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Ski Resorts and Mountains close early to slow the spread of COVID-19

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Mont Ste Marie aims to be defiant and open anyways tomorrow with both Quads (Vanier and Cheval Blanc). The lodge will be closed but washrooms open.

Here is the Facebook post below. I don't agree with this as the whole idea is to keep people home and safe and avoid contact.

They state "SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OPEN TOMORROW! We are taking extraordinary measures to ensure safety and will open Vanier and Cheval Lifts only and loading 2 per chair. The lodge will be closed except for the lower level only for washrooms and lift tickets. Bring your own food and drink for outside and tailgating."

I'm eager to see in the morning if they actually open. I'm sure extraordinary measures means paying a very big fine or some sort of repercussion for defying the government's orders. The comments on the facebook post are pretty negative. Some range from "Never skiing there again after this" , "Bought a pass, never again", and so forth.

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https://www.facebook.com/MontSteMarie/photos/a.295609143795003/2978959795459911/?type=3&theater

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Kinda crazy. Why wouldn’t they just say the hill is open for touring while everything else is closed. 

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As of today March 16th, Nova Scotia ski areas are now closing. Cape Smokey, Ski Ben Eoin, Ski Martock, and Wentworth have announced their closures for the season.

 

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Just minutes ago, Mount Norquay - Banff has just announced on their Facebook page they are suspending operations. Now the closures are starting out West.

Mont Farlagne in Edmunston, NB has also posted their closure as well today, along with Sugarloaf Provincial Park in Atholville, NB.

Marble Mountain, NL is now also closed.

So friends this is the end of the season as we know it! 

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@Paul @Shane @Gordo all ski areas need to close NOW.

And we should be putting pressure on those who haven't done the right thing to do so immediately for the health and safety of all skiers. Clearly Sudermann didn't get the memo, for example. And to be fair Les Sommets didn't either, although from their social media you can clearly see that many of their customers get it!

As an example of the problem, I heard today that a group of skiers who were on a recent ski trip to Colorado were all diagnosed positive - and went skiing anyways! It is possible they will be charged for disobeying quarantine, apparently. 

I would also like to elaborate about the situation. My background before my current role was in pandemic and infectious disease at PHAC. I have intimate familiarity with Canada's pandemic plan, our stockpile, provincial plans in every province and some First Nations communities, in addition to understanding how the public health system works in every single Province and Territory in Canada and the basics around vaccine development, production and distribution. If any of you guys have questions or need any support or good information in helping other friends or family understand the situation (beyond just the ski hill closures!) feel free to ask me as I've followed this since it was starting to be reported in the media back in January. I'll admit to being oversaturated this week in particular but I have LOTS of information to offer that will help people draw the right conclusions.

So, let's take a look at Ottawa, where a few days ago there were five cases diagnosed. With every diagnoses we know there are likely to be ample more contacts of the infected individual who become infected themselves, and Dr. Vera Etches of Ottawa Public Health estimated there are up to one thousand undiagnosed and/or asymptomatic cases walking around Ottawa right now. Each 2-3 days, that number can double. And by the way, while we are testing, we are having to triage who gets a test and there are lengthy wait times right now so priority cases will be the individuals with more serious symptoms. Looking at Montreal, yesterday we had 11 cases diagnosed, so imagine about 2000 cases walking around town going about their regular business. You see very quickly how this can become a problem even outdoors when people are lining up together and taking chairlifts and gondolas and even just using the restrooms, because transmission is both aerosol (droplets in the air...not the same at all as airborne, and this is being misreported quite a bit) and the virus can live on surfaces for a minimum of three days (according to research that is currently in peer-review process). So you just can't have people socializing - at all.

My advice: Stay Home. 

If your employer has not made arrangements for you to work from home yet and you have the capability, do not wait for permission - beg for forgiveness. Unless your role is an essential service to your employer, you need to protect yourself and your family from exposures. Office exposures are in the top list of how people are becoming infected.

