Owners of ski resorts in Quebec are half-figured and half-raisin after the government announced new flexibilities for access to the lower ski slopes. They are very happy with the disappearance of the customer limit, but the responsibility of verifying the skiers’ vaccination passports has proved to be a real headache.
This is especially true for the approximately 302,000 seasonal subscribers who can usually reach the slopes without having to go through the ticket offices. “The smart card system is now installed at more than 25 stations, and we are already gearing up for people to go directly to the chair lifts,” explains Yves Zunau, president of the Association des Stations de Ski du Quebec.
“All these cards must now be deprogrammed. You understand that our subscription sales will not start in early November, so we will have to backpedal suddenly! “
Ski resorts are rolling up their sleeves in an effort to alleviate the inconvenience caused by the fact that skiers are required to show their vaccination passport before boarding ski lifts. We do not want customers to pocket their phone every time they return down the slope.
“Each station decides on its mode of operation, but we have already submitted a policy to Public Health for the certification of vaccine passports via videoconference for seasonal subscriptions,” Yves Juneu explained. Stations are specifically considering setting up virtual appointments with their subscribers; We need to have standards to continue this way, but the process is ongoing. “
For day tickets, some patience and some understanding are required; This leads to large amounts of transactions and we are not in a situation of surplus labor.
Yves Juneue, president of the Quebec Ski Resorts Association
At some stations, such as Rigaud and Mont-Saint-Bruno, we also decided to close the sites so that verification takes place at the entrance to the parking lots so that people can turn around and have access to all services. Elsewhere, proof of vaccination must be linked to ticket purchase. “Everyone is in the process of defining their method, which is the responsibility of the operator,” Mr Junou said. However we have planned many meetings where everyone is meant to share their good ideas. “
The ASSQ president expects a small fraction of skiers to cancel their seasonal passes, although he expects a very good season overall. “According to an internal survey, 9% of customers have indicated that they will not be skiing this season if they need a vaccine passport; if we report this on our 302,000 subscription holders, it represents a loss of $ 15 million, Mr Junou argued. But even last year we saw a lot of new followers trying the sport. People told us they were coming back, and the same goes for fans who left last winter and came back. “
According to the Economic and Financial Studies of Quebec Ski Resorts conducted by the School of Management Sciences, we expect to surpass last year’s figures, even though it was an extraordinary season with more than 6.1 million days / season. UQAM.
New in Spades
Skiers attending this year will be able to take advantage of the many new features at various resorts. In addition to a number of resort restoration investments in increasingly effective artificial snowmaking systems, a large number of alpine ski centers now offer places dedicated to off-piste skiing along with alpine hiking trails.
“We went from 5 stations 5 or 6 years ago to 33 now,” Yves Juneue said. People enjoy alpine hiking at ski resorts because of the cardio exercises it offers. Often they go downhill skiing in the morning and afternoon. However, since the activity is a victim of its popularity, access to the activity may be limited by the availability of devices. “
In addition to the new chalets in Bromont and Saint-Souver, or the new quadruple chairlift in Mont-Arford, we have also seen the development of new learning areas at several stations: La Tuke, Avila, Bromont, Massif de Charlevoix and Mont Avalanche all conveyors with new conveyor openings.
“We can do it in the city too,” Yves Juneau said. We have similar facilities in Terrebone, Saint-Constant, Saint-Bruno and Rigard; There are a bunch of places that are easily accessible with this kind of equipment in an urban environment, you don’t have to go very far to learn! “