John Edwards,, Monday, October 12, 2020

 As the leaves change and the temperature drops, Blue Mountain Resort and Scandinave Spa are planning for winter.

Traditionally, more than two million people visit Blue Mountain Resort every year; however, 2020 has been anything but traditional. Spokesperson Tara Lovell said they managed to open attractions this spring and saw that thousands of families were looking to venture out.

“Nobody really knew what to expect in the spring,” she said. “What we did see, families were looking for a way to make memories together.”

She said the resort learned how to be nimble and adapt and also focused on controlling capacity, which is one of the key items this winter. Lovell said daily lift tickets will have to be purchased in advance and those numbers will be limited in an effort to control the number of people on the resort.

“Management of capacity is still going to be a priority,” she said.

They will also have new rules for chairlifts, including loading guests in their social bubble and mask rules.

“The biggest thing we are enforcing this year, you will be required to have a mask or face covering in the chair lift line and throughout the chairlift ride,” she said. “The quicker we get guests on the chairlift and onto the mountain, the quicker they spread out.”

They’ve invested in tents and other infrastructure to move food and beverage offerings outdoors.

Near the base of the mountain is Scandinave Spa, which attracts thousands annually.  Co-owner Mylisa Henderson said they were able to open in July minus their spas and steam room. However, they have petitioned the government in hopes of getting permission to open both attractions.

She said they upgraded their online booking system, which allows visitors to book in advance.

“We are operating at about 40 per cent of what we would’ve called capacity, pre-COVID,” Henderson said.

In preparation for winter, they’ve made changes to one of their cold baths and converted it into “a thermal waterfall and hot bath just as a way to give people more ways to warm up their bodies.”

She said they’ve been busy and expect that trend to continue into the winter.

“We are hoping with the protocols we’ve put in place, we’ll be able to offer an outdoor and indoor environment for people to relax,” she said. “This area being one of the only four-season regions in Ontario is definitely going to benefit that more people are going to be staying at home and staying within the province. We do think there will be more people looking for a way to get outside and do something active and this region will be busy.”

Lovell said Blue Mountain has a code of conduct in place which focuses on physical distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures.

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