(June 3, 2023). Since June 2020, when public health restrictions first eased, Great Divide has been operating its guided hiking and snowshoeing tours. We have special measures in place to keep our guests safe. Owner and guide Joel Hagen is fully vaccinated, including booster shots in January & August of 2022, and February, 2023.
Our Safety Measures
We have successfully run six seasons of guiding since the pandemic began, three summer hiking seasons and three winter snowshoeing seasons. Because our trips are conducted outdoors, in small groups, and with the ability to keep safe distances from one another, our activities are low risk. Our safety measures are as follows:
depending on the venue, at indoor meeting locations (hotel lobby, park visitor centre), your guide may choose to wear a mask. It is your choice whether or not to mask indoors. Masks are not required out on the trail.
there will be no carpooling: guests will self-drive to the trailheads.
Information for International Travellers
The Canadian border was closed from March, 2020 to September, 2021. On October 1, 2022, all prior restrictions to enter Canada were eliminated. Since the restrictions / requirements can change without notice, make sure you check the government of Canada’s border crossing checklist. For more info, see Health Canada’s travel info website.
Canada’s Covid-19 Situation
Canada had a high initial vaccination rate (over 80% of the population receiving two doses of vaccine), but enthusiasm for booster shots has not been strong, so there is still lots of Covid cases out there. Recording of vaccination rates is no longer a priority, and Health Canada now publishes an update of vaccination rates every three months. Hospitalization rates each week currently show about a steady 3,000 Canadians in hospital, down from about 6,000 at the beginning of the year. Since March, 2023, death rates have finally dropped to below 100 per week, for the first time since the summer of 2021, so that’s good news.
Covid updates in Alberta
Alberta lifted all its restrictions in June, 2022. Alberta has had higher per capita case counts than the rest of the country, and the province lagged the rest of Canada in vaccination rates. For information, visit Alberta’s Coronavirus page. For more info on how well we’re doing, go to Alberta’s Covid-19 Statistics page. If you really want to geek out, the Alberta Covid Tracker, from the University of Calgary, is an amazing resource.
Latest updates from the town of Banff and Parks Canada
The Town of Banff has a good COVID-19 page. They show vaccination rates for Banff and Lake Louise, and news & guidance for park visitors. Parks Canada has very generic guidelines on their national Covid information page.
World Health Organization Announcement
On May 5, 2023, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Our Cancellation Policy
We will accept, without penalty, any cancellations due to travel restrictions or your contracting of COVID-19. We do not want to cause any financial hardship for guests who are unable to make a trip to the Canadian Rockies, or who test positive for COVID-19 once they are here.
If your guide contracts COVID-19, you will be notified, and any trips that fall within the suggested self-isolation period of the guide (5 days) will be cancelled.
Since the response to the COVID-19 outbreak is in constant flux, everything listed above is subject to change. We revise this information regularly as the situation evolves, usually every few months.
In the meantime, we ask you to look after yourselves, your loved ones, and your friends & neighbours.
Joel & Nadine