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Ontario Ski Hills Were ‘Blindsided’ By The Order To Close, Says Resort Rep

The province says all ski hills have to shut down on Boxing Day.

Kevin Nichol, the president of the Ontario Snow Resorts Association (OSRA), said he doesn't know why the premier has forced Ontario ski hills to close during the new province-wide lockdown. 

But Nichol told Narcity on Tuesday that ski hills in Ontario haven't had any COVID-19 outbreaks, so the order to close came as "quite a shock."

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We weren't expecting that news yesterday... we got blindsided. Kevin Nichol

Nichol explained that ski hills were fully prepared to do whatever it took to keep hills open, from social distancing in line-ups to closing all indoor facilities except the bathroom.

"What we want to hear back is just the rationale. Why all of a sudden the change?" Nichol said. "Because, you know, last week, on Friday we were up and operating and feeling pretty good about the winter."

Blue Mountain, a ski resort two hours north of Toronto, opened up for the season on Saturday, December 19, just two days before the lockdown news.*

"I'm a little surprised that skiing and snowboarding as the sport are included," said Tara Lovell, public relations manager at Blue Mountain, who told Narcity over the phone that the holidays are always a peak time for the resort.

"I imagine there are a lot of people disappointed by the news, including us," Lovell said.

Nichol said Ontario is the only region in North America that has closed ski hills, even though he said no ski resorts in the province have reported a single COVID-19 outbreak.

Narcity contacted Doug Ford's office for a comment but did not hear back by publication time.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated. 

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