As unrelenting rampage of the surging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to every continent on earth more and more government health restrictions and protocols are being enforced making it more difficult or maybe impossible for families and friends to get together. Even with the vaccines time is still very critical. Inevitably, the concept of travel, local and international, has completely changed. Consequently and without any choice, staycation becomes the norm, whether you like it or not.
The long cold winter of our province Manitoba will certainly limit our outdoor activities to experience what it means to be a “Mani-snow-ban” by enjoying the great outdoors either by skiing (downhill and cross-country) or snowboarding and sledding. You don’t have to escape winter especially during these periods of lockdowns – embrace it to feel the joy of the season. As downhill skiing enthusiasts, my family is having a great feeling of relief like seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel after learning that the popular ski resorts in the province will be in operation this winter amid the pandemic. So Manitobans will still get the chance to hit the slopes.
Alpine skiing has been my family’s recreational winter outdoor activity since the 80s after learning the sport with several lessons at Springhill Winter Sports Park located at Hwy. 59 North on Oasis Road just 15 minutes away from the Manitoba capital City of Winnipeg. Our passion for skiing has taken us to the ski slopes of Breckenridge and Vail in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain and Sugar Bowl in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, to Lutsen and Wild Mountain in Minnesota, Frost Fire in North Dakota, to Whistler-Blackcomb, Panorama and Fernie in British Columbia, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in Alberta.
The two popular ski resorts in Manitoba, Asessippi (with the Squirrel quad chair, 11 runs and 2 terrain parks) and Holiday Mountain (with 2 double chair lifts, T-bar and wonder carpet) Ski Resorts both opened on 19 December and 26 December, respectively, and also Springhill Ski Park on 26 December. Purchase your lift tickets in advance on-line and simply pick them up upon arrival.
The most important question is, “Is it safe to ski during the Covid-19 pandemic?” The answer is “Yes”, although this year downhill skiing will look a little different at all ski resorts. By taking proper precautions it is safe to ski – to enjoy the sport and reconnect with the great outdoors. The hills have extra measures in place to ensure they are following public health orders and protocols. Besides, alpine skiing already provides space between people because in skiing distance matters, just keep skiing and riding along. Tailgating is encouraged. When you are skiing you’re almost 6 feet apart already from the other skier and people naturally and socially distance when they ski. At Holiday Mountain you’re required to ride the chairlift with whom you arrived with and there is no more “singles” line. Masks will be mandatory at all times, including on the chairlifts.
Consider packing a lunch and eat at your vehicle which will also serve as your locker for your belongings. And most important, BOOT UP AT YOUR CAR! And to have a safe skiing – ski within your skill level and ability, ensure your gear is in proper working order, obey mountain signage, and stop skiing when you are tired. ENJOY THE SNOW and HAVE FUN!