RIO TINTO Alcan is giving My Mountain Co-op $175,000 over three years to help it run Shames Mountain.
The announcement of the money – $75,000 this year and $50,000 in each of 2013 and 2014 – was made on the mountain March 11.
Company official Colleen Nyce said the money continues a years-long policy of supporting the mountain.
“We have consistently sponsored the Nancy Green ski program and on a few occasions assisted the hill with financial contributions,” said Nyce.
“We view the ski hill as an important asset for the region. Not only in the family and recreation activity it provides, but also it gives focus to a unique natural advantage of life in the north which helps companies like ours in the attraction and retention of new employees and workers,” she said.
Non-profit My Mountain Co-op was formed to take over the mountain after its founder and original owner, the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation, put the facility up for sale.
Its owners, members of the community, cited continuing losses and a desire to end their involvement which dates back to the late 1980s.
The co-op is leasing the facility pending a resolution with the provincial government of a long-standing and unpaid tourism development loan and money owed the province from a lease to use the mountain.
Nyce said Rio Tinto Alcan hopes the money it’s providing “will play a large role in paving the way for the ski hill’s sustainability in the long term.”
My Mountain Co-op is providing Rio Tinto Alcan employees with a small discount on ski pass purchases made one day each year. These days will be known as Rio Tinto Alcan Days and the one for 2012 was March 11.
My Mountain Co-op director Curtis Billey welcomed the Rio Tinto Alcan contribution, saying it cements the co-op’s philosophy that the ski facility adds to the quality of life in the area and will help in attracting people and keeping them here.
“We’re thrilled and we appreciate their participation,” said Billey.
The co-op has already earmarked a good portion of the contribution toward replacing the chairlift cable and a number of the chairlift’s chair hangsers.
The cable and the chair hangers have already been ordered through a Vernon distributor for Swiss-based chairlift manufacturer Mueller.
“We’re expecting arrival in about 10 weeks, said Billey.
He hopes the Rio Tinto Alcan contribution spurs contributions by other large corporations in the area, noting that Shames will require capital investment for equipment in the years head.