ORO-MEDONTE, ONT. -- Preparations are underway at Mount St. Louis Moonstone (MSLM) for the upcoming ski season after the resort had to cut things short last season because of the coronavirus.

"I think people are itching to get out and do it," said resort owner Robert Huter.

Huter said the resort is ready to open once the snow flies, but access to the lodge will be limited.

"Your car is your base lodge," he said. "You are going to get dressed, then come in, grab your ticket and go to the ski hill, and that's what it's going to look like this year."

Huter said as far as hitting the hills; it'll be business as usual. "It's going to be safe, and it's going to be a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to it."

Huter recently sent a letter to politicians requesting skiing and snowboarding be declared essential to keep operations open if the province moves back into Stage 2 closures.

The letter states in part, "MSLM has invested 1.9 million dollars this summer season to mitigate and reduce the risk of contact amongst our 650 staff and guests."

Huter also wrote that the resort would increase staff training for COVID-19 safety, "including janitorial and general cleaning protocols."

At Horseshoe Resort, vice president Jonathan Reid said outdoor recreation should be considered essential because of the nearly 15,000 jobs at stake.

"We need assurances that we can operate during the pandemic and get the official green light from the province to go ahead and operate," he said.

With three resorts in its boundaries, the town of Oro-Medonte is formally requesting the province to enter discussions with the ski industry.

"It's important that whatever legislation gets passed, that the province takes into account the ski industry," said Mayor Harry Hughes.

Resorts plan to limit the number of people on the slopes, meaning winter enthusiasts will need to purchase tickets in advance online as part of the new normal.