Whistler residents, businesses relieved as mountain begins to reopen
WHISTLER, B.C. -- For Whistler residents, this summer has brought a bit of nostalgia for the days before the town became an internationally renowned destination.
“Feels like it did 20 years ago,” said Jeremy Robb, who lives in the resort town. “It’s been a fun summer so far, though, because the kids have been forced to cross-country ride with us, so that’s been awesome.”
Robb’s son, Charlie, said the summer has been “boring” and he can’t wait to get back on the mountain.
“I’m riding cross country, but I like downhill better,” he told CTV News.
Beginning Monday, he’ll have the chance to get back to downhill, as Whistler-Blackcomb plans to reopen its mountain bike park.
“It’d be good for all the stores and friends that own companies here to kind of get back to normal and a little more comfort,” said Jeremy Robb.
That’s a feeling shared by many businesses, including Moguls coffee shop.
“It’s very apocalyptic in the beginning,” said Annabel Wallace, a manager at Moguls. “I don’t think we could sustain much longer without it so we really needed that to happen.”
The coffee shop reopened just over a week ago, with Plexiglass, glove and distancing requirements.
“Food prep, we’re wearing masks. We’re always wearing gloves and sanitizing over the gloves,” explained Wallace. “Just taking extra precautions, trying to keep that distance which is hard when people get excited, but I think we’re doing good.”
For Max Grayston, who lives in town, news the bike park is reopening is bittersweet.
“It’s very limited terrain and restricted hours, so for the locals here that have a day job, we pretty much can’t ride after work anymore.”
Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and all staff will be required to wear masks. Visitors will be required to do so too, in certain areas, such as loading and unloading on lifts and inside.
Hiking trails and sight-seeing will also open Monday with the bike park, and the Scandinave spa is set to reopen July 3.
“We have implemented new protocols to comply with public health guidelines and provide you with a safe and healthy environment,” said Steve Arsenault, president of Groupe Scandinave Spa, in an emailed release.
For those who have been stuck at home for months, this is all welcome news.
“It’s really exciting just to be able to come back here and have a little getaway, being from Vancouver,” said Nicole Clark.