Safe Sport
Covid-19 Updates

Is Snowboarding Safe In a COVID-19 World?

September 17, 2020


I am pretty sure that Fall is the season created solely for getting hyped on planning winter. Where to ride?  What pass to get?  Who to go riding with? What gear to update? What programs to choose? What tricks to learn?
2020 is a very unique year – as you all know. Everything that was known is now unknown. So, in order to make the right decisions let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The annoying subject none of us want to face, ‘How does snowboarding work in a COVID-19 world?"
Here are the big questions  everyone needs to understand before winter planning can happen.
Will we even be able to go snowboarding?
Is it safe to go snowboarding?
Are my kids going to be ok?
Will competitions happen this year?
Will clubs run programs?

Taking the right precautions and the risk / benefit continuum

Fortunately, in all of Canada, Covid-19 has been well managed. Despite this, the virus is still very much active and is currently on the rise in a few Provinces/ Territories . The reality of living with the virus means that smart decisions need to be made for how to maximise living with this pandemic whist minimising risk. A careful and considered life balancing act is required. Life must go on and with that reality we must continue to be healthy both physically and mentally - which means we must ensure that the key elements of exercise, relationships and fun are daily components in our everyday lives. Science has proven that the risk of COVID-19 spreading is substantially reduced by a combination of being outdoors, wearing face coverings, wearing gloves and social distancing. Fortunately, this is a huge win for snowboarding over team sports and all indoor sports. Snowboarding is a safe individual sport in today’s potentially not so safe environment. Provided that social distancing rules are followed within snow sports resort lift lines, uploading and eating areas, being in the mountains is a very safe sport choice for you and your families. So, provided that your local resort has a great COVID-19 management plan and social distancing controls in place, choosing snowboarding this winter will provide much needed exercise, sport competition and time with friends that we all desperately need.
In an earlier newsletter this year we said that we would be closely watching the southern hemisphere’s ski resorts to see how they worked as a test case in a COVID-19 landscape. Perisher, a Vail owned Resort in Australia has been operating throughout their winter with the same COVID-19 management measures in place that are planned for the coming winter in Whistler.  From all reports these measures have been a success. Reduced daily numbers, social distancing on chairlifts and compulsory face coverings in all public areas has made it a safe resort with a successful season. Obviously there are so many resort models across Canada with enormous differences in scale and infrastructure and each resort will need to have a carefully considered COVID-19 management plan before opening but fortunately we live in Canada which means that health and safety of our citizens is the number one priority so we can sleep well knowing that our local resort will have our backs on this. With what has successfully taken place in the southern hemisphere, it is safe to say that it is time to do our winter planning with high hopes of uncrowded epic powder days and stomping park lines.
Now back to the important questions.

Will we even be able to go snowboarding?
As long as the COVID-19 situation remains well managed in Canada it is fair to say that most resorts will be open for business in some form or another.
Is it safe to go snowboarding?
Snowboarding is an individual sport and the environment you snowboard in is very safe as it is outdoors and very cold. Provided we all wear face coverings, goggles, gloves and follow the well-rehearsed social distancing  social models we have all become accustomed to then yes, it is.
Are my kids going to be ok?
Resorts will have to restructure programs and ski/ snowboard school models as they have in the southern hemisphere to manage social distancing. Young children unable to follow basic guidelines will unlikely be able to go into programs although some resorts may solve this issue. Older kids will be fine provided they follow the same rules we have all been living by especially with the added protection of face coverings, goggles and gloves. Indoor facilities will be carefully controlled in terms of human movement by ‘COVID-19 resort employee marshals’ to ensure everyone follows the rules to reduce risk and abide by their local Government Health requirements. So, from the experience of the Southern winter, snowboarding for kids will be a safe option as it is a predominantly outdoor exercise and social interaction.
Will competitions happen this year?
Yes. Currently the competition calendar is not finalised due to many moving parts but at this stage there will be events run across the country from grass roots through to World Cups. Monthly ‘Online Town Hall Meetings’ will be happening between Canada Snowboard and every registered Coach, Program Manager and heads of Provincial and Territorial Snowboard Associations (PTSAs) across the country. So, if you are a coach who is not a Canada Snowboard member then sign up and you will be invited to join these monthly updates and Q&A sessions to keep you better informed. If you are a Canada Snowboard member and wanting to be updated on the information that is shared in these Town Hall meetings, then you will be able to see the agendas of the meetings in advance on the Canada Snowboard COVID-19 Info webpage and ask your local PTSA leader, coach or program manager ask specific questions for you at these online town hall meetings. You should also consult with your local representative after the meetings to be better informed as to the situation in your local area or resorts to guide your decision making.  https://www.canadasnowboard.ca/en/covid-19-updates/

Will resorts and clubs run programs?

Resort and Club programs will run at most resorts depending on demand. This will be a topic for the Town Hall meetings and updates will be provided on this monthly. Your local program manager, coach, or PTSA lead will be able to provide details as they become available regarding what will be operating and under what terms. 

To get your memberships for the winter

Full contact information for PTSA leads, Canada Snowboard sanctioned programs  and coaches right across the country