Whistler Blackcomb announces opening date for slopes after COVID-19 cases forced the resort to close early
With summer still in full-swing, the owner of Whistler’s ski hills is already announcing when the slopes are set to open to skiers and boarders.
Whistler Blackcomb is scheduled to open on Nov. 25, according to a news release from parent company Vail Resorts.
News of the opening date comes amid rising COVID-19 cases as B.C. battles a fourth wave of infections, led primarily by the Delta variant.
This past winter, the ski hills closed at the end of March, several weeks early due to spiking coronavirus cases in Whistler. The company offered refunds to some customers who’d pre-purchased lift tickets and passes, but some customers told CTV News Vancouver they were left in the lurch, having purchased hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of lift tickets that weren’t refunded.
The company is currently promoting deals on lift tickets for the 2021-2022 season, and says it is monitoring COVID-19 public health guidance.
“Details of any necessary safety protocols will be communicated ahead of the season as the situation continues to evolve,” continues the news release.
Last ski season, the small town weathered several coronavirus outbreaks, which prompted officials to offer early COVID-19 vaccines to Whistler residents. In April, for example, the Howe Sound health area had the highest rate of infections in the province, with the majority of the cases in Whistler, fuelled in part by spring break travel.
Restaurants and hotels in Whistler are known to hire young people who flock to the resort town from across Canada and around the world. Health officials said many of the cases recorded in the town in Jan. 2021 were among "young people in their 20s and 30s who live, work and socialized together."