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CWSAA July 2022 Newsletter

Message from the president

Between the spring conference and fall division meetings, a lot of organisational effort is exerted behind the scenes on industry initiatives.  The volume is only possible thanks to the many industry volunteers that work for the benefit of all CWSAA members.  Recently, the Board of Directors held its strategic planning session for the Association.  Building upon the input and direction gained from 171 responses to the CWSAA member survey as well as stakeholder input, the Board has ensured the organisation continues to best serve its members.  Supports for safety and risk management, education, and advocacy, are all prominent, and the 3-year plan will be finalised in time to share with the membership at the fall division meetings.

Several other CWSAA working groups are also forging new ground.  The CWSAA Safety and Risk Committee is well into developing its content for the Fall meetings.  In similar fashion, many talented leaders are collaborating to share new and evolving Bike Park best practises at the Bike Park Forum.  New resources and information will be forthcoming at these meetings, including guidance related to topics such as rental operations and park signage.  Training is being planned for the launch of a Critical Incident Stress Management network of mountain professionals thanks to our friends at HeliCat Canada, and the Responsible Stewardship working group will be excited to launch the CWSAA Responsible Stewardship toolkit to members in early September.   An active calendar of online sessions and industry events can be found HERE.

It may surprise some, but the development of the 2023 spring conference agenda is well underway.  Following debriefings in May, CWSAA efforts are fortunate to be supported by the expertise of industry leaders such as Bob Bell and a group committed to advancing the knowledge of our operations teams.

High on all member priority lists is the need for workers.  Much effort has been placed on driving domestic recruiting and utilizing training opportunities, but there still remains a huge need for workers as all sectors compete for staff.  As recent as last week, we were pleased to hear from Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser that government understood immigration and worker initiatives were important and necessary for Canada.  The Minister understood the vital requirement of people to our own ski sector, as well as most others including essential services within our society.  Indeed the Minister was exceptionally well versed on the challenge of operators and appeared intensely vested in finding solutions.  This reaffirmed our industry efforts, unified under the Canadian Ski Council (CSC) banner, to seek improvements to existing worker programs and call for a dedicated tourism application stream similar to agriculture.  In addition, CWSAA and CSC have been guided by one of our industry working groups to define specific challenges and solutions to recruiting.  As communicated earlier, an immediate action for employers recruiting international workers is to ensure they have listed their job postings on the CWSAA job board.  This page is the fulfillment to the call to action within an international recruiting program called Winter365.  Members can contact CWSAA for more information.

In recent weeks, CWSAA has been into multiple provinces to promote staffing solutions to senior officials, and has had the privilege to visit many ski areas at the same time.  It the wake of the last couple years, it has been most gratifying to see the confidence and optimism of operators.  Examples include the diversification of summer operations with a new Coaster at Canyon ski area, and the start of construction of a second one at Revelstoke. Further west, for the summer season Sun Peaks has opened a second lift to massively expand its Bike Park, and the Creekside base at Whistler Blackcomb is being redefined this summer with a huge injection of capital, including the replacement of the Creekside gondola.

On a personal level, I find the fortitude, energy, and vision of our sector motivating and inspiring.  Over the past few years, others have also recognised the contributions of our sector at a local, provincial and national level.  One of CWSAA’s new strategic directions is to amplify this narrative…a task that we will be most honoured to drive forward.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out me or any of our CWSAA team with any questions or requests for support.

– Christopher Nicolson

Base rate for ski hills set to decrease by 5%. 

Subsidy for up to 50% or wages for work-integrated learning placement. 

Update on recent Alberta Utilities Commission hearing. 

Apply for Wildfire Risk Reduction funding 

Sunshine Village announced that they would match ALL funds donated to the University of Calgary’s Glioblastoma research fund in memory of Rod. 

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