VICTORIA -- Snow has begun to fall on Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington, ending the alpine resort’s summer operations slightly earlier than anticipated.

On Monday, more than five centimetres of snow fell at the base of the Hawk Chair lift, with more falling higher up the mountain, said the resort in a social media post.

The snowfall marked the end of the mountain biking and summer operations season, as the resort now prepares for winter operations.

As of Sept. 11, Mount Washington’s winter opening date is set for Dec. 4. There’s no word yet if the recent snowfall will lead to adjustments to the resort’s winter start date.

The mountain resort will be opening for the ski and snowboard season with BCCDC guidelines in place, as well as additional measures, including the mandatory use of face coverings.

Face coverings will be required inside all buildings, inside the base area, while using chairlifts and during ski and snowboard lessons, according to a statement made by Mount Washington general manager Dean Prentice on Sept. 11.

Physical distancing will also be a priority and a limited number of daily lift tickets will be sold to control maximum capacity at the resort.

“We will do everything possible and practical to allow for physical distancing throughout the resort to help ensure a safe experience,” said Prentice.

“First and foremost, we will manage the number of people on the mountain, as well as those entering buildings including base lodges and restaurants, in accordance with provincial capacity guidelines,” he said. “Additionally, we will load lifts and form lines maintaining distancing guidelines applicable to each individual lift configuration.”

Equipment rental will still be available this year, though rentals will be organized entirely online.

The resort notes that safety policies may change between now and the winter opening date, based on mountain conditions and on BCCDC guidelines.

“With summer nearing its end, as somebody who has long been committed to an active outdoor lifestyle and particularly as a skier, I can honestly say there has never been a time when I anticipated the arrival of a winter season more than this year,” said Prentice.

“In a sense, we need this ski season for our emotional and physical wellbeing as much as for the enjoyment. We believe recreation is one of the essential food groups - now more than ever,” he said.