S’now fair! Lockdowned Ontario the only place in North America with shuttered slopes
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“Thousands of resort employees are now furloughed and all Ontarians who enjoy downhill skiing won’t be able to participate and will lose out on an activity that helps their physical and mental health,” said Kevin Nichol, president of the Ontario Snow Resorts Association in a December statement.
This is crunch time right now and honestly, the last thing that’s on my mind right now are the ski hills
The association represents 50 ski areas in Ontario, Nichol said in an interview with the National Post. Some had been open for a few weeks before the closures came into place shortly before Christmas.
“It’s been a difficult time for our industry for sure, but please recognize that we’re just a small part of the hospitality and tourism sector across Canada,” Nichol said. “As difficult as it is for us … we support the efforts and the guidance form the ministry of health and we all have to do our part to get this under control.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was asked about ski hills at a Friday press conference, and said he had fears about people from hot zones travelling to ski areas, given “scary” COVID-19 modelling.
“This is crunch time right now and honestly, the last thing that’s on my mind right now are the ski hills,” said Ford.
Tom Hutchinson, the general manager of Boogie Mountain in Espanola, a town of about 4,000 people some 70 kilometres west of Sudbury, said they had anticipated opening the small hill this weekend, but it was pushed back by the changes in the pandemic restrictions. They had planned to restrict attendance to those who lived in the area, because they worried about being “flooded with people.”