FILE – People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

FILE – People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Whistler Blackcomb to stay closed for the rest of winter, scheduled to reopen in May

Community is seeing a ‘more worrisome cluster of the P1 Brazil variant of concern’

The biggest ski resort in B.C. will stay closed for nearly a month longer than required, Whistler Blackcomb announced Tuesday (March 30).

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that Whistler was seeing too many cases despite testing, contact tracing and immunization of workers who live in the ski community.

“We are starting to see cases increase again in that community, particularly in the past week with the more worrisome cluster of the P1 Brazil variant of concern,” Henry said.

“We’ve also seen transmission from travel to and from other communities across b.c. from the Whistler area.”

Henry had ordered Whistler Blackcomb to shut down until April 19 as part of B.C.’s “circuit breaker,” which also saw a variety of indoor activities such as group fitness, dining and worship services shut down.

In a statement, Whistler Blackcomb CEO Geoff Buchheister said that while the order was surprising, the resort would immediately comply.

“At this time, we believe the best thing we can do to support the order is to begin winding down winter operations,” said Buchheister. “We did not make this decision lightly as we know our employees and our community put so much effort into following our COVID operating guidelines so we could safely operate this season. Our full attention will now turn to getting our resort ready to safely open for summer.”

Any reservations for lift tickets, ski school and dining for this time period will be cancelled and the resort said it will communicated about any refunds to its guests.

The resort is scheduled to reopen for summer operations on May 21.

READ MORE: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

READ MORE: B.C.’s frontline worker vaccine program in flux as AstraZeneca use paused for under-55s


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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