SEASON PASSES

Winter Season Passes are on Sale until September 30th! Join the #mymw club and look forward to exploring our wide-open spaces and fresh alpine air all season long. Save up to $200 off regular rates with early bird deals.

Season Pass Holders will be our highest priority in managing any imposed mountain capacity restrictions. It is our intention to allow Pass Holders to access the resort based on their pass type any day the resort is open, without reservations or other exceptional requirements. Our primary effort to control capacity will be done if necessary, by limiting the sale of day tickets.

LESSONS & PROGRAMS

Lessons are an important part of every mountain operation because it introduces people new to the sport, and helps to improve skills and build confidence making the sport more enjoyable. Our teaching professionals are always committed to safety and enjoyment while learning, and this season that will be highlighted more than ever.
  • Lesson formats will be revised to accommodate either smaller groups and individual self-paced learning options.
  • The duration of all lessons will also be modified to allow for a majority of a session to take place outdoors, reducing the number of indoor breaks.
  • Children’s on-snow programs will be the subject of particular emphasis, with smaller class sizes and minimal exposure to larger group settings.
  • Unfortunately, childcare services (non-skiing) will not be available this season unless circumstances change in a meaningful way.
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EQUIPMENT RENTALS

Equipment rentals will be available online with advanced reservations to get you geared up for your adventures. More information on any this process will be released in the coming weeks. The way in which we manage the pickup and drop off of equipment will be modified to accommodate physical distancing and to limit the number of people in confined spaces.
  • Rental of clothing equipment (ski pants/jackets) will not be available this season.
  • Alternative rental pickup locations in the Comox Valley are being explored for another convenient option, with the goal of reducing capacities in our on-mountain locations and to allow more guests to head from the parking lot straight to the chairlifts

PUBLIC SERVICES

Guests are encouraged to arrive at Mt. Washington prepared to spend their time outdoors in the fresh air and to only enter the Resort facilities when necessary to do so, practicing 6 ft physical distancing, following one-way traffic and all posted signage. 

More information on what to expect in guest services such as ticket kiosks, parking, lockers, food and beverage, and more will be communicated in the coming weeks.
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SLOPESIDE ACCOMMODATIONS

Bear and Deer Lodge are accepting reservations now winter arrivals. There will be a two-night minimum with advanced reservations required. Physical distancing and rigorous sanitization practices will be in effect per recommendations from the BC Hotel Association.

BUS TRANSPORTATION

Bus travel to and from the mountain will be similar to the previous year’s service, aside from additional safety procedures for COVID-19. There also will be no pick-ups in Comox this year, pick-ups will run from Cumberland and Courtenay only as well as from the base parking lot.

Masks are mandatory for all passenger entry. Passengers will be refused to load if not compliant, and loading will be done on a first-come-first-serve basis. There is no priority loading for Season Pass or Bus Season Pass Holders…

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mount washington alpine resort on vancouver island, BC

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CODE

Although it is our duty to uphold safe operating procedures, we must also ask our guests to adhere to the same guidelines for everyone's health and safety.

Five Questions to ask yourself before proceeding with your to visit Mt. Washington this winter:

1.   Have I been in contact in the previous 14 days with anyone who has returned from abroad? No.

2.   Do I have any symptoms of COVID-19 including sore throat, persistent cough or fever? No.

3.   Do I live in a household with someone who has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19? No.

4.   Do I agree to practice 2 metre / 6ft physical distancing while at the resort and not congregate with any individuals outside my household group? Yes.

5.   
Do I agree to comply with the mandatory mask or facial covering regulation while at the resort? Yes.

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If you cannot adhere to the guidelines outlined on this page, we ask that you please not visit this season for everyone's health and safety. 
Mount Washington Alpine Resort Family Views

FAQs

What happens to my season pass if the Resort does not open or is closed part way through the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

A: If you’re feeling uneasy about the season ahead after making your purchase, all Pass Holders will have the option to defer their purchase by a year to be used the following 2021.22 season at no loss, if done so before November 25, 2020. The amount is applied as a credit to be used the following season, no refunds will be processed. Requests to defer can be made in the fall by contacting our team via email or phone. Once a season pass deferral is made, it cannot be undone for the season.

A: If it is determined due to extreme circumstance the Resort is unable to open at all as planned for the 2020.21 winter season, season pass policies would be reassessed and communicated as such.

Any additional questions regarding the protocol may be asked here:

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