blue mountain chairlift freakout

Video shows freakout and arrest at Ontario ski resort chairlift over mask policy

A snowboarder out for a day on the slopes at one of Ontario's most popular ski resorts has gone viral after a video emerged showing the man freaking out and resisting arrest for failing to comply with an outdoor mask policy.

The outburst was recorded at the base of a ski lift at Blue Mountain Resort near Collingwood, where guests are required to wear masks in lift lines and on chairlifts. But this guest was unwilling to mask up, claiming a medical exemption that apparently doesn't prevent him from participating in winter sporting activities.

The video — shared to YouTube on Friday but since removed after going viral on other platforms — shows security attempting to wrestle the unmasked snowboarder as they inform him that he is being placed under arrest. "Don't touch me," the man can be heard shouting as a struggle ensues.

The melee happened right next to a group that appears to be the man's family, who can be heard citing his supposed medical exemption.

After some struggling, another bystander rushes in to assist the security staff. Within seconds, a half dozen bystanders surround the scuffle as additional security guards step in to try and keep people clear of the disturbance.

It's a bizarre situation generating a lot of buzz, with celebrities such as Patton Oswalt and David Cross among those taking notice.

Tara Lovell, Public Relations Manager at Blue Mountain Resort, acknowledges the "video circulating involving an incident between a guest and our security team," telling blogTO that "the situation is disheartening for everyone involved."

Though the video was shared on Feb. 18, Lovell says that the incident occurred on Feb. 1, when "a guest was repeatedly reminded that masks are required to ride the chairlift."

She says that "after repeated refusal, he was given numerous opportunities to leave the lift line which were also refused and resulted in significant service interruption and crowding of guests waiting to load the chair."

Addressing the man's claims of medical exemption, Lovell states that the resort "established a mask requirement for lift lines and on chairlifts with no exemptions. Validating medical exemptions at chairlifts is not something our teams are equipped to do. This requirement has been in place and applied consistently throughout the winter."

Social media reaction seems split between groups who think this is a silly hill to die on (or at the base of in this case) especially on a family trip with the kids watching in horror.

Many seem to think the outdoor mask policy takes things too far.

The response by security staff has also seen some criticism on Twitter and other platforms, though Lovell insists that "the situation was reviewed extensively by management and it was determined the actions of our security personnel appropriately followed our escalation protocol."

Lovell states that the resort hopes "that we are very close to a time when everyone can return to more normal experiences at Blue and expect that masks be recommended but optional at lift lines and on the chair as of March 1st."

Lead photo by

Jasper Sunshine

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