BOW VALLEY – Banff's Sunshine Village Ski Resort and Lake Louise Ski Resort will officially shut down operations in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 17), Lake Louise’s spokesperson Dan Markham said the resort would officially cease operations by the end of the day, with Sunshine issuing a notice on its Facebook page shortly after.
“Effective end of day March 17, the Lake Louise Ski Resort will cease winter operations,” said Markham.
“After consultation with medical authorities, our staff, and guests, we believe this is the best decision at this time. Stay tuned to SkiLouise.com for updates.”
The announcement came two hours after Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency for all of Alberta, calling on any gatherings of more than 50 to cease operations. In a press release sent from the province, it’s recommended that all ski hills close.
“Ski hills across the province are strongly encouraged to close by the end of day March 17, to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” stated the provincial news release.
In addition, the release said Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities, or private entertainment facilities. In an effort to limit the amount of time people are spending in large crowds and crowded spaces, the prohibition includes: gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children’s play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres, and bingo halls.
Only Parks Canada has the authority to order the ski hills located inside the national park to close. However, as part of an announcement Tuesday that Parks would close visitor services in national parks effective Thursday (March 19) the federal agency left the decision up to operators.
“These operators are valued partners and provide important services to visitors,” stated a press release.
“They may continue to operate and clients should check with them before visiting to ensure that there has been no change to their services.”
Sunshine Village Ski Resort has not responded to multiple requests from the Outlook to comment.
At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the resort issued a statement on its Facebook page indicating it would close.
"It is with heavy hearts; we announce the temporary closure to allow Canada and the world to combat the pandemic of COVID-19. Banff Sunshine Village will temporarily suspend all operations effective the morning of Wednesday (March 18), until further notice," the post read.
Nakiska Ski Area and Norquay announced their closures Monday (March 16). In addition, the Canmore Nordic Centre has closed all its indoor facilities, however trails remain open. Click here for more information on ski hill closures in the valley.
Follow RMOToday.com's COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national news on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources, FAQs and more.