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.
A dad in Canada refuses to follow a ski resort's face mask policy to get on the lift pic.twitter.com/f11V3DdM1v— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) February 19, 2022
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."
I don't particularly understand why they have the rule, but I really don't understand not complying with it when you're engaged in voluntary activity as a guest on a business's premises.— Seytom (@Seytom1) February 19, 2022
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."
When you buy a lift ticket, you agree to follow the rules of that ski resort. The time to opt out was at the ticket booth, not the lift line, where everyone else has to wait while you throw a tantrum and refuse to take your foot out of the binder and roll around in the snow.— Elizabeth Vargas (@EVargasTV) February 19, 2022
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.
I live & snowboard at this Blue Mtn Ontario ski resort— Jane McKay (@JaneMcKayMakeUp) February 20, 2022
6+ million people live within a 1.5 hr drive. It’s just north of Toronto. We are packed in like sardines in the chair lineup. That’s why they want us to wear masks - while in line up 🏂🏂🏂🏂
Many seem to think the outdoor mask policy takes things too far.
This is ridiculous, outside on a mountain, plenty of distance from others. What’s the point of a mask? The security just traumatized his children and if you look most of that was the security guards fault. They were pushing him off balance and he has one foot on the board— Joey (@Dropshot_dG) February 20, 2022
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."
For all the people asking why a mask in line and on lifts. Cause it’s like this while everyone is breathing heavy. Sometimes for over an hour wait. pic.twitter.com/wIYs12t6xe— Elizabeth (@KiddoCarson) February 20, 2022
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."
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