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Huge losses for skiing industry this season

January 8, 2021   ·   0 Comments

The province wide shut-down couldn’t come at a worse time for skill hill operators in Ontario.

When the government announced new restrictions on business on across the province, ski hills were on the list of activities that have been ordered to shut down. The mandated closure came as a surprise to the industry as resort operators were expecting to continue with physical distancing protocols in place on all the hills.

With ski hills and resorts just heading into their busy time, the shut-down means a lot of lost revenue. It is expected ski areas will lose around 25 per cent of their normal operating season.

Ski hill operators were blindsided by the decision, pointing out that golf courses were not closed during the last shut-down and were allowed to operate.

Ski hills, they point out, afford the same inherent physical distancing on the hills as golf does on the greens and fairways.

“Twenty-eight days of closure will cost the ski industry over $84 million and 9,400 jobs,” said Kevin Nicol, president of the Ontario Ski Resorts Association. “Along with the economic toll, there is the immeasurable impact of this closure on the physical and mental health of Ontarians.”

The ski industry has engaged in discussions with the provincial government in hopes of having the restrictions lifted.

While downhill skiing is on the restricted list, cross-country and Nordic ski centres have not been affected and continue to operate.

Most ski hills in the province opened the week before Christmas after temperatures dropped and allowed for snow making. However, it was a short-lived season. After only a few days on the slopes, the lock-down went into effect and the hills were closed.

Negotiations with the provincial government continue. Ski areas have asked for clarification and have received a technical briefing from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture, along with a commitment to form a working group to review the situation.

Ski hill operators want the working group to convene as quickly as possible so they can hopefully move to re-opening the ski hills.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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