(November 25, 2020). Great Divide’s 2020 winter operation is scheduled to begin on December 1 with special measures in place. Our main priority is to keep our guests safe.
Our Safety Measures
We ran our summer guided hiking season successfully from June until early October, and our guided snowshoeing tours start in December. Because our trips are conducted outdoors, in small groups, and with the ability to keep safe distances from one another, we believe we can operate safely. Here are our operational guidelines for our winter season:
we do our pre-trip “meet and greet” information sessions over the phone or by Zoom
at any indoor meeting location (hotel lobby, park visitor centre), guide and guests will wear masks
guests are asked to print and sign waivers in advance
there will be no carpooling: guests will self-drive to the trailheads.
during our tours, we will stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from our guests
we will provide hand sanitizer on the trail
The province of Alberta’s health department has also issued guidelines for outdoor fitness, which we are following.
Latest updates in Banff and Alberta
On November 24 and 25, both the province of Alberta and the town of Banff issued states of emergency. For Banff, there are many new restrictions, and you can find them on the town’s website. The provincial restrictions mostly apply to indoor settings. Outdoors, the province has made this restriction: “outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.” This is below the size limit for our group snowshoeing tours, and we will now limit our private tours to ten or fewer people.
COVID-19 information from the province of Alberta, Parks Canada, and the town of Banff
For information from public health officials, you can visit Alberta’s Coronavirus page. Banff National Park is regularly updating its COVID-19 page to show what is open in the park, and what is closed. The same is true for Yoho and Kootenay parks. The town of Banff also has a very thorough COVID-19 page.
Information for International Travellers
For travellers from outside of Canada, the border between Canada and the USA is currently closed to non-essential travel. This closure has been extended multiple times this year, and is now in place until December 21, 2020 at the earliest. There is a strong chance there will be more extensions. Any international travellers who manage to come to Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival here. Health Canada updates its travel info website regularly.
Our Cancellation Policy
We will accept, without penalty, any cancellations due to travel restrictions, public health advisories, national park closures, 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.
If your guide contracts COVID-19, you will be notified, and any trips that fall within the recovery period of the guide will be cancelled.
The response to the COVID-19 outbreak is in constant flux, so everything listed above is subject to change. We revise this information regularly as the situation evolves.
In the meantime, we ask you to look after yourselves, your loved ones, and your friends & neighbours.
Joel & Nadine