Whistler Blackcomb says it will remain closed until May 21
Whistler Mountain had already been set to close on April 19 before the provincial government shut it down
Whistler Blackcomb has decided not to reopen for the tail end of the ski season once the provincial health order that closed the hills is lifted on April 19.
The B.C. ski resort announced Tuesday it will remain closed until the beginning of its summer season on May 21.
Whistler Blackcomb was ordered closed Monday after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry put in place a public health order to shut it down in an effort to curb the travel-related spread of COVID-19.
Geoff Buchheister, chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb, said in a news release that the provincial health order "caught us by surprise" and the resort will be complying with the B.C. government's decision.
"At this time, we believe the best thing we can do to support the order is to begin winding down winter operations," said Buchheister.
He noted the resort will now be focused on safely opening operations on May 21 for the summer season.
The company said Blackcomb Mountain will not reopen on April 19 when the health order is set to be lifted, and Whistler Mountain had already been scheduled to shut down that day.
Whistler Blackcomb said all lift reservations, ski school lessons and dining bookings for the closure period will be cancelled and the resort will be "communicating any refunds to guests."
New COVID-19 cases among young adults in Whistler
The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority said it is closely monitoring COVID-19 cases in the resort community and data shows that in the last two weeks there has been an increase in the number of people testing positive for the virus.
During a six-day period from March 22 to March 28, Vancouver Coastal Health said it identified 218 new cases of COVID-19 in Whistler.
Health officials pointed out that the "majority" of cases, about 83.2 per cent, are in young adults between the ages of 20 and 39.
The health authority said the reported cases involve young people who live and work in Whistler with transmission occurring in household settings and at social gatherings.
Even those who have previously recovered from COVID-19 infections and people who have been vaccinated against the virus are being told by health officials to follow safety protocols.