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Mount Washington banning smoking

MOUNT WASHINGTON, B.C- Smokers won’t be able to light up on the ski slopes this summer.

According to a news release issued by Mount Washington Alpine Resort, the mountain destination is set to become entirely smoke-free, starting on June 1, 2018.

“In survey after survey, our guests inform us one of their top reasons for visiting Mt. Washington is the fresh air and pristine alpine environment.” states Sheila Rivers Mt. Washington spokesperson, in the news release.

“Evolving to a smoke-free resort will ensure that all of our guests experience the 100% natural environment they expect when visiting one of Canada’s most beautiful destinations.”

According to the release, smoking is currently banned on all lift lines, chairlifts, and within three metres of all building entrances and intakes. The new policy will extend to all resort property, including parking lots, ski runs, hiking trails, bike trails, Nordic trails, and public spaces that are within the resort boundaries.

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“The policy covers all smoking, including vaporizers and marijuana,” states the release.

The announcement also mentioned forest fire concerns as a driving force behind the policy.

“There are several benefits to the smoke-free policy including the safety of the Resort and Strathcona Provincial Park,” said Jesse Percival, Ski Patrol Director, in the release.

“Removing the smoking hazard will greatly reduce the risk of human-triggered fires, allowing everyone to breathe easier this summer.”

Both guests and staff will be affected by the new policy, with the resort “employees with the tools and support needed to transition into the smoke-free environment”.

“Our cessation program will assist participants to reach their smoke-free objective,” said Tina Pringle, Director of Human Resources.

“It is our goal to provide a safe and healthy working environment for all of our employees.”

How the policy will be enforced was not included in the announcement, though information on the resort’s website provided some further details.

“The Resort will stop all smoking services by discontinuing the sale of smoking products,” read an announcement on the website.

“Mt. Washington wants to ensure that a fair and consistent approach to enforcement. The expectation of compliance from staff and guests with our new smoke-free policy is high. Nevertheless, where non-compliance takes place, an awareness of full policy information will be provided.”

98.9 The Goat reached out for more comment from the resort on how enforcement of the policy will work.

Rivers indicated that staff will let people know when they’re breaking the rules by approaching them directly, and new signage will be installed on the mountain to have reminders of the policy.

“We’re not planning on barring anyone from the resort at all,” said Rivers.

“It’s a policy, just like we have smoke-free policies in front of our lodge.”

Rivers said the expectation of smoke-free zones is expanding to all the resort properties through the new policy.

“It’ something that we feel strongly about, and want guests and staff to adhere to,” said Rivers.

“Banning people, no, but definitely creating awareness and reminding them, yes.”

She mentioned that some intakes at the resort can lead directly to daycare facilities as a reason behind the change.

“There’s reasons we’re not doing this (allowing smoking).”

“There’s lots of kids around, lots of families around, so we just want to make sure that the new policy aligns with us being family friendly, and Vancouver Island’s family destination.”

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