Ontario families hit the slopes as ski resorts resume operations

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Many children across Ontario started their winter vacations by hitting the slopes.

On Monday, Blue Mountain and Snow Valley ski resorts were packed with eager kids and their families learning to ski.

“We’re just trying to get the kids as active as possible by doing fun activities or else we’ll be locked up at home,” said Christine Laperriere, who traveled north from Burlington.

Originally from Detroit, Laperrière said his family was forced to be across the border for the second Christmas.

“I had family from Michigan, and it just got canceled yesterday,” she said from the bottom of a ski slope. “It was very hard.”

Last week, the federal government reinstated its non-essential travel advisory and urged Canadians to avoid international travel due to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

A few days later, Ontario implemented new restrictions to help stop the spread of the variant.

The list includes a maximum capacity of 50% in most indoor spaces and capping private indoor social gatherings at 10.

“We are following Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit guidelines and within the capacity allowed by the government,” said John Ball, general manager of Snow Valley Ski Resort.

“Outside we have our masking in the lines and making sure people are more than 2 meters apart when taking the lifts,” Ball added.

Ski resorts in the region hope these new precautions will allow them to stay open after being closed for most of last year.

“Last year was very difficult for the ski industry in Ontario. Having more than one stop during, in particular, the high season was very difficult to do,” said Tara Lovell, public relations manager for Blue Mountain Resort.

In addition to the challenges the ski industry has faced over the past couple of years, they have started this season with unusually mild temperatures for the season, forcing them to open later than expected.

“I’m glad Mother Nature and Old Man Winter have made peace to make sure winter is here for the kids to enjoy,” Lovell said.

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