Nelson’s Destin Beneateau-Nelson enjoys the powder at Baldface Lodge. The resort is taking the upcoming season off because of COVID-19 impacts. Photo: Jake Sherman/Baldface Lodge

Nelson’s Destin Beneateau-Nelson enjoys the powder at Baldface Lodge. The resort is taking the upcoming season off because of COVID-19 impacts. Photo: Jake Sherman/Baldface Lodge

Baldface Lodge to suspend operations for upcoming season

The lodge’s owner says impacts of COVID-19 made opening too difficult

Baldface Lodge will not open when the 2020-21 ski season begins due to COVID-19 impacts.

Jeff Pensiero, the owner and founder of the cat ski resort located in the Selkirk Mountains, said Thursday the combination of the Canada-United States border closure and health concerns for staff and guests made the decision for him.

“Knowing what we know and watching what we’re watching and trying to look out for the health of my family, my community, my customers, if this thing’s as bad as it’s supposed to be — how could I open?” said Pensiero.

Pensiero said the lodge typically has 80-to-85 guests and staff present during operations. Even if they restricted their lodge and accommodations to 50 people, he said, it is too difficult without road access to isolate an ill person and safely send them home.

“It’s not really clear to me if I’m supposed to shut down the lodge or not if somebody has symptoms,” he said. “If they get a positive test result, it’s not clear to me what that means to my operation.”

Baldface employs approximately 110 people, and Pensiero said he hopes making the call in September to scrap the season gives his employees time to find new winter work.

“I’m sad. I’m sad for all my employees, all my friends. This is a pretty tight-knit group and that’s why, more than anything, I made the call early.”

Pensiero said because his resort is all-inclusive and mostly caters to international guests, the border closure and required 14-day quarantine is keeping the majority of people who previously booked reservations from travelling.

Baldface gave customers the option of a full refund, or a deposit that can be used into 2022, according to Pensiero. Of those customers who had already booked, he said 80 per cent opted to keep their reservations.

Baldface’s decision to close comes after Whitewater Ski Resort and Rossland’s Red Mountain elected to re-open when the season typically begins in December, albeit with their own COVID-19 safety precautions in place.

Meanwhile, construction continues on Baldface Lodge’s new Nelson office building at the corner of Vernon and Stanley streets. Pensiero said the building will help centralize food and warehouse operations, which will in turn make more room available at the lodge.

The shutdown will also offer him a chance to reassess the future of his business.

“We’re going to come out of this better than ever. I’m not worried,” he said.

“It’s going to be great. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, I haven’t done anything else but try to open every winter. And this winter I’m going to totally focus on what that place is going to look like for the next 20, 25 years.”

Related:

BUSINESS BUZZ: Baldface Lodge continues work on new headquarters

On top of the world at Nelson’s Baldface Lodge

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read