July 17th, 2024

Return of winter weather means a return of skiers to the slopes for local ski hills

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 20, 2024.

Castle Mountain Resort photo by Lizzy Reimer - A skier takes advantage of the snow covered slopes last weekend at Castle Mountain Resort.

Much needed snow has begun to give hope to skiers for powdery days on the slopes after a warm start to the season for area resorts.

The recent wintry weather has helped improve conditions and has Castle Mountain Resort looking forward to welcoming more skiers, says sales and marketing manager, Cole Fawcett.

“Definitely, things are picking up. Like I was saying, when we just got on the call this is so far the busiest day of our season. And normally you wouldn’t have a Friday be the busiest day.

The lack of snow fall in November and December had an impact on the resort.

Fawcett voiced one of the challenges they had with the lack of snow at the ski resort was hazards such as rocks and tree stumps that were not safely covered by snow.

“We could have up to two meters of consolidated snowpack here at Castle. And that covers up everything very, very thoroughly,” said Fawcett.

“That puts us in a position where we aren’t getting much for natural snowfall, and we’re unable to make a whole lot of snow also. And in general terms, that’s going to mean that we’re not going to be able to open as much terrain as we would ordinarily like to.”

Katherine Seleskeai, manager of Pass Powderkeg Ski Area shared similar perspective with the Powderkeg Ski resort. “Unfortunately, the temperatures just weren’t cooperating to get a really good base down early, which led to a bit of a delayed open this year, which is unfortunate,” said Seleskeai.

Fawcett is optimistic the increase in visitors will continue this weekend.

“Things are definitely feeling more akin to what they normally would be around this time of year in terms of for crowds,” he said.

Seleskeai said although it was a slow start to the season, the cold snap has brought back winter activities.

“Obviously fresh snow means everyone’s mind turns back to winter pursuits and less about mountain biking. So, it’s been great to kind of have that change and forecast and I think that cold snap really had a lot of people hibernating inside,” said Seleskeai.

“This gave us the opportunity to get a lot done. But now that the cold snap’s over, we’re able to welcome guests back in a safe and much snowier environment and we’re looking forward to doing so.”

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