If you need to go out to a store for any reason, try and go during off peak hours, to smaller stores. Stay out of CostCo and Superstore etc.

Do not go to bars and restaurants. Do not even get takeout and especially do not get delivery (it should be obvious that the service industry has always come to work sick because they don't have sick days, and that delivery people interact with a high volume of people).

Definitely do not go to a movie theatre. If they haven't closed in your area do not support them in staying open by not going.

Social distancing unfortunately also means no hanging out with friends. You can't confirm you have never been exposed in your day to day activities, and neither can they. Two weeks isn't a long time to pass not socializing and in two weeks we may succeed in flattening the curve. Do expect however that in the next three weeks following the march breaks, numbers will jump frighteningly high here (hell our current diagnosed cases is frightening to me!), and more so in the US. I do not think we will be keeping the border open to US citizens for very much longer.

We are currently three weeks behind Italy in terms of numbers so this week especially is the most important week to stay home!! 

If you have friends or family who are continuing to go about their lives, educate them and/or shame them until they understand they need to stay home. My friends in San Francisco and Reno began a three week lockdown tonight, and NYC is next. Let's all behave so that our civic leaders don't need to make it to this draconian next step.

Most importantly: don't panic. If you haven't already, quietly prepare (no panic shopping!) and then enjoy a few weeks as a recluse. 

I am going to wait a few weeks for things to calm down and do some local, covert hiking. If you do the same, please do not go to another region to do that. Stay in your region/province. 

I am sad to see the lift-serviced skison go. I still need to figure out how many days I actually skied but it is probably 80 something. I have a huge backlog of trip reports to contribute so will focus on that in my spare time in the coming weeks after I can wean myself off the 24 hours news cycle horror show.

Let's all smother this virus by not giving it a means to spread - so we can all happily whoosh into the next season.

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In case people were wondering, at 10pm Sunday night, Mont Ste Marie said that after confirming with the ASSQ, they would in fact not open after all.

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@Shane yes but read the Alterra closure notice vs the Camp Fortune closure notice (the same one posted to MSM's page) - you can clearly see who gets it and who hasn't come around yet. :/ so I propose we "help" any of the remaining hills make the right choice. 

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As was to be expected, yesterday the ASSQ announced that the ski season in Quebec has officially come to an end for this year. They do mention that barring some exceptional circumstance, all mountains will remain closed until the next season. It is added that summer preparations can start ahead of time to get ready. 

Hopefully the health situation will improve and not ruin the summer months as well.

I just saw in the news that Doug Ford, Ontario premier has ordered all non-essential businesses to close as of 11:59pm Tuesday night. And yesterday, Francois Legault, the Quebec premier, ordered all schools closures extended until May 1st and now all shopping malls to close as of last night.

While the end of the ski season is disappointing, and again I never made it out.... it doesn't bother me too much. More concerned about what is going on in the world. Hoping for the best for everyone.

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So Montreal is a hotspot now, literally the entire area around my neighbourhood, Outremont, Park Ex, Plateau (includes Mile End). Also @Paul Estrie is a hot spot and people are advised now to go neither to Montreal or Estrie. Stay home and stay in your neighbourhood! ❤️

Maybe we'll get lucky and still have some snow in May for some hikes...

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@Ocean @Shane and @Gordo, All is okay for me, started a new job just before this mess really broke out, and now all set up working from home now. It's been a bit stressing getting trained remotely, but the extra sleep in time certainly helps out. It's been a total.......well I'll keep it clean here, mess. Sherbrooke seems to be the hotspot now in the Townships, and no plans on heading out. Heck I don't even have gas for the BBQ! Got caught on that one, should have filled up when it ran out last fall! Stay safe everyone!

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Hey @Paul, hope you're doing well along with @Gordo and @Shane.

Yesterday a friend in Kosovo "took me skiing" -- he started a meme where you write your friends' names on your skis and tag them to do the same. I don't do "chain mail" posts but I thought it was a nice gesture. Things are a bit more relaxed where he lives for the moment and he was able to go for a hike at his local resort and posted some great photos! Kosovo skison, or what remains of it, is looking good!

