Both Mt. Seymour and Cypress Mountain ski resorts, and the provincial parks that surround them, are expected to be extremely busy this season as COVID-19 limits everyone’s options for recreation.
Environment Minister George Heyman braved the congested commute to the top of Mount Seymour on the first day of winter vacation Monday to warn folks against venturing into the mountains all willy-nilly.
“When the parking lot’s full, you won't be able to get in,” he said. “We're encouraging people to understand that these parking lots on these mountains are going to fill up quickly. So if you want to get up here, plan your day, get up early, but most importantly, ensure that you pack your patience.”
In order to get a lift ticket for the day, visitors to Seymour and Cypress must book online in advance. Parking for those who aren’t coming to the downhill areas will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, Heyman added.
Anyone planning a trip to the top should be paying close attention to the weather conditions before leaving, as well as the BC Parks and resort websites, about the availability of parking. The route to Seymour will also have digital signboards alerting visitors if the parking lots are full and the resort is limiting visitors.
Both resorts will be posting live updates about conditions on their social media feeds.
Sandra Riches, executive director of the BC AdventureSmart program, also issued a plea for people to make sure they’re prepared – especially if they plan to head into the backcountry. The group’s mandate is to educate the public and reduce the volume and severity of rescue calls.
“Our main message is to encourage everyone to follow the three T's. We want you to trip-plan, train and take essentials,” she said. “That includes checking the [weather and avalanche] forecast and carrying appropriate gear, an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe, and having the skills and avalanche skills training course to recreate in those areas.”
Heyman added the province isn’t considering bringing back the day pass system introduced to manage crowds in the summertime.