COVID-19: Ski resort employees scrambling as resorts close

Sunshine shut down on Tuesday because of an order that all “passenger ropeways” cease operations, meaning the Banff resort couldn’t use its gondola. That gondola is the “lifeline of the resort” according to Kendra Scurfield, Sunshine’s brand and communications director. Without it, Sunshine can’t have anyone living on the mountain.

The resort got an injunction to allow the gondola to remain operational until Friday, but that means staff who have been living in Sunshine’s on-mountain accommodations need to be out by then.

“We’re working very closely and trying to find accommodation in the Bow Valley, Banff and Canmore for team members who are affected,” Scurfield said. “Our HR services are also helping team members access the federal aid and we’re working on getting transportation to (the Calgary airport) so that team members can get out of the country and go home. We’re encouraging all our team members who aren’t Canadian to get home as soon as they can.”

At Lake Louise, director of brand and communications Dan Markham said the resort’s “first priority” is figuring out how to best help its staff.

Other resorts, too, are looking at ways to help.

“We kind of knew eventually we were going to get closed down because we saw Whistler closing down and stuff like that,” Marzolf said. “We knew eventually this was going to happen, but I kind of thought we’d shut down for two weeks and reopen, but no, that’s not the case. We’re already starting doing cleanup the way we usually do in May.”

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