@Paul you should still be able to get some propane, just use precautions like gloves and a ski mask face covering and wash the tank with soapy water when you get home. Yes I see the townships are a hotspot, someone tells me due to the return of the snowbirds and other travellers. Here in Montreal it would be March Break travellers returning from France, NYC and the Caribbean....and now it's all about the community spread. Public health helpfully put up a sign on my door that insists the landlord responsibility is to clean the common areas (hallway, front hall, elevator) once per day and encourages cleaning every 2-4 hours....lol.....like that's gonna happen. But anyways our neighbourhood is basically a hotspot. I was stocking up on our small Weber BBQ propane before it was cool so we are good for at least a few weeks...but I really feel like I'm taking my life into my own hands now when I even go to the dep or any local grocer, even the ones that aren't busy. 

Stay safe everyone!! Nice cool thoughts of whooshing to you :)

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Hey @Ocean all is good here.......got gas for the BBQ so all is well. Working from home is okay but the novelty is wearing off pretty quickly though. Lucky to still be working. Hope @Shane and @Gordo are doing fine. What a way to end the season! 3 months earlier than last year. At least I have new spot to go to in Vallee du Parc. only got 7 ski days in this year.......really subpar for me. Didn't get to any of the areas I wanted to. Next season, is going to be quite interesting. I don't foresee any US trips. Saddleback was going to be a target, as was Magic Mountain. Unless some miracle happens there won't be any US trips until maybe 2021-22. We will see. I might just concentrate on north of the border next year. I have already been scoping out New Brunswick, with Farlagne and Sugarloaf Provincial Park, with a swing over to Petit Chamonix in Matapedia. It's all just looking for now, nothing firm. I'd love to go further East into Nova Scotia, but that is a loooong trip! 

Stay safe friends, hoping to catch everyone on the other side of this mess!

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Hey all @Ocean @Shane @Paul  

I'm holding out here in Ottawa. Working from home currently.  It was a bummer to loose the spring skiing season! If fact Fortune still has enough of base to ski on. I'm starting to worry about next season now.  I'm a little angry at Quebec closing it borders to people from Ontario as we own property in Quebec that we can't access. I get the idea to keep cottagers from using the stores in Quebec and maybe spreading the virus etc... but its going to have long term ramifications much like the referendum in the 90's did. 

Anyway take care everyone and stay safe. 

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Hi @Shane, @Gordo, @Paul: hope you are all well!

It SNOWED all weekend! In some places. Not Montreal. We got some flurries Friday AM but that was about it, Saturday's storm did not deliver. Friends in NVT and NNY got 2-4 inches and it's snowing AGAIN today. 

There is some ongoing chatter about reopening some resorts for uphill in VT although this would be a locals only approach. I am still holding out some hope that St-Sauveur will get the green light to open for a few days in May with some social distancing safety practices (it's never that busy in May anyways). Some mountains in California and Oregon are trying to implement strategies like parking two spots apart, no tailgating, single rider on chair (or parties that are together stay together on the chair), and so on. It'll be interesting to see how that goes. There is snow on the 70 Ouest so I have a faint hope, despite no end in sight for Montreal's lockdown with many new cases and such. 

We are still working from home, fattening the curve (oops I mean flattening...or maybe I mean both. Dunno). Living the apres-ski life with delicious dinners and time at the bar in our home which we call Le Gatling (to respect la loi 101 of course). Le Gatling is a mangowood bar with a lazy susan wheel with slots for your wine bottles. Hence, Le Gatling. Can confirm I have never spent this much money at the SAQ, not even for our annual holiday party. 

I am finally getting down to downloading my photos and will start to post some past trip reports soon!

