Whistler Blackcomb have confirmed they won’t open their glacier for summer skiing this June and July.

The resort will be open for summer tourism, but the resort’s chief operating officer Geoff Buchheister has told staff that with the onus firmly on safety in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, snowsports would mean an unacceptable “…layer of complexity over an already complex situation,”

“By narrowing our focus to our summer operation, we can ensure that our team is preparing a plan that is careful, measured and realistic, while in keeping with provincial health guidelines,” he told staff in a memo.

Whistler has offered glacier skiing on the Blackcomb Glacier every summer for many decades. The glacier is booked up by race team and other snowsports training camps for all ability levels. This year it had been due to open from June 7th to July 12th before the virus pandemic.

“I am disappointed we are unable to offer glacier skiing and riding this summer. I do not take the decision lightly and understand the impact it will have on the businesses who operate camps on the glacier, but, first and foremost, our priority has to be on planning for a safe summer operation,” Mr Buchheister said.

Although there are currently no ski areas open in Canada, four areas are open at the start of June in the US including the Beartooth Basin summerski area and Timberline ski area in Oregon, which has a permanent snowfield for race training and says it will be open to September 7th this year.

In Europe half-a-dozen glacier ski areas have also opened in Austria and Norway for race team training and recreational skiing and boarding in recent weeks with a similar number more in Austria, France, Italy, Norway and Switzerland due to join them over the next few days.