file photo of fernie alpine resort sign (Scott Tibballs/The Free Press)

Expect lines to be longer at FAR: Resort general manager

General manager of FAR Andy Cohen said all resorts that were already open were seeing “amazing visitation”

General manager of the Fernie Alpine Resort, Andy Cohen, fielded questions from the Fernie business community on Thursday (Nov. 19) as part of a Q-and-A hosted by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce in the lead up to the resort’s December 5 opening day.

During the update on resort operations, Cohen said that the resort would be enforcing stronger mask mandates than the province of British Columbia (as of Nov. 19).

“When you’re skiing down (the hill) you don’t have to wear a mask, but when you’re in the lift line, or anywhere else…you gotta wear a mask.”

He said that Fernie Alpine Resort along with its parent company, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) were following the recommendation of Canada’s chief public health officer in requiring three-layered masks.

“You will have to wear a face covering. We’d like it to be three layers or more.”

Cohen said that for the resort, masks and pandemic guidelines were not a political decision. “I’m not mandating masks because its a personal thing, I’m mandating masks because its what we have to do to stay in business.”

“Our plan for the winter is 94 pages, it covers just about everything. We’re not going to be encouraging (people to follow guidelines), you have to follow guidelines.”

Lines would be longer, said Cohen, who explained that this was a result not just of spreading out people, but because of a reduced capacity of lifts themselves. Groups will be able to fill a chairlift, but individuals will only be able to ride alone, or with one other person on triple or quad chairs.

A big change would be indoor sheltering, which Cohen said was not something that could be done. Eating indoors will be by reservation.

“We don’t have anywhere to store people,” he said. “Sheltering people – your normal warm up pods…we can’t do that.”

He said that for this season, on skiing breaks people would either have to go back to their car to warm up, go back home, or warm up in a restaurant they had reserved a table at.

On expected visitation and the impact on lines, he said that resorts that were already open were seeing large numbers of visitors.

“People want to go skiing. Lake Louise is packed. Nakiska is packed. Everywhere that’s open is having amazing visitation.”

Many questions from the business community were around limits on numbers on the mountain, something Cohen said he wasn’t able to disclose, but added that it would be a “moving target”.

What he could say was that pass utilization (people buying season passes) was “the highest we’ve ever seen. It makes sense. People are staying local (and) they want to get out.”

Another question was on the workforce, with many positions yet to be filled at the resort. Cohen said that the resort was tracking just fine for November 19 however. The big change would be the makeup of the workforce due to the closure of international borders.

“We’re losing almost all of our Australians, Kiwis and Brits … (but) there’s tons of Canadians applying at every resort,” he said, explaining that given the pandemic, many Canadians were choosing not to go to school this year.

The full Fernie Alpine Resort winter operations plan is available on their website, and was developed alongside all other ski resorts in North America.

READ MORE: FAR prepares for opening day on December 5



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Skiing and Snowboarding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File Photo)
KES brings employment education to those over 55

The Encore program is targeted to adults past traditional retirement years looking for employment

Angel Flight East Kootenay was one of the three recipients of funding from the inaugural Giving Event. (Photo Contributed)
100 local women collect $10,500 for community organizations

The 100 WWC Fernie donated $3,500 to three grassroots organizations via their first Giving Event

Colleen Braconnier and her care aid, Karla McKie, outside of Rocky Mountain Village. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
‘We have such a good group here’: Local senior keeps head held high throughout pandemic

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped RMV resident, Colleen Braconnier, from remaining positive

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

(File Photo)
Fernie Chamber to host virtual chat with business and physicians Jan. 18

The online conversation seeks to address issues including contact tracing in the community

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read