Resort sees impact of cold snap, small adjustments due to COVID-19 cases

As a result of the cold snap, the resort shut down certain chairlifts and delayed operations until later in the mornings. Photo by Zuzy Rocka.

Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) saw fewer visitors over the holidays due to the recent cold snap, and continues to operate with minor adjustments despite several staff in self-isolation.

Christina Antoniak, SPR’s director of communications, said the resort had already experienced several cancellations over the holidays due to highway closures to the Lower Mainland, and the cold weather only furthered reduced visitation.

“We were down about 60 per cent in what we would have projected for skier visits over that holiday period,” said Antoniak. “We just didn’t see that more last minute pickup in skiers coming from the local and regional market that we have over the holidays because of the cold temperatures.”

Factoring in the windchill, Antoniak said the temperatures reached -30C to -40C. As a result, SPR shut down certain chairlifts and delayed operations until later in the mornings. Antoniak said when it gets that cold, it not only hinders SPR’s ability to get the lifts running, but also adds risk if guests had to be evacuated off lifts in those temperatures.

“A lot of people were very unaffected by the temperatures, so those folks were certainly still out there and happy,” said Antoniak. “But we just didn’t see that fill in that we’d normally see over those two weeks, which is unfortunate. We really needed it.”

On Dec. 29, SPR also announced that there were multiple cases of COVID-19 in the community and that there might be operational impacts as a result of staff isolating. The province is currently experiencing a surge in the Omicron variant, with 270 people testing positive in Interior Health on Jan. 4.

Antoniak said that so far, the resort’s operations have been minimally affected aside from small adjustments.

“Where we’ve seen some adjustments have been in the hours and menu items that we’ve been able to offer at food and beverage outlets,” said Antoniak. “Really everything else from a guest perspective is operating quite well at this time.”

Antoniak said the resort’s protocols require staff to complete a daily health check at the beginning of each shift and if they are feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, they must return home and continue to follow public health orders.

SPR and the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre are following current health orders from Interior Health on how long to isolate for and when to get a COVID-19 test. If someone is experiencing mild symptoms, Interior Health advises managing symptoms at home without a test. 

Interior Health recommends a test if the person is experiencing fever or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, or difficulty breathing. A test is also recommended if a person has experienced two or more of the following symptoms for over 24 hours with no improvement: sore throat, loss of appetite, headache, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Self-isolation requirements for those who are fully vaccinated is five days if symptoms have improved and a fever has been resolved for 24 hours. No self-isolation or testing is required for close contacts of someone who has tested positive.

“This is a reminder to everyone–guests, employees and residents–to follow best practices and government policies to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said Antoniak. 

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