An online post caused some concern after two former Olympian skiers visited Rossland despite the city and provincial health recommendations to stay and play local.

Rossland man responds to Olympian ski controversy

A visit to Rossland by former Olympic gold medalists has created controversy for local man

A local man reached out to the Rossland News to apologize to residents for a recent lapse in judgement.

An Instagram post shows Olympian gold medalists Alexandre Bilodeau and Jean Luc Brassard sharing an “apres ski” maskless moment with former Red Mountain manager Erik Kalacis.

“Dear Fellow Community Members, sometimes in life we make mistakes that we deeply regret. This is one of those times for me,” said Kalacis in an email. “I was excited to see my family of skiers from my previous life as an athlete, coach and event producer in freestyle skiing, but sadly this excitement severely clouded my common sense.”

The post shows Bilodeau and Brassard, who reside in Quebec, with Kalacis and another man sitting at a table apparently breaking the provincial health order for travel and Rossland’s own policy to “stay and play local”.

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The photo and a Bilodeau video was picked up by news organizations and vigilant locals and controversy ensued.

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore has urged residents to stay local, and last month council sent a letter to the provincial government requesting clarification and to do more to promote the recommendations that people stay home.

“Our concern is for short-term visitors who come for brief holidays, do not quarantine and congregate against the provincial health officer’s recommendations,” said Moore. “If we stay safely home now, we can all celebrate together later. It’s important to remind others — our family, and friends — that unless they are able and willing to quarantine for two weeks and follow all health recommendations, they should stay home until it’s safe to visit.”

At any other time the celebration would be understandable, but in the current COVID climate there is little leeway.

“Despite all the safety precautions that we diligently followed, sharing a photo with our masks off to celebrate our friendship was the wrong thing to do during this tenuous time of isolation, frustration and confusion,” added Kalacis.

“Risks were managed, my friends had themselves tested (all negative) and this was not a reckless gathering. But the optics are there. I sincerely apologize if I may have offended anyone with my slip in judgement.”

Read: Kootenay town seeks clarification on ‘Locals only’ messaging



sports@trailtimes.ca

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