British Columbia

Stay off the peaks until official opening, Whistler safety manager warns

Even if the fresh snow is inspiring you to hit the slopes, you'll have to wait until Whistler Blackcomb officially opens on Nov. 24.

Although fresh snow might tempt some skiers, mountain is still off-limits

A safety manager at Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is asking people to stay away from the slopes until the mountain is officially open. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

With a fresh dusting of snow last weekend, Whistler's peaks might look tantalizing to some eager skiers and snowboarders who have been waiting to strap on their boots and hit the slopes.

Not so fast, says Kira Cailes, the safety manager for Whistler Blackcomb.

"We're not set for operation," she said. "There's still a lot of construction, maintenance and preparation work going up the hill. This includes heavy machinery, vehicles, snow mobiles [and] snow making."

She added, any skiers or boarders who try to sneak onto the slopes would be at risk of running into natural hazards like crevasses, ditches, cliffs, rocks and cornices that have not been properly marked and prepared for the public.

Cailes said staff have seen evidence of people sneaking into the area, like tracks on the snow or through people's social media posts.

"We're not looking to take any sort of punitive measures, we're just asking people to cooperate ... We ask them to turn around, head back down for their safety and for the safety of our staff that are working up there," she said.

People can still access the backcountry either through Garibaldi Provincial Park or through Singing Pass, but Cailes said visitors to those areas still need to be careful.

"People need to be trained, prepared and get some knowledge about what they're getting into," she said.

Good ski season expected

This year's predicted La Niña usually means colder than average temperatures and lots of precipitation, Cailes explained.

Another storm dumped snow on the slopes in Whistler this past weekend. (Coast Mountain Photography)

"For a ski resort, it's a fantastic combination. We're very excited to see what that brings for us this year."

The official opening date for Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is Nov. 24.

With files from The Early Edition

To hear the interview, click on the link labelled Stay off the peaks until ski-hills open, safety manager says