Shames Mountain saw approximately 23,000 visits at the ski hill this winter. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Shames Mountain deems season a success, despite early closure

Ski hill visitation was up 20 per cent this 2019/2020 year

Although the season has been forced to come to a halt due to COVID-19 precautions, Shames Mountain still has a reason to celebrate.

This 2019-2020 season has been My Mountain Co-op’s most successful year as visitation went up 20 per cent — thanks to the everfalling snow that took no mercy on the ski hill.

“It was just a perfect situation, it was not too cold or hot which made for lots of snow of course,” says Christian Theberge, general manager of My Mountain Co-op.

“I think people have been thrilled, we’ve seen so many new people who have never see this amount of snow or beautiful mountains like ours.”

Theberge says this is an extraordinary success compared to last year, where visitation was down 10 percent of their average patrons. This season, Shames Mountain saw approximately 23,000 visitors up on the hill.

Snowfall this year also saw over 300 cm of snow base with many days that provided both skiers and snowboarder fresh powder to enjoy.

READ MORE: Shames Mountain receives $30,000 boost from Rio Tinto

Theberge says that although the season is over, they still have a lot to look forward come next winter as they continue to seek more grants to improve Shames Mountain.

In pursuit of fundraising enough money to install the Shred Carpet, a conveyor belt lift for beginners on the bunny hill, the co-op continued to sell to Shred Carpet vouchers to encourage more people to come outside. The start of construction is expected to start this summer but can be put on hold.

“We are continuing to move forward our bunny hill project, which we’re now at the stage of waiting on answers from corporate funding request. We’ve got our plans so once all our funding comes through, this project will start this summer,” he says. “But if it doesn’t, we’ll just have to wait till next year to improve our beginner hill. We also want to add tubing lanes.”

With the unexpected closure, those vouchers will be honoured until Dec. 31, 2020 alongside the Book of 12 vouchers. Season pass holders will not receive any refunds.

He adds that as Shames Mountain continues to grow, so will the demand for space.

“With more skier visits up the hill, this will be a catalyst to launching other infrastructure upgrades,” Theberge says. “Such as needing more parking spaces, a bigger day lodge, all these things as numbers increase… but I think we’ve done an excellent job using the resources that we already have.”

Overall, Theberge says the energy of the season has been reviving and has really brought people together as a community while enjoying the outdoors.

On Facebook, My Mountain Co-op has announced their day lodge will remain open until 4 p.m. on Friday, March 27 for ski hill members to clean out their lockers.

Those unable to come up to Shames Mountain to collect their belongings during that time are encouraged to reach out to staff by phone or email to arrange an alternative pickup plan.


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

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