PENTICTON - In spite of some record breaking warm temperatures this week, area ski hill operators are geared up and ready for a winter they say is on our doorstep.
Baldy Mountain Resort Managing Director Joey O'Brien says winter conditions are expected to return to the ski hill this weekend, with a forecast for cooler temperatures to begin settling into the region.
O’Brien says since closing the deal to purchase the resort on June 25, his staff have completed 10 years’ worth of deferred maintenance, performed numerous upgrades to handle anticipated increases in traffic, campaigned hard for customers and hired expertise in the 19 fields required to operate a ski hill.
“Guests will get the good experience they expect when they come,” he says.
Baldy Mountain is O’Brien’s third ski resort resurrection. He’s looking at the resort from a year-round perspective, with plans in the works to operate next summer.
“Our biggest concern right now is not how do we attract guests, but how do we manage the ones we attract,” he says, adding recent promotional events have brought big numbers back to the hill.
“We have 430 seniors over 65 years old on our season’s pass list. We understood there were large numbers of seniors in the area and we kick started that demographic,” he says.
Rates at Baldy Mountain include day passes for adults at $50, and season’s passes for $199. Day passes for youths and seniors are $25 and $19 respectively.
The resort will stop selling seasons passes when sales of 5,000 are reached. O’Brien says the resort will move forward using ideas taken from resorts around the world.
“We’re not going to be encumbered by past habits here,” he says.
The resort expects to open Dec. 1.
For more information, see the Baldy Mountain Resort website.
Apex Mountain Resort General Manager James Shalman says the resort is planning to open Dec. 3.
“How much terrain will open will depend on Mother Nature,” he says, adding the resort now has the capacity to make snow from the top to the bottom of the hill.
“That is really going to help us out. With snowmaking from top to bottom and such a wide area, we can put down a really good base. With some natural snow on top, we’ll be ready to go,” he says.
Looking at Environment Canada’s weather forecasts, Shalman expects to begin snowmaking when temperatures drop to more seasonal levels.
Apex is known as an early season resort. Shalman says bookings are good for ski teams arriving in late November from all over the globe, including Japan, Australia, Europe, Canada and the U.S.
“They come because of our terrain and early season conditions,” he says.
The resort spent the past spring, summer and fall employing an excavator to re-contour and shape ski runs, remove trees as needed and reshape different areas of the mountain to make it more skier and board friendly.
“We’ve opened up more terrain, brushed slopes and added some features to some of the runs,” he says.
The snow level is currently at mid-mountain. Shalman says there is 30 centimetres in the alpine area, and with weekend temperatures dropping, the snow guns will be operating this weekend.
For more information, see the Apex Mountain website.
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