@Gordo I feel you on the Ottawa-Gatineau barricades, they are kind of dumb and probably not legal and I expect the tickets issued will be challenged later on...but yeah people should not be going to other regions at this time. If you read the many accounts out there of people becoming ill, some of them become *quite* ill in just a number of hours with no warning or prior symptoms. It's just not a good plan to allow the masses to risk bringing that to cottage country. I mean, you and I get it and would isolate and whatnot, but you know there are tons of entitled knuckleheads out there who aren't even social distancing in the city and will unfortunately bring the virus with them and then not respect the local environment. That said there absolutely should be some exceptions for property owners to check on their property for a window of time. We are stuck in Montreal (I know, tough life) and can't go home to visit my parents in Orleans or my partner's parents in Aylmer. So I'm really glad I went home for my birthday March 8th and also spent most of February in Ottawa! No idea when it'll be safe enough to visit again. :/

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@Ocean, all is well here. Week unknown of working from home.......lost count! Lol. The commute is tough. Still late for work! 

I see Killington has finally thrown in the towel, and will not be reopening. Wouldn't have been a good idea as they draw a lot of clientele from the East Coast and would have been utter chaos had they opened the Superstar with lift. How could you have controlled that crowd safely with the appropriate distancing requirements.

Magic is apparently moving ahead with the completion of their new quad for it to be ready of next season. They have come up with a brilliant idea for their season pass sales. Different types of passes, payment plans, and in the event of the season being cancelled outright should things don't get better, they will roll over your purchase into a 2021-22 pass.

Saddleback has totally dismantled the Rangeley Double chair, and construction on the new quad should start shortly. Renovations to the chalet are proceeding smoothly. Reopening still scheduled for next season.

it will be an interesting season to say the least for 2020-21. Everyone is planning now to reinvent themselves for next season to adapt should we still be under safety measures. 

Hope all is well with you all @Shane and @Gordo and @Ocean keep safe and we will get through this. All the best to my SlopeEdge brothers and sister! 

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Hey @Paul yes indeed Killington has thrown in the towel, not that it would have mattered much for us with the border closed. Meanwhile MSS has been teasing their conditions all week and they sound hopeful that they will be allowed to briefly reopen. They are ready to go if they get the green light by the 24th they say. Bromont is open for mountain biking tomorrow and with a similar setup to skiing, this makes me somewhat hopeful but if you read the government list of allowed activities it is all stuff that is mostly solo activity and limited access to any facilities like washrooms. So I guess we'll see. The 70 Ouest and even the Nordique still look well covered but would be a pain to ski without further grooming so I guess we'll see what happens. I'm determined to start hiking it in the next week if they don't officially open...since I'd be hiking it in June in a normal year anyways. I think there will be coverage til the second week of June. fingers x'd!

As for work, well, not much has changed for me as I continue to work from home like I always have. My industry is one of the lucky ones to continue thriving although thriving in this new normal is for sure not the same as thriving in a normal year! We are also doing our part fattening the curve over here oh wait I mean flattening...or do I....many delicious apres-ski meals. Because technically it is still apres-ski right? ? 

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Hello gang. Sorry to have been absent for a while. It has been a really hectic time for us, as I am sure it has been for everyone. My family and I are doing ok and holding on. Hope you are all well too.

Lots of places are starting to progressively open up. 

Arapahoe Basin has reopened for skiing. Sommet Saint-Sauveur on last check seemed hopeful for a small reopening for skiing, but no further news on that (pending government approval of course). Ski Bromont is getting ready for mountain biking. Tremblant will have some sections of the mountain open for hiking....

Good to see that they aren't just springing to reopen as it was in the news that the COVID-19 did have a helping hand in Europe by the large gathering of people at ski resorts, so prudence is definitely warranted.

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Looks like most camping and back country canoeing in parks is a go for June 5th in Quebec.  The Verendrye Reserve will open then as well as the regional park at Lac Poisson Blanc.  Ontario has extended their closures of camping and backcountry till June 14th though. 

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Speaking of Bromont, I was in the area today just driving around, and getting out of the house. Didn't go right up to the mountain but got some shots.

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