What are ski area site guidelines?

Ski Area Site Guidelines are a planning and management tool that guides the year-round operation of, and any changes to, a national park ski area. They are similar to the growth limits and parameters established for residential communities in national parks. 

Why are Site Guidelines necessary/important?

The development of site guidelines is a key step in managing ski areas in ways that respect their unique setting in a national park. Carefully planned and managed ski areas support conservation and protection of the ecology of the national park while also advancing opportunities for learning and enjoyment by visitors.

 

What are the priority issues these Site Guidelines aim to address?

Site Guidelinesset long-term parameters for the operation of, and any changes to, each of the ski areas in the mountain national parks. They play a key role in maintaining or improving protection of the natural environment and help to foster quality visitor and learning experiences, while providing predictable operations for the business operator and Parks Canada.

Priority issues for the Sunshine Village Ski Area Site Guidelines include: identifying parameters to guide potential use and development, establishing permanent boundaries to growth, andproviding clarity and predictability regarding the types of projects that can be considered should specific proposals be advanced in the future. 

Why do ski areas in national parks need site guidelines?

The requirement to develop and implement Site Guidelines was established through the Parks Canada Ski Area Management Guidelines. Site Guidelinesset the parameters for long-term use of, and changes to, each ski area in the mountain national parks. They play a key role in maintaining or improving protection of the natural environment, fostering quality visitor and learning experiences, and providing predictable operations for the business operator and Parks Canada.

Site guidelines help to ensure long-term predictability of operations for the Sunshine Village Ski Area, for Parks Canada, and for stakeholders and visitors as they:

·  identify parameters to guide potential use of, and changes to, the ski area;

·  establish negotiated, permanent limits to growth; and,

·  provide land-use predictability regarding the types of projects that can be considered should specific proposals be advanced in the future.

What role does Parks Canada play in the management of ski areas?

Parks Canada, in collaboration with ski area operators, takes a consistent approach to ski area planning and management in the mountain parks which allows ski areas to operate in a manner that will not harm the natural environment of the parks, contributes to high-quality and meaningful visitor experiences and learning opportunities, and supports a sustainable business operation. 

Does Parks Canada support downhill skiing in national parks?

Parks Canada recognizes downhill skiing plays a significant role in winter recreation in the mountain national parks and is committed to ensuring skiing remains an accessible and enjoyable visitor experience in Banff National Park. Carefully planned and managed ski areas are vital to providing high-quality and meaningful visitor experiences in our national parks, while supporting Parks Canada’s conservation objectives.

Do all ski hills in national parks have site guidelines?

The Sunshine Village Ski Area is the last ski area in the mountain parks without site guidelines. Site guidelines have been finalized for Marmot Basin (2008), Mount Norquay (2011) and Lake Louise Ski Area (2015). In each case, the public reviewed and commented on the site guidelines prior to them being finalised.

Once finalized, the Site Guidelines will remain in effect for the duration of the lease.

How can Canadians get involved in the development of site guidelines?

Public consultation and engagement is a key priority for Parks Canada. Land use and development in national parks should reflect the priorities and perspectives of Canadians.

For those that live or play in the mountains, or simply have a passionate interest in ski area management in the national parks, it’s important to take this opportunity to comment on the future of skiing in Banff National Park. The site guidelines provide direction for long-range plans and shape decisions about all future initiatives and activities at the resort.

Until August 19, 2018, Canadians are invited to provide comments on the draft site guidelines and Strategic Environmental Assessment for Sunshine Village Ski Area. Engaging Canadians in the review of site guidelines will help Parks Canada identify any potential issues or opportunities that may not yet be fully reflected in the draft guidelines.

Site Guidelines represent an integrated and collaborative approach to building on Parks Canada’s exceptional visitor experience and conservation legacy within Banff.

Parks Canada will compile, review and carefully analyse all public comments to inform the final versions of the Sunshine Village Ski Area Site Guidelinesand Strategic Environmental Assessment.