Bradford man launches petition to get province to re-open ski hills

Petition had over 75,000 signatures as of Tuesday night

A Bradford man hopes he doesn’t have an uphill battle to convince Premier Doug Ford to let Ontario skiers go downhill.

Dwayne Cardoso has launched a petition asking the government to open ski hills during the provincial lockdown.

Cardoso and his three children are skiing during the Christmas break in Quebec where he has a property.

But Cardoso says he would rather be at Blue Mountain, noting his family would have gladly used their ski pass to hit the slopes.

Most resorts in Ontario just got their season started when it was put on hold.

Tubing and snowboarding have also been sidelined. Resorts that offer cross country skiing and snow shoeing can continue with those activities.

The Ontario Snow Resorts Association said it was caught off guard by the lockdown order, noting the industry had created a set of protocols so resorts could operate during COVID-19.

Cardoso says it’s not logical that downhill skiing has been halted but people can go sledding in their neighbourhood.

“People don’t go sledding in their backyard. They have to find a hill. So, typically in the middle of the town, there is one spot where all the kids go. That’s where you go sledding, but now you are congregating.”

Cardoso notes skiers already wear face coverings, adding it’s a sport where people are always on the move.

While he expects larger ski resorts will be able to ride out the lockdown, Cardoso is concerned smaller operations may close for good.

“There’s already quite a few of them claiming if it goes to a second month of a lockdown they will be finished and not coming back next year,” says Cardoso.

Health units in southern Ontario are to remain in lockdown until Jan. 23. The northern part of the province can reopen Jan. 9.

Cardoso says it’s crazy that Ontario is the only place in North America that has stopped downhill skiing because of COVID-19.

His family is skiing at Mont Tremblant. Cardoso says there are places where people can sit to adjust their hats and mitts, but nowhere to eat and drink, not even order food.