The Mount Cain Board is planning ahead for a safe winter season. (Zoe Ducklow)

Mount Cain planning a modified winter season for north Island ski and snowboarders

Skiing is a COVID-friendly activity, but shared public spaces require adjustment

Mount Cain is hoping to open the alpine park this winter, and is currently working out what changes need to be made to keep staff and visitors safe.

There will be no Magic Mondays for school groups, no shared hostel accommodations, no Cain bus and limited day lodge use.

Deciding they can’t safely offer Monday ski lessons to north Island students was the hardest hit for David Mazzucchi, chair of the board at Mount Cain.

“It’s my favourite thing about Mount Cain. You get school groups from all over the north Island coming up, and it might be the one time they see snow that year. We have lots of people volunteer to teach them to ski. But there’s just no way we can do it safely, and the risk is just way too high,” Mazzucchi said.

They hope to open the mountain Dec. 12, snow dependant, and every weekend as long as the snow holds. If feasible, it’ll be open the Christmas and New Years’ week, closed on Dec. 24 and 25, open for spring break and Easter long weekend.

That is, as long as the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t revert to a Phase 1 situation, forcing the mountain to close.

The board is considering renting out cabins and suites will be rented out to families or COVID-19 bubble groups, but the full cabin will have to be rented by one party; no sharing will be permitted.

It’s also looking at food and beverage options, and how to manage a space for people to dry off and warm up safely.

Lift line-ups will be spaced, and the board plans to install sanitation stations in key places. As a major youth employer on the north Island, the board says they are committed to adhering to WorkSafeBC requirements and guidelines to make it a safe work space.

“Skiing itself is a COVID-friendly sport. You’re outside, you’re wearing gloves, a mask of sorts,” Mazzucchi said.

As far as the viability of the modified plan, the board intends to make an informed decision after considering all information including financial forecasts. Mount Cain is in the process of seeking expert advice from Tourism Vancouver Island’s Tourism Resilience Program and pursuing options to help cover the increased costs of opening. Despite all this, the increased expenses and reduced revenue might be too much for the community-run, world-class mountain.

A full season plan will be presented to members during the Nov. 7 virtual general meeting.

RELATED: Mount Cain estimates losses of $150k after being forced to end season early due to COVID-19

RELATED: Security cameras installed at Mount Cain after 18 cabins were broken into

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:

Outdoors and Recreation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Car fire
UPDATE: No injuries, cause of vehicle fire on Hardy Bay Road unknown at this time

Port Hardy Fire Rescue arrived on scene soon after and extinguished the fire.

The entrance to the Port Hardy aquatic centre. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Port Hardy to ‘revitalize’ old aquatic centre for 8.5 million

‘If everything goes as planned, there will be no tax increase to cover our portion of the costs’

North Island Votes. Campbell River Mirror graphic
Babchuk declared winner in North Island

Nearly three-quarters of votes counted and mail-in ballots still to come

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

Most Read