If you want to ski or snowboard at Grouse Mountain this winter, you’ll have to get your shot first.
Grouse Mountain Resort has announced it will make vaccination passports mandatory for anyone 12 and older coming to the ski hill this season for skiing, snowboarding, using the Skyride and all other mountaintop activities.
All Grouse Mountain employees are also required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the winter season, the ski hill has announced.
So far, Grouse is the only local ski hill to announce a mandatory vaccine passport program for skiers and snowboarders.
“Throughout the pandemic, Grouse Mountain has exceeded provincial health requirements to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and team members,” said Michael Cameron, president of Grouse Mountain Resort in a statement. “We believe implementing this policy over the winter season will provide the strongest protection against COVID-19 to those who visit and work at the mountain.”
Spokesperson Melissa Taylor added the resort is hoping the move will also help the ski hill return to regular operating capacity.
Last year, local ski hills operated at reduced capacity in an attempt to avoid crowding during the pandemic, which had an impact on revenues for the season.
For the next month, Grouse Mountain is introducing a “VaxTrax” Program, which will allow season pass holders and multi-day snow school students to submit their B.C. vaccine passport digitally along with a copy of government photo ID (for those 19 and older), which will allow a one-time vaccine verification process good for the entire ski season.
People who want to present those documents in person can also do that before Nov. 15.
After the Nov. 15 deadline, pass holders will be required to show their proof of vaccination on their first visit to the ski hill. Individual ticket holders will be required to show proof of vaccination during each visit before boarding the Skyride.
Taylor said since the vaccine passport requirement was announced Monday, the ski hill has "received a positive response from both our pass holders and staff."
In addition to requiring proof of vaccination, face masks will continue to be mandatory for access to all indoor facilities and the Grouse Skyride for the 2021-'22 winter season.
Cypress Mountain Resort has not made any final decisions about whether vaccine passports will be required to access the ski hill this winter, according to a spokesman.
Mt. Seymour has also not announced whether vaccine passports will be required, although the mountain has announced it intends to continue to require skiers to sign up for four-hour reservable time slots on weekends and holidays.
At Whistler Blackcomb, the resort has announced vaccines will be mandatory for staff, but has not extended that to guests riding gondolas or taking part in outdoor activities.
Taylor said Grouse Mountain did check with public health officials before putting the vaccine requirement in place.
According to the Ministry of Health, “businesses have always been able to control who comes into their place of business and set rules for entry.”
The ministry added if businesses do intend to use a proof of vaccination requirement, they will need to undertake proper due diligence in putting that in place.