BOW VALLEY – Just days before opening for the season, skiers, boarders and tubers wanting to access local ski slopes will either have to follow Alberta's Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) or provide vaccination verification at three of the four resorts this winter.
Mount Norquay Ski Resort and Sunshine Village in Banff National Park are following REP, which requires two shots of a two-dose vaccination series or a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to access the resorts for guests 12 and older.
While at Nakiska Ski Resort in Kananaskis, guests 12 and older will need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, but it isn't accepting proof of a negative test 72 hours before visiting.
"To streamline capacity and wait times around the resorts, we have chosen not to accept verification of a negative COVID-19 test result to allow access to our resorts," a statement said from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies on Monday (Nov. 1), which includes Nakiska and Kicking Horse in Golden, B.C.
Opening day at Nakiska is tentatively scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday (Nov. 6 or 7).
Celebrating its 96th season, Norquay announced plans to follow REP starting on its opening day, Friday (Nov. 5).
"After considering the best option to keep our guests and team members safe while efficiently operating the resort at full capacity, without restricting our skier numbers and avoiding wait times, we will be following the REP guidelines across all our resort facilities,” said Andre Quenneville, Mount Norquay's general manager in a press release last Saturday (Oct. 30).
The season pass holders at Norquay will only have to show their fully-vaccinated status on the first visit or a negative rapid test result on each visit. Those purchasing day tickets will be required to show either their vaccine certificate or negative rapid test before a lift ticket will be issued.
Sunshine Village was the first local ski resort to follow REP on Oct. 13, citing the decision was made with its gondola in mind to help reduce line times and the bottleneck at the base resort from last season, and to provide a healthy and safe place for guests and employees.
The Banff resort is aiming for an early to mid-November opening day.
Lake Louise Ski Resort is the only local resort not requiring proof of vaccination to ride its slopes.
In an email in October, resort spokesperson Dan Markham stated REP will be applied for most indoor facilities at Lake Louise ski resort, but there will be no vaccine requirements for mountain access due to having two open-air chair lifts at the base area of the mountain.
Face masks will be mandatory on chair lifts at Lake Louise if guests ride with anyone outside families or cohorts.
Lake Louise's tentative opening day is Friday (Nov. 5).