British Columbia extends locals only ski travel advisory until February 5

big white exhibition
Big White. Photo credit: Big White, supplied.
British Columbia’s ski resorts are feeling the pinch this winter with the province’s domestic travel advisory being extended until February 5 due to the declared State of Emergency in the current Covid crisis.
The travel advisory was updated on January 8 and recommends all non essential travel to be avoided, including travel into and out of BC and between regions within the province. All events and social gatherings are also suspended (with some exemptions) to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel

However restaurants, pubs and bars can continue to operate if they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place including a maximum of six people at a table and no moving between tables.

Residents are advised by the Provincial Health Officer to not travel for a vacation and to not travel to visit any friends or family outside of their household or core bubble. Those wishing to ski or snowboard for exercise are also advised to do so at their local mountains only. For example, if you live in Vancouver, you should ski at Cypress, Grouse or Mt. Seymour.

If you’re in Vernon your local mountain would obviously be SilverStar, if in Invermere then your local mountain would again obviously be Panorama, in Rossland then it would be RED, in Nelson then it would be Whitewater and so on.

As the travel advisory is not an order, the onus is on the skier and boarder to understand if and where they have a local resort within their region. It is expected the February 5 travel advisory will then be lifted in time for spring.

While all BC resorts are still open and operating, Big White announced this week they would be cancelling all non local bookings until February 5. The resort has already experienced a Covid cluster this season and are taking added precautions as the number of cases linked to the Big White cluster has grown to 143.

“We take (provincial health officer) Dr Henry’s orders very seriously, and we ask and expect others in our resort community to do the same,” said Michael J. Ballingall, Senior Vice President of Big White Ski Resort.

“In December, we cancelled Christmas and New Year’s holidays, which unfortunately disappointed many, many guests and their families. We’re not going to give up now. The Provincial Health Officer is recommending to avoid all non-essential travel, and to travel within your local area only, and so we are cancelling and encouraging visitors from all around Canada to abide by these rules.

“Following the rules is not about the bottom line, it’s about bending the curve and staying open for our season passholders and local skiers and snowboarders.

“It’s safe to ski at your local mountain. If you live in the Central Okanagan, we are your local mountain. Wear your mask, ski in your household bubble, wash your hands, and don’t gather with people outside your bubble. Being outside, exploring your local area, and supporting your local businesses is how we will find our moment of normal – we’re all in this together.”

For all British Columbia restrictions visit here. 

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.