Bike parks across Canada have steadily been opening over the last few weeks, but this weekend is the big day for quite a few resorts, including Whistler Bike Park. Like every other business, it’s not quite business as usual. Every resort has put in physical distancing measures to keep riders and staff safe, and stay on the right side of provincial health regulations.
Here’s what the new normal looks like for Canadian bike parks this summer. The rules aren’t identical everywhere, so be sure to check with each hill before arriving, or you might find yourself out of luck. Plan ahead, stay safe and be prepared. And enjoy the return of lift-accessed mountain biking in Canada !
Basics apply everywhere
All the basic health and safety rules of your local provincial health authority still apply at bike parks. Increased hand washing, physical distancing, ect. As always, if you feel sick, stay home. Same if you’ve arrived in Canada within the last 14 days, been exposed to someone with COVID in the last 14 days, or show any symptoms recently.
Face covering in line and on lifts
When waiting in line for lifts, when loading, unloading and riding chairlifts or gondolas, visitors will be required to wear face coverings. Full face helmets don’t count, so be prepared and bring your own face covering. At several hills, the face covering requirements extend to all other indoor resort facilities.
On chairlifts and gondolas, riders will only be allowed to ride with travellers in their own party. Or, at some resorts, solo. At Silverstar, riders will be given the choice to ride solo.
While resort staff will have plexiglass barriers wherever possible, and there’s increased cleaning and sanitation practices, physical distancing and face coverings will still be crucial to keep the resort environment safe.
Many apparel companies are making custom face coverings, so you can keep up appearances. Vancouver’s NF brand, are making a wide range of styles, all for order on time for this weekend’s resort openings.
Physical distancing requirements are still in place across Canada. Where physical distancing – a space of 2 metres – is not possible, face coverings are required. For bike parks, this will include lift lines, as mentioned, and all other on-hill services, where they are open.
Limited terrain and services
What on-hill services are offered will vary widely by destination, so be sure to check ahead to find out what food, accommodation and rental services are open for customers this summer. In B.C., travelers are still being asked to plan ahead, and bring what they need to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Rentals are being offered by some hills, but you can expect them to be more limited than in other years.
Since mountain biking comes with some level of inherent risk, some hills, including Whistler Blackcomb, will be doing a gradual opening of the trail networks. So if you have one trail that you just have to ride when you go to your favorite destination, check ahead to avoid disappointment.
If you do get hurt, emergency services are still operating. Whistler bike patrol, for instance, will have PPE to use when responding to incidents. Now more than ever, it is important to ride within your limits at the bike park. To reduce strain on health services and to keep unnecessary contact between people to a minimum.
Online purchases preferred
Most mountains are asking riders to reserve ahead of time, including purchasing lift tickets online. This helps minimize contact between employees and visitors.
Where transactions are not done ahead of time, they will be cashless. Whether that’s card, tap or something else – be prepared for the vast majority of services to not take cash payments.